Flagship store AVENUE & SON / Various associates
From street to avenue. AVENUE & SON is a skateboard brand co-founded by four professional skaters in Shanghai in 2014. The concept of the brand “from street to avenue” carries the pursuit of freedom and individuality, typical of the culture. from the street. Guided by the spirit of skateboarding, AVENUE & SON has become one of the global youth cultural crazes with its DNA and brand concept rooted in street culture. In just a few years, AVENUE & SON has accumulated millions of fans and sponsored more than 20 professional skaters at home and abroad. The brand is dedicated to conveying the spirit of “fearlessness, freedom and perseverance” to the younger generation. In such a context, the first flagship store of AVENUE & SON and its street structure park are opened in Taikoo Li Qiantan, Shanghai.
Luxury and streets. Integrating fashion, lifestyle, sports and art, Qiantan is an ideal city model area developed by the Lujiazui Group and one of the future central districts of Shanghai. Centered on the concept of WELLNESS, the Taikoo Li Qiantan shopping complex combines long-standing luxury brands with street culture, art with fashion trends, and shows a lifestyle represented by skateboarding. Designed by Various Associates, the first AVENUE & SON flagship store in China is located at WOODHOUSE in Taikoo Li Qiantan. The store is integrated with the brand’s street-structured skate park, which echoes the Oriental Sports Center (“the crown of the sea”), both representing the coolest structures in the area. Its relationship with the Center Oriental des Sports also makes this site more playful and meaningful.
The world’s first marble skate park. Skateboarding, one of the official sports of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, is no longer a street sport unknown to the general public. Various associates hoped to break the stereotype that “high is cheap”. Therefore, the team created the world’s first marble skate park to blur traditional boundaries between street and mainstream cultures, allowing visitors to focus on the cultural and aesthetic aspects of skateboarding. In addition, the park also offers a creative and quality space for products from street culture. Against the backdrop of current fashion trends, commercial venues are beginning to embrace the street and provide outdoor activity space for brands. Meanwhile, young consumer groups are increasingly seeing skateboarding as a fashionable lifestyle. Designed by Various Associates, Taikoo Li Qiantan’s street culture skatepark, which brings together many luxury brands, is a response to the fusion of different cultures.
City commerce driven by the public. In order to break down the boundary between culture and commerce, designers tried to strike a balance between luxury and the street. Based on young people’s passion for sports culture, the team designed a gathering place for skaters, both outdoor and indoor, practical and fun. This marble skate park is a realistic integration of street culture and luxury, and a significant urban public space in a commercial setting. The street structure park has multiple functions for skateboarding, recreation, cafes and pop-up activities. The marble outdoor kiosk is a coffee and beverage area, and the bronze AVENUE & SON logo is inlaid into the stone by traditional craftsmanship. The classic floor lamp that represents the brand’s urban culture guides the way through the night.
From 2016, AVENUE & SON, as the first representative of skateboarding culture in China, began to engage with consumers in pop-up stores and expand the boundaries of skateboarding culture through various activities. 7 years later, the brand has not only caught the attention of skateboarders, musicians, artists and other groups, but also become the preferred choice of young people. On behalf of Chinese skateboarding culture, he interacted with many brands around the world, such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fred, Off-White™ and Palace, to convey new ideas.
Design language from the outside in. “When we asked the founders of A&S where the best skate park was, their answer was ‘street’. By observing their daily activities, we found that steps, fences, and even small ramps in the street were the skate tracks they loved and excelled at. Therefore, when approaching the design, we did not adopt the curved slope commonly found in skate parks, but applied straight and oblique, stiffer lines to interpret the street elements with an aesthetic language, and at the same time to avoid safety issues caused by curved spaces,” explained Various Associates.
The traditional metal folding door at the entrance is a reminiscence and continuation of the old streets. The delicate metal slats printed with the brand’s logo create a striking contrast with the contemporary architecture of the commercial complex. The two staircases, with a slight slope in the middle, recreate familiar scenes on the streets of Shanghai. The appropriate height allows the skaters to glide over the structures and also allows customers at the entrance to better see the products displayed at different heights.
The central element of the ramp in the interior space comes from the daily street routes of the skaters. Skaters can skate through the inside to the outside, which creates a special experience. Unified interior and exterior ramps and spaces, curved handrails, symmetrical upper and lower slopes, and ceiling rails resembling road markings, aim to integrate street elements into brand’s DNA and spatial aesthetic, producing a unique and engaging destination that’s classy yet popular. Inspired by the way street names are marked, the side part of the staircase is printed with the brand’s logo, birthplace and time of establishment, which echoes the DNA of the streets.
Product diversity display. Based on the brand’s street-root DNA, the AVENUE & SON flagship store is a creative platform that connects with the street skate community. Its product design, models, LOOKBOOK filming, video production and promotional campaigns have all been contributed by skaters. Video is necessary to record this cool sport, so the big screen displaying the brand’s creativity is the soul of the space. Behind the screen is the clothing display area, where customers move along a circular circulation route, which ensures the visibility of all products and facilitates responsive product introduction services. The closed traffic lane bypasses the displays of different heights and shapes, to separate the display areas of shoes, hats, clothes and skateboards, thus realizing more efficient shopping experiences. Other functional spaces such as the waiting room, storeroom and dressing room are also hidden behind the big screen. The back of the screen is an A-shaped steel frame, which extracts the letter “A” from the brand name. Beneath the steel frame is a seat, which can also be used as a temporary clothing display.
The main ramp is not only a pop-up area for collaborative activities between brands, but also a booth to showcase skateboards and other products. It can also be used for graffiti or graphic display. This inclusive and neutral “virgin” zone provides flexibility for collaborative events between A&S and other brands, allowing various brands to fully showcase their attitudes. The abundant oblique lines generate rich visual effects, and the mirrored surfaces create multiple reflections that are visible to customers from different angles. By opening the hidden doors of the storage room and the dressing room, another mirrored world dominated by oblique lines appears.
Skaters night. As a leading Chinese skateboard brand, AVENUE & SON develops a unique perspective of Chinese skateboarding culture. From street to avenue, the brand remains free and diversified, developing without restraint. In addition to meeting commercial requirements and fitting into the positioning of the brand, this project is more significant as a space for cultural exchanges based in a commercial complex. Creating an open and inclusive space at Taikoo Li Qiantan allows people of all ages to enjoy skateboarding and experience the fun of skateboarding culture. On the other hand, the presence of the skateboard brand brings more vitality to the shopping complex. It is available for day and night use. As night falls, it injects vigor and youthful energy into the city.