Shanghai-based Sò Studio has crafted a new flagship store for female activewear brand MAIA ACTIVE at the Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping center in Beijing. The retail space reflects the brand’s distinctive emphasis on lightweight comfort and style via a fluid layout and flexible materials. Sò cofounder and chief designer Mengjie Liu explains, “We like to express the beauty of female power and deliver MAIA ACTIVE’s aesthetic concept of ‘light and graceful comfort.’”

Curvaceous lines and rounded objects characterize the MAIA flagship to instill rhythm among central displays, fitting areas, and wall displays. Display racks are installed across a network of customizable wood-grain columns that emerge from the walls, while wood tables and freestanding racks flank a central resting area.

Rubber appears throughout the store as well to convey flexibility and sportiness. “Rubber is the key material we apply to the accessible area of the retail space,” says Sò cofounder and chief designer Yifan Wu. “By using rubber to mimic the material used in sport court, we create an active atmosphere. Meanwhile, the soft texture of this material can provide a relaxing and comfortable feeling to the customers.”

Glass surfaces and color gradation are accented by a varied lighting design, which draws influence from minimalist artist Dan Flavin and accommodates an array of moods. The paintings of Wayne Thiebaud also inspired the designers to add an installation of colorful cakes to the space for a dash of vitality, rhythm, and fluffiness.

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