AVENUE & SON Flagship Store / Various partners
From street to avenue. AVENUE & SON is a skateboard brand founded in 2014 by four professional skaters in Shanghai. The concept of the brand “from street to avenue” carries the pursuit of freedom and individuality that is typical of street culture. Guided by the skateboarding spirit, AVENUE & SON has become one of the global culture maniacs among youth with its DNA rooted in street culture and its brand concept. In just a few years, AVENUE & SON has gained millions of fans and sponsored more than 20 professional skaters at home and abroad. The brand is committed to passing on the spirit of “fearlessness, freedom and perseverance” to the younger generation. In such a context, AVENUE & SON’s first flagship store and street structure park will be opened in Taikoo Li Qiantan, Shanghai.
luxury and streets. Integrating fashion, lifestyle, sports and art, Qiantan is an ideal city model zone developed by Lujiazui Group and one of the future core areas of Shanghai. Focusing on the concept of WELLNESS, Taikoo Li Qiantan trade complex combines long-standing luxury brands with street culture, art with fashion trends, and showcases a lifestyle represented by skateboarding. AVENUE & SON’s first flagship store in China was designed by Various Associates and is located at WOODHOUSE in Taikoo Li Qiantan. The store is integrated into the brand’s skate park with a street structure reminiscent of the Oriental Sports Center (“the crown of the sea”), both of which are the chillest structures in the area. The relationship with the Oriental Sports Center also makes this place more playful and significant.
The world’s first marble skate park. As one of the official sports at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, skateboarding is no longer a mainstream street sport. Various employees hoped to break the cliché that “road equals cheap”. That’s why the team created the world’s first marble skate park to blur the traditional lines between street and mainstream culture and allow visitors to focus on the cultural and aesthetic aspects of skateboarding. In addition, the park also offers a creative and high-quality space for street culture products. In the context of current fashion trends, commercial venues are beginning to embrace the street and provide outdoor activity spaces for brands. Meanwhile, skateboarding is increasingly becoming a fashionable lifestyle among young consumer groups. Rooted in street culture, Taikoo Li Qiantan Skateboard Park, which gathers many luxury brands, was designed by Various Associates and is a response to the merging of different cultures.
Public urban trade. In order to break the line between culture and commerce, the designers tried to find a balance between luxury and street. Starting from the youth’s passion for sports culture, the team conceived a hangout for skaters that is both outdoor and indoor, practical and fun. A realistic integration of street culture and luxury, this marble skate park is a significant urban public space in a commercial setting. The street structure park serves multiple functions for skateboarding, leisure, cafes and pop-up activities. The marble outdoor kiosk is a coffee and beverage area and the bronze AVENUE & SON logo is set into the stone by traditional craftsmanship. Representing the brand’s street culture, the classic street lamp guides the way through the night.
As early as 2016, AVENUE & SON, as the first representative of skateboard culture in China, started to engage with consumers in pop-up stores and push the boundaries of skateboard culture through various activities. 7 years later, the brand has not only attracted the attention of skaters, musicians, artists and other groups, but also has become the preferred choice of young people. On behalf of Chinese skateboard culture, it has interacted with many brands from around the world such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fred, Off-White™ and Palace to bring new ideas.
Form language from the outside to the inside. “When we asked the founders of A&S where they thought the best skate park was, their answer was street. As we observed their daily activities, we found that steps, fences, and even small ramps in the street were the skate lanes they loved and excelled at. Therefore, in the approach to the design, we did not adopt the curved slope common in skate parks, but applied straight and oblique lines, more rigid, to interpret the elements of the street with an aesthetic language while avoiding the safety problems caused by curved spaces,” explained Various Associates.
The traditional metal folding door at the entrance is a reminiscence and continuation of the old streets. The filigree metal slats, printed with the brand logo, form a striking contrast to the contemporary architecture of the commercial complex. The two staircases, along with a slight incline down the middle, recreate familiar scenes on the streets of Shanghai. The appropriate height allows skaters to slide on the structures and also allows customers at the entrance to have a better view of the products displayed at different heights.
The central ramp element in the interior comes from the daily street routes of the skaters. Skaters can skate through the interior to the outside, creating a special experience. Unified indoor and outdoor ramps and surfaces, curved handrails, symmetrical upper and lower slopes, and overhead rails resembling road markings are designed to integrate road elements with the brand’s DNA and spatial aesthetic, creating a unique, appealing destination that is both classy and nevertheless popular. Inspired by the way street names are marked, the side panel of the staircase is printed with the brand’s logo, place of birth and founding time, reflecting the streets’ DNA.
Presentation of the variety of products. Built on the brand’s street-rooted DNA, the AVENUE & SON flagship store is a creative platform that connects with the street skateboarding community. Product design, models, LOOKBOOK shoot, video production and advertising campaigns were all contributed by skaters. Video is necessary to record this cool sport, so the big screen showing the creativity of the brand is the soul of the room. Behind the screen is the clothing exhibition area, where customers move along a circular orbit, which ensures the visibility of all products and facilitates responsive product launch services. The closed circuit bypasses display stands of different heights and shapes to separate display areas for shoes, hats, clothes and skateboards, realizing more efficient shopping experiences. Other functional areas such as the waiting area, storage room and changing room are also hidden behind the large screen. The back of the screen is an A-shaped steel frame, extracting the letter “A” from the brand name. Under the steel frame is a seat that can also serve as a temporary clothing display.
The Core Ramp is not only a pop-up area for cross-brand collaborations, but also a stand for the presentation of skateboards and other products. It can also be used for graffiti or graphic illustrations. This inclusive and neutral “empty” space provides flexibility for joint events between A&S and other brands and allows different brands to fully demonstrate their stance. Numerous slanted lines create rich visual effects, and mirrored surfaces create multiple reflections visible to customers from different angles. Opening the hidden doors to the storage room and changing rooms reveals another mirror world dominated by slanting lines.
Night of the Skaters. As the leading Chinese skateboard brand, AVENUE & SON develops a unique perspective on Chinese skateboard culture. From street to avenue, the brand remains free and diverse and grows unchecked. This project not only meets commercial needs and fits into the brand’s positioning, but is also significant as a place of cultural exchange in a commercial complex. By creating an open and inclusive space in Taikoo Li Qiantan, people of all ages can enjoy skateboarding and experience the fun of skateboarding culture. On the other hand, the presence of the skateboard brand brings more liveliness to the commercial complex. It can be used both during the day and at night. When night falls, it brings vigor and youthful energy to the city.