In Brief

The digital-native pet brand remade an old Shanghai slaughterhouse into an experiential retail store and playground for stray cats and dogs, featuring a feline-inspired aesthetic that houses the brand's merchandise

The debut standalone store from pet products brand Pidan might at first be mistaken for an homage installation to sculptor Richard Serra or a parallel universe inhabited by technologically savvy cats. Pidan, founded in Paris in 2015, is a brand built around well designed products for cats and dogs. Just a year after launching, Pidan’s minimalist igloo cat litter box won a Red Dot Design Award.

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Opening in late 2018, Pidan’s first store is located in China in a repurposed building complex that formerly served as a slaughterhouse, but is now a culture and creative industry hub. The store interiors were designed by IFSE Space Creative Lab, who aimed to turn the dark history of the space relating to animal treatment into a place that supports animal care and wellbeing.

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The main feature of the interior is a series of curved perforated metal walls called the “Animal Back” that divides the shallow space. The walls serve a few different purposes: First, they give the space a distinctive character. Their silhouette was meant to reference the curved spines of cats as they move, while their layout of the walls was inspired by the footstep pattern left by cats. The walls curve around circular spaces that represent a paw print.

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The gaps and perforations (there are around 480,000) in the walls allow for glimpses into other areas of the store. Even though the interior is narrow, the curved walls combined with mirrored panels make it appear bigger and encourage people to explore and see the entire store.

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Lastly, shelving can be pegged into the perforations on the walls, giving almost infinite display options for Pidan’s products. The strong shape of the walls don’t make the interior look less interesting without products and the functional aspect means display density can be increased as more products get introduced.

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The above photos include some roaming cats and they aren’t just there for the photoshoot. One initiative that’s part of the Pidan store is to care for and facilitate finding homes for stray cats and dogs. Adjacent to the entrance is a fresh water supply that strays can access anytime. The interior was design to be animal friendly and includes passageways through the walls meant for cats or small dogs to explore.

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From one perspective, Pidan’s first store has a distinctly brutalist character, being constructed of just metal, glass and concrete. However the store does show a confidence in exploring new design territory, a trait also reflected in the brand’s products.

The store design approach has a lot in common with what Aesop has been doing for years with cosmetics. Pidan’s founder Ma Wenfei is quoted in a profile on Brandstar.com describing the unconventional way the store design came about: “We never thought about what kind of store we should open. Or to characterize Pidan from your own perspective, we simply want to express what space people and animals should have. So such stores are essentially exploring and trying to create something new.”

Pidan

The debut standalone store from pet products brand Pidan might at first be mistaken for an homage installation to sculptor Richard Serra or a parallel universe inhabited by technologically savvy cats. Pidan, founded in Paris in 2015, is a brand built around well designed products for cats and dogs. Just a year after launching, Pidan’s minimalist igloo cat litter box won a Red Dot Design Award.

Opening in late 2018, Pidan’s first store is located in China in a repurposed building complex that formerly served as a slaughterhouse, but is now a culture and creative industry hub. The store interiors were designed by IFSE Space Creative Lab, who aimed to turn the dark history of the space relating to animal treatment into a place that supports animal care and wellbeing.