Kokaistudios was commissioned to renovate and upgrade the third floor contemporary womenswear department in a second project for Réel in Shanghai, a high-end shopping mall located on West Nanjing Road.

On identifying visibility and layout, the designers injected layers and partitions into the formerly messy shop floor to create rhythm and pace, and invite discovery. Combining a solid core, mineral-inspired PVC, as well as brushed stainless steel finishes, all realized in neutral tones to best showcase the products themselves, the result fits seamlessly within the mall’s wider context, creating continuity and refinement.


Visibility was a key challenge: with sole access to the floor via central escalators, visitors could see the entirety of the space immediately on arrival. With views through to the dead end beyond, as well as each and every tenant island in between, the original layout offered little in the way of intrigue, few incentives for discovery, and limited possibilities for circulation.

Kokaistudios’ brief extended to renovating the entrance area to the third floor’s VIP rooms. In order to connect to the wider space, designers sought to echo the rhythm of the main shop floor by way of a corridor of alternating stainless steel surfaces and metal mesh panels, with side-lit white plaster walls behind. Framed by the end of the corridor, the mall’s logo – a gingko leaf, realized in brass and positioned above the section’s information desk – becomes a striking design feature of this exclusive area.

Working within a minimalist color palette and a limited range of materials, the renovation brings elegant simplicity to this previously chaotic space. With rhythm and pace created by its staggered gates – or ‘windows of curiosity’ – the new design lends order, intriguingly offset by purposefully concealed areas and unexpected angles.