Architectural SSL - February 2016

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Ports 1961 Shanghai, China Façade Designer: Uufie Interior design/design producer: Yabu Pushelbeg Lighting Consultant: Inverse Lighting Design Ltd. Façade Manufacturer/Installer: J. Gartner & Co. (HK) Ltd. Façade Engineer: T/E/S/S atelier d/ingénierie Project Coordinator: eightsixthree Ltd. Text: Vilma Barr Photos: Shengliang Su (Ext.), Michael Weber (Int.) The Challenge: Ports 1961 is a high-fashion international retailer. Previously located in a series of shops and boutiques in Shanghai, store management decided they wished to express the Ports 1961 image in a stand-alone structure that would become a one-of-akind destination. The Solution: The design brief specified that the structure be a visual magnet both day and night. A multidisciplinary design team was assembled to express the store’s distinctive fashion point-ofview for the exterior and interior spaces. Inverse Lighting Design Ltd., with project lead designer Filip Vermeiren, was commissioned to create the lighting program. For the exterior, a synthesis of sculptural glass block and LED fixtures produce surface texture and evening glow. Inside, the architectural details and merchandise presentation are strategically illuminated.


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Aglow in Shanghai Founded in 1961 in Toronto as

and fashionable thoroughfare. It

location, and the rest, as they say,

a silk importing business, Ports

quickly experienced enormous

is history. Once an office building,

1961 has evolved into an inter-

popularity among the city’s cadre

the now 12,325-sq.-ft. faceted glass

national retail phenomenon with

of fashion-conscious consumers,

structure has taken on a dramatic

a fleet of 327 stores, including a

and as a result, outgrew its space.

new life as a three-level retail

spectacular flagship operation

A decision was made to invest in

operation, set like a jewel amidst

in Shanghai. Its business model

a new facility, and build big, based

steel and glass high-rise towers.

is based on vertical integration,

on the mega-size of the Shanghai

controlling design, production and

market: 24 million residents—the

at a fairly unique site at the busy

retail operations for women’s and

biggest in China—and the largest

intersection of Changde and Nan-

men’s collections. Its initial outlet

city proper in the world. Ports 1961

jing West Roads, an art-inspired

in Shanghai opened three years

moved to capitalize on its potential.

centerpiece within the surround-

ago on The Bund—the city’s historic

The store was relocated to a new

ing urban context. Vehicular traffic

The store benefits from being

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