© AIM / Photography: Wen Studio

Cosmetics retailer HARMAY is once again shifting gear, opening a second retail space in Chengdu. The first store opened downtown two-and-a-half years ago, and this one is situated in the booming High-Tech Zone. in the south of the city. The store occupies a 585 sqm. (6,297 sq.ft.) unit on the ground floor of Youfang Shopping Plaza with a square in front which is used as an extension of the sizeable retail space. The interior design of the store, created by Shanghai-based architecture practice and longtime collaborator AIM Architecture, is understated and industrial, and making ample use of the building’s concrete shell as a backdrop. Given the location and Chengdu‘s forward lifestyle sensibilities, the HARMAY store concept is a hybrid one that accommodates hospitality as well.

But let’s talk about the store first. Large floor-to-ceiling doors may form the boundary between the outdoor and indoor retail space, but the fact that they can easily be opened and moved, in addition to the fact that each door unit has a window, blurs this physical demarcation at the same time. The simplicity of using industrial prefabricated elements is evident throughout the premises, and is arguably best represented by the repetitive stacking of these components, mostly crates, which coincidentally, also literally shapes the store infrastructure and spatial experience. The retail space has been designed as a basic warehouse featuring utilitarian elements, such as white tile flooring and a steel grill ceiling. In an adjacent space, featuring both an aesthetic and entrance of its own, a bakery can be found which adds a distinct lifestyle element to the shopping experience at the HARMAY store.

The bakery is a collaborative effort of the cosmetics retailer with tea brand tazaTe and bakery chain BAsdBAN. The croissant-inspired outdoor seating is a whimsical yet straightforward reference from the latter’s operations. As said, the outdoor space in front of the store is pretty much an extension of the store, and it’s furnished with stacked wooden pallets with cushions and used as seating, allowing both shoppers and passers-by sit sit back, mingle and relax. The new HARMAY store carries the brand’s own line of cosmetics fragrances, but also a selection of products from a wide range of exclusive foreign brands, including Dermalogica, Botanist, OrezzaRose et Marius and SG79|STHLM.

Youfang Shopping Plaza, 300 Jiaozi Dadao (Hi-Tech Zone)
611700 Chengdu

© AIM Architecture / Photography: Wen Studio