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PORTFOLIO: Maia Active, Beijing

Designers recall cakes, pies and ice cream to promote shopper relaxation

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IT MAY SEEM AN unusual choice to tap desserts as inspiration when designing a store for an activewear brand. But that’s exactly what Shanghai-based interior architecture firm Sò Studio did, creating a dreamy, buttercream-colored space for Chinese brand Maia Active. “We want shoppers to feel relaxed,” say Sò Studio’s Mengjie Liu and Yifan Wu. “Unlike in most traditional sports stores, we want them to feel comfortable and stylish, and [see] the beauty of female power.”

 Designers mixed cool and warm tones to create a dreamy, relaxing space.

The 1290-square-foot Maia Active at Taikoo Li Sanlitun, a popular shopping hub in the capital city of the People’s Republic of China, leans into the idea of a “gadabout soul,” a habitual pleasure seeker full of vitality and freedom.

For its spatial design, designers recalled works by American painter Wayne Thiebaud, known for depicting delicacies such as cakes, pies and ice cream in vivid colors. His cake paintings, particularly the “fluffy, lightweight textures and the mix of cool and warm tones,” are embodied in the space via its overall creamy yellow color. Confection-like shades of pink and purple-gray are dotted throughout using fixtures, flooring and acrylic panels as well as with accent lighting. Rounded shapes in furniture, decorative props and fixturing emphasize fluidity.

Rounded shapes in furniture, props and fixtures communicate fluidity, while soft textures empahsize comfort and relaxation.

Materials in the Maia Active shop also allude to movement. For example, rubber – found on several surfaces – is a nod to sport courts; designers credit its soft texture as offering a relaxing and comfortable feeling for shoppers. The light wood-clad modular fixturing around the store’s perimeter resembles deconstructed Pilates equipment – a slice of color on each column is yet another macaron-hued ingredient stirred into this sweet visual feast. — Lauren Mang

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PHOTO GALLERY (20 IMAGES)
📷: Courtesy of Objective Vision, Shanghai

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