WithMe Mobile, Chicago

Designed by: Giorgio Borruso Design
For client: WithMe Floor area: 279.00 M² Year of completion: 2016
Nominated for: Pop-Up Store of the Year

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© Benny Chan

The Shapeshifter is a 12m kinetic wall that moves in real time.

About the Project

WithMe's project brief was summarized with this phrase: "Change the file, not the fixtures." This 279-sq-m project introduces a new retail paradigm as the only mobile commercial space that can be mass produced and is capable of rapid deployment, setup, and tear down, and is marketable to any brand for any length of time. As with online shopping, this concept isn't restricted by locality or long-term construction logistics. The primary challenge was to rapidly invent the mobile architectural and technical fixture systems not as prototypes, but as robust, deployable market-based products. Providing durable frameworks for adaptable experimentation gave an evolutionary model where key systems were strong enough to carry ambitious and continuously evolving components directly to visitors.

From the Shapeshifter pixel wall that can reconfigure itself in real time and move kinetically in response to passing customer profiles, to dressing rooms that retract vertically and become public spaces,  a virtual reality dome, and Express Checkout kiosks that allow “walk-by” payment: the WithMe Shop re-imagines all facets of the customer journey for the digital age. The WithMe network is continuous across all fixtures and is integrated seamlessly with the online app. From magnetic 'Smart Hangers' to ‘ReacTables' with transparent screens, digital mirror fitting room screens, and 'Big Dipper’ online shopping kios - every part of the store has one foot in the digital world.

What’s unique about it

This project was conceived as part of a mission to disrupt the retail industry and permit any online, startup, or traditional brand to temporarily inhabit a technologically advanced space in key geographic locations, giving them access that is typically only reserved for established brick-and-mortar companies. Interactive, continuously adaptable fixtures and surfaces utilise natural materials like wool felt and sustainably harvested wood to reinforce the idea that futuristic digital elements should not divide us from the natural world. Likewise, virtual information is manifest physically via robotics, lighting, and advanced screen technologies so that people better understand when and how their personal data is being collected and used.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The project envisions a near future where retail construction becomes less wasteful by not only using recycled or green materials that otherwise reduce the footprint of architectural design, but by actually reusing robust high-tech adaptable designs that are turned over to new brands. The WithMe Shop also uses a translucent tensile membrane to supplement daylighting load requirements, envisioning a "new normal" for the future of retail spaces in a world trying to seriously address climate change. Otherwise, the store uses 100% LED lighting to further minimise its footprint.

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© Benny Chan

The Mobile Unit lets brands briefly inhabit a technologically advanced space at key locations.

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© Benny Chan

Express Checkout Kiosk allows customers with the app to swipe and pay as you pass.

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© Benny Chan

The interior is comprised of various interactive elements that blend online and physical experiences.

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© Benny Chan

Shapeshifter is composed of over 1000 elements that can project up to 61cm.

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The virtual reality dome features 360 projection that allows brands to extend their capabilities further into the digital realm.

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Telescopic fitting room enclosures blend natural materials with the technological.

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Interactive mirror displays let customers request and purchase products to try-on instore.

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© Benny Chan

Shapeshifter exhibits a new way of thinking about adaptive, reactive merchandise display and communication.

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© Benny Chan

Advanced mobile and tensile architectural systems blend the orthogonal and the fluid to permit construction in a matter of days. The mobile unit premiers at Pioneer Square, Chicago.

Location of project:
Giorgio Borruso Design

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