A new Fine store designed by Atelier A has opened on Wulumuqi Road in downtown Shanghai. This mini-sized yougashi store occupies an area of just over twenty square meters, with a width of less than three meters. How to display exquisite yougashi desserts and at the same time provide drinks and eat-in service in this small shop poses huge challenge for space design. Maximum usage of the space is achieved by straight circulation routes. Areas for staff and customers are divided by a counter with separate entrances so that they do not get in each other’s way.
The façade is another innovative design. Outswing doors might obstruct passengers on the busy street. However, inswing doors would waste a large proportion of the small shop area. The solution to the dilemma is an inward triangle made by two outswing doors. Meanwhile, this triangle creates space for customers to smoke or wait for takeaways. It is also an important liminal space from the exterior to the interior, as the outdoor/indoor interaction is a feature of all Fine stores.
The two doors are deliberately made old to match the surrounding old town area, but using different materials---one made of stylish dark wood, the same as the signboard, the other faded light green iron, Fine’s brand color. When entering the store, customers will find that the interesting contrast of refined vs. crude extends to the inside. The staff area half looks like a Japanese Taisho antique shop. The walls, ceiling, air vent grills and the counter are all made of the same dark wood, decorated with mouldings. Whereas the other half is removed of all previous decorations, including previous floor tiles and wall paints. Instead, grey tiles and cement of the old building are exposed, so are all the cables and random hand-made chiselling marks.