COS store in Beijing

November 2015
330 sqm

The store is in Sanlitun, north-east Beijing. It is located in an open mall designed by Kengo Kuma, inspired by the hutong (narrow alleys typical for northern China). The stores appear as individual buildings crossed by pedestrian pathways on different levels.

The project consisted not just of rolling out the COS concept, but also to redress the squared concrete skeleton of the building with a new facade.

The main challenges of this project were the short time frame (6 months from design to execution) and striking a balance between the grand expectations of the landlord and the more quiet aesthetics of COS.

As a starting point, I designed the layout of the store to liberate as much glass space on the facade as possible, placing all the staff services in the back of the store. Additionally, fitting rooms and cash-desks were
placed on the perimeter to create a facade rhythm of voids and walls.

The material research for the facade started in Beijing, where ceramic roofs of traditional architecture dot the landscape of the city. China has an extensive tradition in ceramic and terracotta production, so I started looking for contemporary uses of this material.

The chosen element ended up being a ceramic rod. Its versatility and the opportunity to work with local manufacturers made it my first choice material.

The chosen shape for the rods was a custom made triangle (b=8 cm, h=10 cm) with 2 different finishes (raw and glazed) and 2 colour shades (grey and beige), mounted on aluminium frames. Using the ceramic rods, I aimed to highlight the vibration and the constantly changing perception of the textures of the facade depending on the level of sunshine. At night the building brings light to the streets of the shopping area.

All images courtesy of COS