The Déjà Vu Recycle Store on Anfu Road is an exemplary blend of innovative architectural design and sustainable consumerism. Formerly housing the Shanghai Film Distribution and Exhibition Corporation, this zigzag three-story building has been masterfully reinvented by OFFHAND Practice. It now stands as a space that challenges traditional retail concepts, seamlessly blending the worlds of recycled books and fashion.
Déjà Vu Recycle Store Technical Information
- Architects: Offhand Practice
- Location: Anfu Road, Shanghai, China
- Topics: Bookstores
- Area: 600 m2
- Project Completion Year: 2020
- Photographs: © Hu Yanyun
While integrating two very different fields – recycling books and clothes, we are not looking for a mixture but creating a different model. We hope to erase the ritualistic experience from the traditional book store and consumerism in the fashion industry, at the same time wishing to break the stereotypical images of “second-hand store”– Offhand Practice
Déjà Vu Recycle Store Photographs
Transforming the Concept of Second-Hand Shopping
Déjà Vu, initially founded in Beijing with the philosophy that “good things are worth buying twice,” presents a unique challenge: translating a virtual platform into a tangible, inviting space. OFFHAND Practice’s approach was not merely to mix the elements of book and clothing recycling but to create a new model that moves away from conventional consumerism and the typical imagery of second-hand stores.
The transformation begins with the store’s façade, now split vertically to lower the visual scale and make the entrance more inviting. A recessed doorway creates a sheltered space, welcoming passersby. This sense of nostalgia and charm is further enhanced by kiddie rides at the entrance, evoking childhood memories.
Inside, a narrow corridor has been repurposed into a gallery-like space, showcasing Déjà Vu’s ethos and the refurbishing process of secondhand goods through a series of gates and openings, adding depth and intrigue.
On the second floor, the recycle book market reveals the site’s 1970s characteristics, especially the magnificent window openings. These have been accentuated with handcrafted recycled natural stone mosaics, framing the outdoor scenery and maximizing natural light. The book-shopping experience is likened to grocery shopping, creating a familiar and enjoyable environment. Natural pine wood and creamy white terrazzo pay homage to Shanghai’s past, further enhancing the nostalgic experience.
The top floor, dedicated to recycled clothing, mirrors the bookstore’s layout but with over 2000 clothing items on display. Here, the design emphasizes openness and accessibility, with round, playful elements from the bookstore reflected in the clothing racks.
A key aspect of Déjà Vu’s design is the extensive use of natural stone offcuts, hand-cut into small mosaics and used throughout the store. This not only demonstrates an environmental commitment but also adds a tangible sense of craftsmanship to the space.
The lighting design, focused on creating a relaxed atmosphere, uses miner lamps to evenly illuminate the space, reinforcing the store’s calm and inviting ambiance.
Drawing inspiration from Kashiwa Sato‘s principles, OFFHAND Practice emphasizes the importance of clarifying and filtering information to capture the essence of Déjà Vu’s brand. The goal was to create a space that resonates with the customer’s expectations of what a Déjà Vu Recycle Store should be.
Déjà Vu Recycle Store Plans
Déjà Vu Recycle Store Image Gallery
About Offhand Practice
OFFHAND PRACTICE, established in 2018 by partners Yuan Yuan and Nie Xuan in Shanghai, China, is an interior architecture design firm known for its versatile portfolio encompassing various project types and scales, including bookstores, multi-brand boutiques, art galleries, pop-up stores, and residences. The practice’s philosophy centers on problem-solving rather than imposing rigid design concepts. They prioritize understanding the intricate connection between space and people, viewing space as an energetic field for interaction and seeking to unlock its inherent potential. This exploration of the interplay between space and human dynamics is a central focus of their design practice, defining their unique approach to interior architecture.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Article via Bowerbird