X11, as a new, representative toy retail brand, is born to meet the spiritual needs of Gen Z. Nowadays, emerging commercial operations and consumer groups are breeding new commercial space. X11 adopts the strategy of giving every flagship store a differentiated image, hoping to offer consumers an immersive shopping and socializing experience through exquisite spaces, display aesthetics and story-telling circulations.
Recently, another new premise of X11 opened in the Mixc World in Xi’an. Conceived by TOMO DESIGN, this flagship store unfolds a distinct journey of exploring toy collections. Its novel, trendy aesthetics stimulate the desire of sharing, refresh consumers’ interactive experience with the brand, and turn the retail space into a story-telling experiential field awash with emotions, atmosphere and rich layers.
100 years later, airship is still a romantic symbol of freedom and fantasy. This space is an integration of curiosity, fun, unknown exploration, cross-dimensional innovation and undefined trend. The retro-futuristic “airship” flies people to another dimension full of futuristic, synthwave and fantastic elements.
Creating a journey-like scene that leads to another dimension.
Based on the unknown and fun, retro and sci-fi elements are extracted to generate a new display form.
Breaking the existing spatial form and building a novel, undefined spatial image.
The colossus floating in the sky is like a “parallel universe” near at hand. No matter in a century ago or today when planes or other kinds of aircrafts are common, people have never stopped the fantasy about airship. It still plays a dominant role in futurists’ utopian vision, acting as a romantic, sci-fi medium that carries people’s dream of living and freely flying in the sky. To meet the vision of retro-futurism, X11 flagship store in Xi’an is conceived as an airship, bringing contemporary young customers to another dimension.
How does the airship land?
TOMO subtly made use of the original space and opened up the interior surfaces. The metal airship was set at the center of the space, linking the upstairs and the downstairs. It creates a sci-fi scene, which builds a dialogue between past and future and meanwhile improves the utilization of the space. The special form of the airship posed many technical challenges to the spatial structure.
In response, TOMO took advantage of the steel staircase and the skeleton structure of the airship, cleverly hiding firefighting equipment and air-conditioning and ensuring the perfect presence of the airship form. The airship installation gives the space a centripetal force. To satisfy the demands for displaying a large number of commodities, the design team worked out elaborate spatial layout and efficient display solutions, which form orderly, interesting spatial circulations.
Walking inside, customers are immersed in the distinct dimension filled with various toys, and the fun of exploration and shopping. The cashier area is subtly arranged in the “cockpit” at the bottom of the airship, serving as a characteristic “magnetic dot” and a functional node of the circulation route. The hollow-out design and the lighting arrangements are exposed from the inside of the airship, attracting customers to step in and explore.
The connecting area between the floor slab of 2F and the head of the airship is formed by a crescent-shaped glass walkway, helping eliminate the boundary. To realize an integrated form for the airship from top to bottom, TOMO refined the design in a rigorous and meticulous manner, thus creating an airship “float” in the air and rich walking experiences in the space. The full-height glass curtain wall provides an open view to the outside, and reveals the interior full of infinite imagination.
The orderly-arranged grilles are combined with strip lights, producing a psychedelic, futuristic visual effect and delicately wrapping the airship inside. The “X11” logo on the facade highlights the identity of the brand. A matrix screen with flowing dots is inserted into the triangular entrance canopy, which seems to urge people to board the airship. The staircase of the airship faces the entrance, welcoming people to the unknown travel.
The airship becomes the iconic symbol of the store, injects value into spatial scenes, and improves the utilization of space. Moreover, it also adds fun and a sense of storytelling to the exploration circulations. The journey to another dimension is connected by several “magnetic dots” in the space. Crossing the floor slab, the huge airship floating in the air comes into view. Its retro appearance and futuristic textures create a new, stylish scene.
The rotating spiral wings call on travelers to explore the inside. As stepping into the space, people can experience the retro-futuristic, romantic vibe and the distinctive style. The space appears retro, but expresses modernity and fashion as well.Boarding the airship, an array of biochemical energy boxes is placed in the silver-hued metal “laboratory”, which nurtures top toys. The immersive scene unfolds stories. The red lighting installed on the steel staircase are blinking, leading people to enter the airship.
The light passes through the steel frame of the airship and falls down, highlighting a sense of technology. Various elements, such as red twinkling lighting, retro-style meter, mechanical button, rolling and faulty screen, and old computer screen playing retro-futuristic brand advertisement, are injected with X11’s brand genes, bringing people back to sci-fi movies in the 1970s. The futuristic steel frames are organized in sequence. Rough and precise textures are blended.
The laboratory-style display racks reveal a trendy aesthetic. The slightly blunt steel shelves and the precise retro-style display stands create a familiar yet strange sci-fi scene. The retro green terrazzo floor and the shelves featuring the elements of “experimental console” complement each other. The “apron” is partially paved with stainless steel, producing a spatial atmosphere the same as the control and manufacturing room of airship.
Based on a dialogue between the past and the future, distinct areas are divided to guide the journey. The sci-fi, cyber-style, bright light strips and the dotted red light arouse time-travelling, surreal feelings.Elaborate details endow the surreal dimension with a sense of reality. Novelty, exploration, fantasy and infinite imagination are integrated into the real spatial scene, as if dream comes true.
With the rise of retrospective, futuristic steampunk culture, airships have found their place in the sci-fi, mechanical universe. As a Big Dumb Object (BDO), airships exist in the real world. X11 Airship carries beauty and fun, which is undefined and full of curiosity. It acts as a spiritual ark for Gen Z, enabling them to be immersed in the passion. Parallel, different dimensions collide and extend here. A new wave of trend culture sets sail in the space. Source by TOMO DESIGN.
- Location: Xi’an, China
- Architect: TOMO DESIGN
- Interior Design: Uno Chan, Xiao Fei
- Cooperative Design: Jamie Ho, Linus, Jason Luo
- Decoration Design: Tin, Jamie Ho, Linus
- Technical Support: G.art Lighting Design (Shenzhen), ZHUJIN ART
- Client: KK Group
- Area: 1000 Square Meters
- Date: 2021
- Photographs: Yanming Studio, Courtesy of TOMO DESIGN