Photos By Neri&Hu
Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, an inter-disciplinary architectural design practice based in Shanghai and London, recently designed Valextra’s flagship store in Chengdu, China. Valextra is an internationally renowned Italian luxury brand, which specialises in leather products for sophisticated and cosmopolitan clientele.
The new boutique, called “The Library”, is designed with a unique character by architect duo Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu. For the exterior, they pursued the concept of a raised mass, made tangible as a solid block of dark concrete. The openings and the illumination from the bottom created an uncanny effect. A scattered and restrained composition of deep vertical and horizontal punches provokes curiosity in the viewers.
Entering through a curved glass door that intersects with the rectilinear mass, visitors are stepping into the main room called the Library. Bags are displayed in a hanging bookshelf with circular structure made of thin Chinese walnut slats. The floor uses reclaimed Chinese grey bricks, as well as the solid display table in the centre. The conical light funnel above the table might remind buyers of Rome’s Oculus of the Pantheon.
Going deeper into the store, one enters the Reading Room. Bags are showcased on shelves against green tiles that are vertically placed on the wall. A table made of stacked grey bricks, white porcelain tiles, green fabric and a layer of reclaimed wood sits in the middle of the room. It is the final focal point, where Valextra’s most exclusive products are presented.