In January 2020, ICICLE unveiled its new concept store in Shanghai Grand Gateway 66, designed by renowned Italian architect Andrea Tognon, after two years’ design and construction process.
The store covers 485 square meters and presents all ICICLE collections, including Womenswear, Menswear, Paris Collection and Accessories. Tognon’s thoughtful design prioritizes the fluidity, comfort, and intimacy that the space creates for people while constructing a sustainable space of subtle dialogues between different natural materials. The new concept store is a contemporary interpretation of the harmony between humans and nature, the philosophy that has inspired ICICLE since its founding.
For architect Andrea Tognon, people are the most important factor during the entire design process, both the customers and the staff working at the store. The foremost consideration is how to create fluid movement and intimate comfort between humans, space, and products. The store space is divided by curvilinear walls into three major units instead of a diagrammatic arrangement, enhancing the fluidity of both the space and people’s movements.
At first sight, the store does not appear straightforward or awe-inspiring, yet each independent unit together creates a diverse and evolving spatial engagement and exchange. Intimacy is fostered by the relatively small scale of different units where customers are being ‘hugged’ by comfort. Greenery and furniture of irregular organic shapes add a soothing merriment, encouraging longer stay to appreciate subtle design details.
Precious marble, solid walnut, glazed porcelain, and honest concrete are the major materials that constitute the store space. Born to a family of furniture design and manufacture, Tognon started working in the family’s design office at the age of fifteen. During his youth, Tognon found pleasure in collecting minerals and later gathered numerous stone specimens on his frequent trips. Such experience and penchant naturally influenced his use of marble in furniture design. The new ICICLE concept store presented four marble tables designed by Tognon. The moving textures of marble form natural paintings of intricate dialogues.
Subtly irregular shapes of the table mirror the designer’s hand drawing, which imbues the table with soft emotions that foster communication between the beholder and the creator. A deep blue porcelain table especially designed for ICICLE consists of eighteen pieces of glazed porcelain square, arranged on different levels. For Tognon, porcelain and blue not only represent Chinese cultural traditions but also link to the rich and ancient pottery-making tradition in his hometown in Italy. Designed with a contemporary language, the table symbolizes a transcultural-and-spatial interaction between the Chinese brand and the designer’s Italian root.
Since the inception of the project, Tognon has found great resonance with ICICLE’s philosophy of Made on Earth. How to build a retail space that is sustainable and responsible always remains of top priority. Simple concrete used on the wall structures for durability and honesty. Marbles are consciously used for a limited number of furniture pieces, as the designer explains, ‘like jewels decorating a female body.’ Tognon consciously limits the use of precious marble out of a profound respect for the gift of nature, and only uses it on furniture for their long-lasting reusability.
This conscious approach to use natural materials resonates with ICICLE’s pursuit of a harmonious symbiosis between humans and nature. Store lighting employs an energy-saving LED technique and abundant greenery emulates natural landscapes like urban parks. ‘When we use natural materials, we need to use the beauty that earth gives us in a conscious way…We live in a crucial time and sustainability is very important. We must try out best to be sustainable, even knowing that everything we do costs energy and material.’ said Andrea Tognon.