Fashion and science fiction has always been intertwined, from Jean Paul’s looks in The Fifth Element, Iris Van Helpern’s notorious AW14 show complete with a human installation of vacuum-packed models, to fashion’s own provocateur Alexander McQueen and his post-apocalyptic aesthetic. Designers have long looked to the futurism genre for inspiration, so it’s no surprise (although there is some awe!) that for fashion boutique Audrey in Hangzhou, Liang Architecture Studio has designed an otherworldly playground for customers to explore.
Straight out of a scene from Metropolis, graceful curves and sharp geometric elements are layered throughout the interior, shaping the forms of structures and display units. Following a symmetrical language articulated around a glowing neon diamond embedded in the ceiling – the literal crowning jewel of the space – the layout is simple yet expressive.
Distinctly retro-futuristic, the design team balanced soft with hard in a composition that feels eternal. Effortlessly walking the tightrope between the past and future, plush fabrics and retro wood ease the rigidness of the enveloping concrete forms and metal beams. Designing an aesthetic that feels familiar yet unknown, the material textures and structural forms also work functionally, helping to blur the boundaries between different areas.
An eye-catching spiral staircase disrupts the imposing brutalist architecture, leading to the second floor. Clad in rich chocolate velvet, its strong hue adds a romantic and dynamic edge to the surroundings. Operating as the VIP display area, a more intimate story unfolds with the designers introducing church-like structures that impart a sense of ritual and ‘holiness’ onto the upper story.
Diffuse and “Mod” lantern lighting is used liberally, casting an ethereal glow on the disembodied hanging clothes. The freedom of this space is not its visual effects but rather the feeling they construct.
Worlds meet in this highly exploratory interior that transports to a place one can’t quite put their finger on, but certainly would like to know more about.