© Sò Studio / Photography: Wen Studio

Following stores in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Nanjing, multi-brand womenswear fashion retailer LOOKNOW plants a flags in yet another first-tier city—Wuhan. Similar to many an upscale brand, the retailer has picked a location at Wuhan Tiandi, a master-planned urban development comprising office, retail, dining and entertainment facilities in the heart of town, occupying 550 sqm. (5,920 sq.ft.) spread across four floors of a historical building with an outdoor garden. Designed by architecture practice Sò Studio, the design codes have been extrapolated from LOOKNOW‘s first retail space at the Xintiandi shopping complex in Shanghai where it occupies similar storied premises.

Here, the adopted concept has obviously been tweaked, becoming An Artist’s Residence, and given the building’s status a cultural landmark and the many restrictions that come with it, planning needed to be meticulously executed. Interestingly, ample cues were taken from Swiss-born architect Bernard Tschumi‘s project Parc de la Villette in Paris which sees forms, or follies in true Tschumi parlance, that appear to have been broken apart and reassembled, and embeds a similar architectural vocabulary on an existing site. The building’s courtyard has been integrated in the design by way of a shaded outdoor garden, creating space for passers-by to sit back and relax, and as such, building a constant dialogue with its urban surroundings along the way.

Upon entering LOOKNOW‘s new flagship, shoppers find themselves in what’s called the Artist’s Residence, a space featuring the building’s deconstructed shell as a backdrop for its very own follies captured by frames in a soft yellow hue. Throughout the premises, each room sees different and intricately constructed settings that not only adapt to the concrete shell, but also have functionalities. First appearing outdoors in the courtyard, dots are found as playful decoration just about anywhere, and not always perfectly round, tying in different sections of the retail space. The ground floor has been thoroughly reconfigured to allow in more daylight, and props have been used to enhance each of the installed follies.

In order to soften the overall austerity, tatami mats were used which connect with the O installation representing the LOOKNOW brand. The ground floor core is designated as a multi-functional space where pop-ups, exhibitions and events are held, and yes indeed, an artist-in-residence can set up shop. A staircase in black stone and glass leads to the second floor where a semi-open Guest Room Space can be found. More intimate than the setting downstairs, marble covers specific wall sections and columns, and is paired with woven carpets, adding up to a homey vibe. The new LOOKNOW store stocks forward women’s fashion brands from across the planet, and the current list includes coveted names such as including Calvin LuoSunneiLE17 SEPTEMBRENanushka, finders keepers, GANNI and Coperni.

Wuhan Tiandi, 60 Lugouqiao Lu, Phase 1, Building 3 (Jiang’an)
430015 Wuhan

© Sò Studio / Photography: Wen Studio