ILO Living is a Chinese design and lifestyle brand named after its mission. ILO, in fact, means “joy” in Finnish, and through its stores the brand aims to promote the Nordic idea of beauty and happiness, an idea that is in the details and manifested through the little things, through the gestures of everyday life. This is well explained in ILO Living recently opened in ShanghaiDesigned by Yatofu Designswho collaborated in creating a brand identity and an exhibition space you might call inclusive.
‘Reverse the void’: This was the designers’ intention from the start, when they found themselves redesigning a decidedly unhappy place. In the volumes that now host the shop, in fact, there was once a dark and cavernous hideout. So how can creators breathe new life into space? How can they bring Scandinavian light and harmony back into these rough concrete walls. First, they decided to adopt a palette of warm and natural materials combined with bold and vibrant hues, giving an immediate sense of cheerful vibrancy in contrast to the previous cold and dark.
Before entering the real showroom, visitors pass through a dramatic entrance in tracolours, which serves as a gateway to the store’s bright and cheery interiors. Here, the environment is punctuated by large square wooden shelves painted bright yellow. Continuing, they come to an additional back room, where the wood is left natural, invoking a more relaxed mood.
A delicate cement floor of soft mint green, also present in some of the furnishings, runs across the entire space, giving it uniformity. Meanwhile, adding the finishing touch are the sculptural shapes of brushed aluminum, movable sections that offset the hard features of the shelves with their smooth lines.
As one might imagine, none of these interventions affected the pre-existing structure, which was radically altered without the need for invasive solutions. The entire philosophy of the brand stems from the originality of the project, its open and free spirit, which leaves behind the dark memory of the place to search for its own concept of happiness.