"Each of us comes to the world with a pair of glasses, i.e. the innate cognition formed by family and educational background. As everyone wears different "glasses" (perspectives), the world we see is different. However, we humans are born with the wisdom to choose the "glasses" we wear, namely, the perspectives on things."
— Ding Xiaohui, Enlighten Education founder
Located in The Mixc World, Shenzhen, the project is a new store that Onexn Architects designed for Dishao Optical, which supplies handmade eyeglasses from multiple Japanese brands. The client asked for a novel way of expressing a Zen atmosphere in the store, and an interpretation of Oriental philosophy in a contemporary context.
1. How to interpret traditions in an unconventional way?
The project doesn't resort to traditional forms to express traditions. The space includes no traditional symbols, but can still allow customers to feel a traditional atmosphere generated by contemporary spatial forms.
The brand concept of Dishao Optical is to "Fit a good pair of eyeglasses for tasteful people". Compared with eyeglass products manufactured through industrial processing, handmade eyeglasses crystallize craftsmen's ingenuity, pursuit of extreme craftsmanship, and dedication to perfection. The handmade eyeglasses supplied by Dishao Optical incorporate the warmth and spirit of Japanese craftsmen.
In response to Dishao Optical founder's requirement for a space filled with Oriental charm, the design team turned the store into an urban spiritual retreat that embodies the spirit of craftsmanship. Considering the brand's targeted customer groups are those who insists on unique taste rather than following trends, the design team identified three key words for this brand space: elegant, delicate and restraining.
After pondering on the design scheme for several rounds, the design team decided to adopt simplistic geometry to express the spirit of craftsmanship, set luminous screen walls to form a fluid, open space, and replace traditional materials with contemporary synthetic materials to stimulate the artistic tension of the space.
The front area of the store is enclosed by luminous screen walls, which form a pure, complete spatial realm. Standing out from the surroundings, this pure space symbolizes the spirit and pursuit of eyeglass craftsmen.
The store is near a subway entrance. The pure interior space forms a contrast with the passers-by in a hurry, and attracts them to stop and look into it.
The hazy, pure luminous foyer set an elegant spatial tone, and showcases the design team's interpretation of contemporary Oriental simplistic aesthetics.
Tyvek paper combined with straw-featured coating expresses a restraining ambience in Oriental aesthetics.
2. Garden touring experience with varying views
Handmade eyeglass display is inserted into interior surfaces. Screen walls in different textures and forms, which are either long or short, transparent, translucent or non-transparent, divide the space into several areas. Abundant gaps blur the boundaries in the space, and enhance the connection between different functional areas.
Door openings enrich the layers of the space and create an interactive visual experience. As moving throughout the space, the view keeps changing. The fluidity of air, nature, light and energy create an immersive atmosphere in which customers temporarily forget about the passage of time.
The twisting circulation route solves the restriction of the deep space. The open area at the rear of the space accommodates functions like socializing, business negotiation and optical fitting, shifting from a dynamic atmosphere to tranquility. The design team introduced the experience of touring a traditional Oriental garden into the space, to offer varying views as customers move in the space.
The founder of Dishao Optical observes things from a perspective of photography. In response, the design team combined photography works with displayed eyeglasses in the form of an art gallery, to create the spatial narratives and meanwhile tell the brand's story.
Through Oriental simplistic expressions, the design team endowed the space with spirit and attitude that resonate with customers. It stimulates customers to perceive the relationship with others, nature and objects, and creates a dialogue between the handmade products with users.
We're born with a pair of "glasses". The world we see is what we want to see, not necessarily what it really looks like. As we gain more experience in life, we gradually have more pairs of "glasses", which are love, resentment, lust, anger, obsession, etc. Sometimes, we even don't realize which pair of glasses we're wearing, and don't know whether the world we see is real. Most often it is "inertia" that drives us forward.
Having an exquisite taste is not about pretending to be sophisticated, but to truly see ourselves. It's a standard of life, for us to live a life as we want.
The soul of the spatial form is "emptiness". It conveys the idea that we can let go of the "glasses" of resentment, lust, anger or obsession, and instead put on a pair of "glasses" of love, to choose the world we see.
The project doesn't follow currently prevailing trends. Through a creative interpretation of Oriental aesthetics, it conveys craftsmanship and brand spirit, and shows a return to purity.
Space is a medium to connect and reveal. Starting from this point of view, all of our thinking and practices in ONEXN lead to the essence of architecture, and that is exactly what ONE stands for. On the other hand, X stands for the multiple opportunities and challenges from unknown fields when our architectural thinking interacts with the external world and bring about transformations and reactions where we can make something different. We are not satisfied with the completion of a project, but want to realize the continuity of the context, and create places that are closely related to our life.
Starting from their devotion to architectural thinking and practicing, Bo Zhang and Jingjing Wang founded ONEXN Architects in Shenzhen in 2015. This multi-disciplinary team consists of professionals from different backgrounds including urban planners, architects, interior designers, and craftsperson. We emphasize on the integrality, innovativeness, and feasibility throughout the project cycle, through the multi-discipline cooperation, we aim to find the best solution in the process to balance many factors including concept, materials, technology, cost, construction, limitations. Systematic strategies are used to achieve cultural and spiritual spatial experience from the inspiration to finalization.
We keep an eye on the new phenomena and conflicts occurring in our city nowadays. We pay close attention to the urban villages evolving rapidly at their unique paces, the transformation of the aged industrial areas, the contemporary art communities, and novel economic entities that are burgeoning in the era of the Internet. We are responding to these issues with our systematic thinking and practice, and the thinking process based on sketches and modeling has been embedded in our daily life. We deeply believe that to respond to the emerging challenges and needs of our profession, the new design approach will be based on the process of research, extraction, introspection, and transformation.