China – In Asian metropolises, convenience stores are pretty much everywhere, “they have become urban markers dotted throughout the city, brightly lit, they shine through the day and night, serving the city’s inhabitants tirelessly”. In a new concept store for popular lifestyle brand The Beast, Little B by Neri&Hu brings this next-door retail space to another level.
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Located in in Shanghai’s historic Xintiandi district, Little B offers light food and drink, personal care items, and basic home accessories, just like any typical convenience store — except the fact that each item is sourced from various high-end local and international brands, carefully curated for the culturally astute and increasingly discerning taste of Chinese consumers.
“We aimed to refine and evolve the convenience store typology. While fulfilling its inherent demand for efficiency and functionality, every designed element, detail and material choice embodies the desire for more, perhaps, for a bit of humanity to grasp onto.” Explain Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu.
As you walk in, an art installation welcomes you to the the retail environment like a salut. “We wanted to encourage customers by dedicating a portion of the already small floor area as an undefined multi-purpose exhibition space to showcase art work, install feature brands, host pop-up events, and accommodate large scale visual merchandising”.
To the left of the existing façade, a new addition is clad in curved white-glazed tiles in a vertical pattern, which extends to the interior of the store and winds its way to the right side of the shop to pass behind the existing window.
“The material continuity of the tile serves not only to tie together the three distinct parts of the façade, but becomes a subtly textured backdrop for the shop’s colorful contents,” explain the designers.
In the retail area, custom stainless steel display and shelving fixtures envelope the perimeter completely. Stainless steel, a rather sterile material, is brought to life by the layering various finishes: including brushed and polished, perforated and bump textured.
“The vibrant packaging of the products, the colors and shapes from the feature artwork, as well as the signage lighting begin to reflect off of each other, blur boundaries, and activate the space”.
All photos by Shen Zhonghai – courtesy of Neri&Hu.