architecture firm various associates has introduced ‘J1M5’, a multi-brand boutique located in qingdao, china. based on the concept of a traveling suitcase, the retail interior design combines a series of transformable, adaptable structures with reflective surfaces and hazy lighting to generate an immersive spatial experience for the customers. 

transformable adaptable cabinets structure 'J1M5' boutique by various associates in china
all images by feng shao 

originating in europe, multi-brand boutique refers to a shop that sells clothes, accessories and other goods from multiple brands. the goods are carefully selected by tasteful buyers, who carry a suitcase and travel around the world to find brand products that best cater to unique fashion concepts and interests of customers. various associates conceived ‘J1M5’ based on the suitcase as the design concept. the team combined the movable, flexible features of a suitcase with the origin of multi-brand boutique, and at the same time took full account of spatial layout, circulation, and color palette, thereby working out unique spatial languages that blend logic with artistry. 

transformable adaptable cabinets structure 'J1M5' boutique by various associates in china

the main goal was to create a spatial construction as movable and flexible as a suitcase, so that the overall layout can be adjusted at any time. cabinets can rotate at 360 degrees, with the slightest turn of a single one leading to the change of the entire interior. mirrors at the ends of the space make customers feel like they’re standing in between lofty buildings, and attract them to indulge in the orderly yet infinite space.

transformable adaptable cabinets structure 'J1M5' boutique by various associates in china

the cabinets are designed to adapt to a variety of needs and preferences. they can be used as columns, rails, wardropes, fitting rooms or even display windows. arranged in an orderly manner, the structures endow the space with a distinctive character, which attracts customers to step in and wander between them. their external surfaces are available to hang stainless steel cloth rails, which help maximize the display area; while the interior can be used for storage. in this way, the cabinets realize efficient integration of display and storage functions. 

transformable adaptable cabinets structure 'J1M5' boutique by various associates in china

columns can be moved to the four sides and form an enclosed space at the center. the position of columns can be adjusted to generate different catwalk routes and spatial patterns, so as to meet varying demands for catwalk shows. columns can be moved to two sides and combined as a matrix. in this way, the usable area of the space is maximized to serve a wide spectrum of events, such as pop-ups and small-scale press conferences of brands. 

transformable adaptable cabinets structure 'J1M5' boutique by various associates in china

for this project, various associates extracted the essence of the business format, shifted design perspectives, and broke the conventional merely-display-oriented thinking mode. the team proposed a new possibility for future brand stores, whilst adopting new perspectives and design approaches to bring substantive innovation to the boutique brand and endow the space with unique brand identity. through integrating spatial aesthetics, structures, functionality and personality, various associates thoroughly transformed the singular display mode of retail stores, and created a changeable spatial structural system.

transformable adaptable cabinets structure 'J1M5' boutique by various associates in china

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project info:

name: J1M5 boutique
architecture studio: various associates
lead designers: dongzi yang, qianyi lin 
design team: bo huang, meiyu jiang 
location: hisense plaza, qingdao, china 

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edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom