A lone wooden cabin with louvered brass windows stands starkly in the middle of the boutique for French fashion label Isabel Marant in Shanghai, marking a throwback to the traditional houses that used to populate the city. Designed by Parisian architecture studio Ciguë, the piece takes inspiration from Chinese “nail houses”— buildings that stand in contrast to surrounding development when the property owners refuse to vacate for compensation.
The Shanghai Isabel Marant shop is located in the Réel Department Store in the center of Shanghai near the Jing’an Temple, one of the city’s oldest temples.
“The layout of the shop was inspired by ‘nail houses,’ a common phenomenon in Shanghai and many modern growing cities, where commercial urban projects replace former residential areas, confronting the resistance of their inhabitants,” said the studio, according to design site Dezeen.
The wooden structure serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. In addition to referencing nail houses, the cabin also serves as stock storage with drawers and cupboards in it. “Designed as a cozy shelter for the store staff it becomes the core of the shop, around which the collections are displayed,” said the designers.
Jewelry and accessories are displayed around the cabin, via glass cases on the cabin walls or hollowed-out wall sections.