BARBIE SHANGHAI
LOCATION / SHANGHAI, CHINA
COMPLETED / 2009
SIZE / 35,000 SF
PHOTOGRAPHER / IWAN BAAN

The 35,000 square foot store is the first ever Barbie Flagship. Mattel wanted a store where “Barbie is hero,” expressing Barbie as a global lifestyle brand by building on the brand’s historical link to fashion. Barbie Shanghai is the first realized expression of this vision. Slade Architecture led the design of this project, including the exterior, interior, fixtures, and furnishings. Slade’s design is a sleek, fun, unapologetically feminine interpretation of Barbie: past, present, and future.

The new façade combines references from product packaging, decorative arts, fashion and architectural iconography to create a modern identity for the store, expressing Barbie’s cutting-edge fashion sense and history. The façade is made of two layers: molded, translucent polycarbonate interior panels (analogous to the blister packaging the dolls are packaged in) and flat exterior glass panels printed with a whimsical lattice frit pattern. The two layers reinforce each other visually and interact dynamically through reflection, shadow and distortion.  

Visitors are enveloped by the curvaceous, pearlescent surfaces of the lobby, leading to a pink escalator tube that takes them from the bustle of the street, to the double-height main floor. A three-story spiral staircase enclosed by eight hundred Barbie dolls is the store’s core; everything literally revolves around Barbie.

The staircase links the three retail floors: The women’s floor (women’s fashion, couture, cosmetics and accessories),  the doll floor (dolls, designer doll gallery, doll accessories, books), and the girl’s floor (girls fashion, shoes and accessories).

Throughout the retail areas, Slade played with the scale differences between dolls, girls and women. They reinforced the feeling of youth and the possibilities of an unapologetically girlish outlook (regardless of age) by mixing reality and fantasy and keeping play and fun at the forefront - to create a space where optimism and possibility reign supreme as expressions of core Barbie attributes.


Accolades & Publications 

2014 Venice Biennale Exhibit, US Pavilion, Venice, Italy
2012 AIA New York Design Awards. Interiors - Awards of Merit
2011 London International Creative Competition, London, UK. Interior Design - Winner
2010 Association for Retail Environment. Store of the Year - Winner
2010 Association for Retail Environment. Specialty Store Over 25,000sf - Winner
2010 Association for Retail Environment. Store Fixture Awards - Winner
2010 Chain Store Age Awards. Store of the Year - Winner
2010 Chain Store Age Awards. Attraction Retailing - Winner
2010 Chain Store Age Awards. Cashwrap and Fitting Room - Winner
2010 Chain Store Age Awards. Best Exterior - Honorable Mention
2009 Retail Design Institute International Store Design Awards. Innovative Concept - Winner
2009 Retail Design Institute International Store Design Awards. Specialty Store Over 10,000sf - Winner
2009 The Retail Interior Awards. Best International Retail Interior - Winner
2009 Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Awards. Retail: Other - Winner
2009 Event Design Awards. Best Retail Environment - Gold Award
2009 Architectural Record Business Week. Award of Excellence
2009 Contract Magazine Interior Awards. Retail - Winner
2009 Fast Company. Master of Design Issue