Molteni&C is a time-honored brand that represents the history of design furniture in Italy, based on innovative design ideas, a complete production chain and a persistent pursuit of quality for more than eight decades. As conceiving the showroom for Molteni&C in Ningbo, design studio OUTIN. DESIGN dug into the brand’s genes and character, incorporated business ideas into the space, and created a “home” setting with a focus on emotional experience.
“For this showroom, we emphasized emotional experience rather than visual tension. The entire space is about emotions. By bringing in multiple furniture pieces designed by master designers, we created immersive, emotion-evoking home scenes to let customers better perceive the displayed furniture’s application in daily life,” the design team explained.
Holistic interior and exterior design
While retaining the original structures of the building, OUTIN. DESIGN created a clean, simple and pure facade for Molteni&C | Dada Showroom in Ningbo. The exterior of the exhibition area on 1F presents a strong contrast with the unrenovated road outside, and acts as an interface that blends the showroom into the city. The interior space is not isolated from the outside, but is regarded as the continuation of the urban architecture.
Rather than clearly distinguishing the old and new, or pursuing specific meaning of the space, the designers focused on telling stories, conveying brand values and strengthening customers’ perception of products by creating a series of “home” scenes that stimulate emotional resonance. The interior and the exterior are unified to vividly interpret the design concept, and to communicate a simple, calm brand image from the inside out. After inserting blocks into the space, a storytelling, emotional space is created.
Space shaped by cabinets
Instead of trying to create a spatial form full of tension, the designers tended to adopt more moderate structural languages, to fit into the brand’s character. The design weakened the commercial atmosphere without breaking away from the showroom’s commercial attribute. The transparent glass allows for clear sight lines, unveiling interior structures distinctly. Through combining cabinets with furniture pieces, a relatively complete “home” setting is created.
The design team extracted the dynamic straight and oblique surfaces of cabinets, and inserted them into the space, to create the spatial order that echoes the brand. Through deconstructing and combining cabinet blocks, the design team created a structural realm that communicates the brand’s genes. By building connection between products and space, the project presents a complete series of home scenes. It breaks with the stereotype of “doors”, and forms various separate yet connected areas, making products the connectors in the overall space.
Products interact with the space, which alleviate the sense of boundary and create a classic separate yet continuous aesthetic. The walk-in closet acts as an independent micro spatial realm, and also a flexible, interactive “transit station”. It’s like a surprising, mysterious “blind box”, which opens up an unknown field and invites customers to perceive the charm of Molteni&C in the space. The design needs to not only respond to the brand’s context, but also convey emotions accurately.
The spatial design is not merely about products display, but more about creating a living atmosphere through various furniture products, so as to evoke customers’ emotional resonance. The gentle material textures weaken the reflection of light, and the soft spatial tones offer a warm visual experience. Natural light is filtered in and softened by the frosted glass, enhancing the living atmosphere of the space.
Peaceful pale hues and dark colors complement each other under the light, which creates shadows and fluidity in the space. With meticulous consideration into color palette, light, material textures and details, the design created a simple, pure yet strong home-like atmosphere in the showroom, which stimulates infinite sensory and emotional experiences. The restrained space forms a spiritual field filled with a sense of extension, where displayed products and space dialogue with each other.
The way that a brand communicates itself doesn’t necessarily have to be high-profile. Perhaps a storytelling narrative may help better interpret and convey the core values of the time-honored brand. Starting from the character and history of Molteni&C, the design team conceived both the interior and exterior of the showroom, which evokes customers’ emotional resonance with the brand. Source by OUTIN. DESIGN.
- Location: Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
- Interior Design: OUTIN. DESIGN
- Chief designer: Wang Chen
- Design management: OUTIN – R.E.C Team
- Props production: OUTIN – R.E.C Team
- Lighting design: OUTIN – R.E.C Team, Yunxi Lighting Co., Ltd.
- Display design: Sìbān
- Market promotion: Shajun
- Area: 570 square meters
- Completion time: September 2021
- Photographs: Wen Studio, Courtesy of OUTIN. DESIGN