Do shoppers dream of electric sheep? SKP launches futuristic Beijing department store

Chinese department store SKP has launched what could be the world’s most futuristic (and bizarre) ‘retail experience space’ in South Beijing.

Customers will find robotic sheep, martians and kinetic penguins and a Mars-themed cafe as they explore the retail space, which launched its new upscale store in collaboration with LVMH majority-owned eyewear brand Gentle Monster.

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Upon entering, visitors are greeted by Gentle Monster’s Future Farm installation where robotic sheep move and breathe in a lifelike manner.

With SKP reportedly repositioning itself from a mall into a luxury department store similar to the likes of London’s Selfridges, experiential retail was likely to be a key part of its strategy at the opening of SKP-S.

On the first floor, shoppers will find a Beauty of the Future store themed around the “unprecedented aesthetic trends of Mars”.

SKP’s Skincare Zone displays objects and plants representing the beauty of Mars while the Bar and Salon in the Makeup Zone, features constantly changing content, helping create what a spokesperson speaking to Inside Retail Asia called “an active and engaging cosmetic experience” for customers.

Up on the second floor Xu Zhen’s sculptures and Daniel Rozin’s kinetic penguins interact within an “artificial landscape of the future”. Further into the second floor, a fashion retail store examines so-called Martian History.

Meanwhile Gentle Monster’s 21st global flagship store has opened on the third floor of SKP. Its space is themed around “an imagination of a new humankind traveling through a wormhole between Mars and Earth”.

The Mars Cafe is a collaboration by so-called dessert director Nudake and Gentle Monster, presents artistic desserts combining fashion and art.

Expanding on SKP-S’s ambitious scope, a statement on Gentle Monster’s website explains:

“With Gentle Monster taking the creative lead, SKP-S represents a new attempt of an experience driven space, designed under the narrative of a “Digital-Analog Future”. The concept was born from the curiosity of “What lies in the future, and what will future humans value and pursue”.

“Gentle Monster reenacts our vision and version of the answer to this question through a theatrical space experience. The space illustrates a moment far in the future, showcasing a digitally evolved environment and species of humankind, while also capturing a sense of nostalgia.”

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