By demolishing the existing exterior within a mall of unified facades, we pursued the concept of a raised mass; made tangible as a solid block of dark concrete. Poised on a corner site, the rectilinear carved form spans two stories in height, hovering uncannily within its boundaries; this playful moment of architectural tension is further emphasized by lighting the object from below. A scattered and restrained composition of deep vertical and horizontal punches provokes further curiosity in the viewer, presenting teasing glimpses of the movement within.
The mass is entered through, off center and purposeful incomplete, it collides with the existing structure of the neighboring building. The first hints of the interior spaces are suggested to the individual by the curved glass door intersecting the rectilinear mass, detailed in brass and curved green tile.
A simple dialogue of geometric play breaks down the carved interior volume into two connected spaces; the Library and the Reading Room. Upon entering the individual is welcomed into an expansive space of curated display and a vernacular material palette. A floor plane of reclaimed Chinese grey bricks is sliced and twisted in a circular motion, reflecting the display hanging above. Here a bespoke circular structure of Walnut shelving is suspended from the mass presenting the store with ample display space, a sense of layering and a lighting scheme which nods to the purposeful curation of a museum – penetrated by natural light from the deep façade punches. The central space cumulates in a solid statement table, where brick rises from the floor plane to meet a slab of solid white marble, below a deep conical light funnel bringing to mind the Oculus of the Pantheon.
Exploring deeper into the carved out interior, and passing through the library screen, one enters the Reading Room. Returning to a rectilinear format, this intimate space enshrouds product and individual in a wall of vertically placed, curved green tiles. The undulating material offers texture and depth to the walls inside the mass with a reflective glazed finish. Valextra’s most exclusive products are presented in this quiet space on a monolithic table of juxtaposed layers raising from the ground; Reclaimed grey brick, white porcelain tiles, green fabric and a deep layer of solid reclaimed wood; a final focal point of destination completing the conceptually driven retail space.
Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu are the Founding Partner of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, an inter-disciplinary international architectural design practice based in Shanghai. Neri&Hu are the Winner of Madrid Design Awards 2020, the Overall Winner of The Blueprint Award for Design 2019 and The PLAN Award 2018, they are named EDIDA Designers of the Year 2017 , Maison&Objet Asia Designers of The Year 2015 and Wallpaper* Designers of The Year 2014. In 2013, they were inducted into the U.S. Interior Design Hall of Fame. The practice was the 2011 INSIDE Festival Overall Winner, won AR Awards for Emerging Architecture in 2010 by Architectural Review and was selected as one of the Design Vanguards in 2009 by Architectural Record.
Mr. Neri received his Master of Architecture at Harvard University and his Bachelor of Architecture at UC Berkeley. Ms. Hu received her Master of Architecture and Urban Planning at Princeton University and her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at UC Berkeley.