PINZHEN GALERIES, formerly known as Huaxia Pawnshop, is a jewellery, and luxury goods distribution and service platform with a history of 25 years and a wide range of businesses including pawning, retail, appraisal, maintenance and other services. It is a new retail form advocating a more sustainable product circulation lifestyle. The original brand image resembled a pure Chinese style and was familiar to and well-received by many consumers. Through the brand upgrade, the biggest challenge was to inherit the traditional elements from the brand’s past, and combine them with a new contemporary and international image.
STUDIO8 believes that the boundaries between cultures are becoming more and more blurred in the contemporary era; however, this does not mean that traditions will be forgotten. Instead it is more likely to see diverse and inclusive cultures and styles harmoniously mixed together. STUDIO8 is a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary design team established in Shanghai. The practice has always adhered to contemporary design philosophy with respect to traditional local culture and brand culture. Therefore, in the design process, how to integrate traditional and modern, eastern and western cultures has become the focus of the design. STUDIO8 also noticed that PINZHEN’s products range from gold, amber and jade to precious stones, diamonds and platinum, as well as watches, purses and suitcases, which are from many categories, are comprised of many materials and styles, and target different customers. In order to organise and sort them out in the space, the team analysed the tonalities and textures of the all products and arranged them from light to dark, cold to warm, contemporary to traditional, and youthful to mature.
In the new design, STUDIO8 did not simply divide the shop into different areas, created a linear gradient change from the entrance to the back of the shop, which also became the core design concept of the space; the colour of the spaces and the material of the props change from light to dark, from cold to warm, from contemporary to traditional, with products displayed in corresponding tones. The gradual change of style was formed to stimulate the deep subconscious aesthetic preferences of consumers. The overall layout of the store follows the simple and traditional counter display format of PINZHEN, keeping the shopping environment familiar while subtly guiding consumers to areas that are most in line with their own tastes.
As the flagship location for the brand, the store takes the phoenix as the logo for the new brand image, in reference to “The Immortal Riding a Phoenix”, a Chinese imperial roof decoration that “overlooks all beings” and symbolises the luxuriousness of the brand. In order to integrate the original brand image inspired by “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” (清明上河图), STUDIO8 also decided to adopt representative sections of the famous Chinese painting as a background, overlaying imagery of birds in different poses from the story of “All Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix” (百鸟朝凤). Created as a poetic visual graphic for the brand, the custom-made wallpaper runs through and connects the entire shop like an unfolded Chinese scroll with both contemporary and traditional motifs, telling the story of the brand and paying tribute to traditional Chinese culture.
Following the gradual change from light and contemporary, to dark and traditional in the whole shop, the Entrance is a light coloured area with counters made of stainless steel and light wood grain. In the middle of the Front Area, STUDIO8 designed a stainless steel column with a fish tank, which is one of the elements used in older PINZHEN shops to welcome customers. There is also a comprehensive service counter in the Front Area to provide customers with packaging and consulting services. Three golden ring-shaped modern pendant lamps, combined with a customised floor mosaic, not only add dynamism and movement to the space, but also help in highlighting the key areas.
The Middle Area is mainly composed of watch counters, as well as Purchasing and Pawning areas. From this point, the colour gradually darkens on the floor, walls and counters. The watch area is designed as the central platform, matched with the Barrisol light box above to create a visual focus of the Middle Area of the store. The corridor leading to the consignment and VIP rooms is decorated with traditional bonsai and a custom-made rounded stone light fixture; in front of which is an open area defined by a round custom-made mosaic floor, with an armchair and poufs for customers.
At the end of the shop, the colours of the floor and walls deepen one more shade. Customers can find additional services at the repair and maintenance window in this area. A custom-made chandelier of glass roof tiles hangs under a square dark wood ceiling, inspired by traditional Chinese city life, just like the painting “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” (清明上河图). As another iconic element in the new store, it carries PINZHEN’s wish to continue servicing the community and enriching people’s lives.
PINZHEN GALERIES is the second retail and luxury pawn platform that STUDIO8 designed for Huaxia Pawnshop Group. This more sustainable way of shopping has become a popular retail and lifestyle concept. In the design of MUSÉE Beijing flagship store, opened in June 2019, STUDIO8 boldly used flexible movable counters and sliding hangers to create a shopping experience that can adapt to various scenarios and events that take place in the shop.