Boutique J1M5 uno spazio in metamorfosi

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J1M5 is a boutique brand, with a mission of discovering, sharing cutting-edge fashion trends and permeating tourism, art and lifestyles. 

Various Associates conceived J1M5 boutique by taking “suitcase” as the design concept.

The team combined the movable, flexible features of suitcase with the origin of multi-brand boutique, and at the same time took full account of spatial layout, circulation, colour palette and experiences, thereby working out unique spatial languages that blend logic with artistry.

J1M5 Changeable Fashion Boutique by Various Associates

Changeable Space | Movable Structure

The design well fits into the definition of multi-brand boutique. Multiple suitcases imply the combination of various brands, and form distinctive structural languages  in the space. The main goal was to create a spatial construction that’s as movable and flexible as suitcase, so that the overall layout can be adjusted at any time.

Cabinets are made capable of rotating 360 degrees at horizontal level. Therefore, adjustment of a single structure will lead to the change of the entire space. Each combination of structures is a new presentation of functions and visual effects. The four display cabinets at the entrance can be flexibly arranged, combined and connected. Mirrors at the end of space make customers feel like they’re standing in between lofty buildings, and attract them to immerse and indulge in the orderly yet infinite space.

J1M5 Changeable Fashion Boutique by Various Associates

Flexible Space | Form Follows Function

This is a space with changeable structures. It can be either empty or full of columns. Various Associates broke the conventional imagination of all kinds of stores, and created a distinctive retail space for J1M5 based on functional demands and subversive design approaches.

The external sides of cabinets are available to hang stainless steel cloth rails, which help maximize the display area; while the interior can be used for storage. In this way, the cabinets realize efficient integration of display and storage functions.

J1M5 Changeable Fashion Boutique by Various Associates

Bags, clothes and shoes can be placed inside cabinets and displayed as a complete set, which is intuitive for customers to choose.

Cabinets can be combined and shift among different modes according to operation needs of the client. Each cabinet can serve for displaying a single brand, or be used as an independent show window..

Based on the prototype of a single suitcase, various ways of use were worked out to satisfy different functions. It can be a column, a rail, a wardrobe, a fitting room, or even a display window.


Arranged in an orderly manner, the columns endow the space with a distinctive character, which attracts customers to step in and wander between the columns (i.e. displayed brand clothes).


Columns can be moved to the four sides and form an enclosed space at the center. The position of columns can be adjusted to generate different catwalk routes and spatial patterns, so as to meet varying demands for catwalk shows.

J1M5 Changeable Fashion Boutique by Various Associates


All other functional areas in the store are distinctive and cater for daily shooting needs. Scenes are everywhere. Details, functionality and materials collide yet integrate with the space. Through constant researches and efforts, Various Associates showcased a unique attitude that considered and interpreted the design based on business format of the space.


The area right opposite to the entrance is for brand, accessory and bag display. LED screens are visual highlights, which provide varying display backdrops.

J1M5 Changeable Fashion Boutique by Various Associates


Slanting walls inside the entrance form a leisure and exhibition area that are available to display perfume, artworks and so on. Mirrors reflect the hazy lighting on the ceiling and create a multidimensional dreamy space, which blurs the boundary between the real and the illusionary and provide immersive spatial experiences.

The ceiling is characterized by a sense of order and a structural aesthetic. It hides complex systems behind, including lighting, fire prevention system, and cabinet moving tracks, which are coordinated and integrated into a whole. This area is filled with tranquil shadows and soft lights.

J1M5 Changeable Fashion Boutique by Various Associates


The cashier area is unified by walls finished with gray paint, which weakens the spatial boundaries. In addition, warm and cold lights form a strong contrast, and generate a pure, simple atmosphere.


The hidden VIP fitting room features an atmosphere totally distinct from the outside. The warm yellow tone and ethereal lights accentuate spatial lines, and produce exquisite visual effects as well as a comfortable, warm and elegant ambience.

Consistent pursuits of Various Associates

For this project, Various Associates extracted the essence of the business format, shifted design perspectives, and broke the conventional merely-display-oriented thinking mode. The team proposed a new possibility for future brand stores, whilst adopting new perspectives and design approaches to bring substantive innovation to the boutique brand and endow the space with unique brand identity. Through integrating spatial aesthetics, structures, functionality and personality, Various Associates thoroughly transformed the singular display mode of retail stores, and created a changeable spatial structural system.

Based on logic thinking, the complicated functional system and rich details are combined into a whole, generating the power of unified design languages. The overall design realizes the balance between brand, function, space, art and urban life.

Various Associates – VA

Various Associates is an architecture and interior design practice working regionally and internationally on research-based design projects.VA was founded in 2017 as a team of designers from an international background with professional expertise in architecture, interior design, material design, graphic and interaction design. The studio is developing ambitious high-end projects including boutique hotels, restaurants, retail spaces, workspaces and galleries.

J1M5 Boutique
Location Hisense Plaza, Qingdao, China
Design Company Various Associates
Lead Designers Dongzi Yang, Qianyi Lin
Design Team Bo Huang, Meiyu Jiang
Photos courtesy Feng Shao

by AN shopfitting magazine no.163 ©