Say Architects‘ Parlor19 jewellery shop in Hangzhou unfolds with the familiarity more akin to a living room rather than a conventional retail store. The interior has been designed around the unique jewels themselves – architects viewing each piece as the main user of the space rather than the humans that will come to buy them. This project turns the process of shopping into a sensory experience, as guests are guided through a labyrinth of different atmospheres to view the pieces on offer.
Parlor, meaning ‘living room’ in French, becomes the appropriate name for an interior that fuses the domestic realm with a retail store. Say Architects explain they have ultimately created a three-level living room, with an outer hall, the middle room, and the inner chamber.
Progression through the store begins outside on the street. The creamy, neutral colour palette is established on the façade – the engraved sandy-coloured tile with Parlor19 sits alongside similar toned walls and flooring. Moving inside, guests enter into a space reminiscent of a living room. A light-coloured fireplace sits alongside a wooden shelving unit and a large round marble table. The interior is layered with different textures of the same colour tone, creating a beautifully layered, neutral scheme. This beige language is momentarily interrupted with pops of dark black marble and deep-stained wood acting as a counterbalance to the neutrality.
Entry into the centre chamber sees customers move from a square room into a rounded space. White shining tiles meet beige clad walls that orbit around a reflective bench that sits in the centre of the room. The bench designed to hold jewellery could be mistaken for an altar in a church or a fragment of a spaceship. Its highly reflective silver form allows it to become the glowing focus of the room, absorbing and reflecting the ceiling lights.
“The opening in the centre of the parlour led to the Chamber, the ending space of the tri-layer design,” explains the team. “Inspired by Villa Rotunda designed by Palladio, the chamber, constructed with eggshell sandstone, reflective ceiling, and floor serves as a spatial hub, not only hiding the shear wall but also connecting the counter, warehouse, restroom, and fitting room.”
“The Chamber space is a tranquil and elegant ending of the route as we hope it forms an intimate and private atmosphere,” conclude Say Architects.
[Images courtesy of Say Architects. Interior photography by Minjie Wang. Detail jewellery images by Xiaonian Bai.]