Chinese supermodel Lu Yan stayed close to home when it came to commissioning Shanghai-based designers Neri & Hu to create a new flagship store for her fledgling fashion brand Comme Moi.
Keeping an eye firmly on the city’s growing number of young, fashion-conscious buyers keen to invest in distinctive logo-free pieces, the label is known for its relaxed luxe look and wearable pieces, like this season’s abstract print piqué trench coat.
The new boutique, occupying a prime spot within Shanghai’s Art Deco Donghu Hotel, initially presented Yan with something of a challenge. Built in the 1920s, it had undergone numerous renovations, its myriad of previous tenants leaving traces behind.
Fortunately, this is an area where Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu excel; tackling challenging heritage spaces is their specialty. You need only look to their basilica-inspired Capo Italian restaurant, housed in a 1911 Bund-side building, and their own Design Republic Commune hub, a colonial police station built in 1910, for proof.
In Comme Moi’s new home, they continued their trademark embrace of the past by blurring the line between old and new with a confident blend of rusticated modern luxe.
Upon entering, visitors are met with a sequence of four intimate chambers linked with a retro futuristic brass rail that flows continuously throughout the store. It not only acts as a unifying visual theme but also doubles as a distinctive frame for the designers’ metal mesh, cage-like cabinets. Other design highlights include a series of full-length mirrors dotted around the store that add a feeling of spaciousness.
‘The hanging system and display shelves were all custom-designed for the project and add to the intricacies of the space set against the simple and muted backdrop walls,’ explains Rossana Hu.
To complement the muted earthy palette, the designers also added their signature, subtly-lit Parachilna lighting and a collection of their perfectly crafted, high-design furniture for ClassiCon and Jean Prouvé.
Neri & Hu’s trademark style is also present in the bare concrete walls and the silver-grey terrazzo floors with oak inserts that run across the 150 sq m space.
‘The design concept came from working with the existing conditions, the walls are treated minimally while most of the articulation happens with the built-in furniture,’ Hu adds.
The flooring occasionally sweeps upwards in the form of a sculptural reception counter or arching bench, and extends outside to the store entrance where a mannequin in an elegant glass display case is installed to greet shoppers.