Intelligent arrangement “We shape our clothing and it shapes us.” This statement, with its many levels of meaning, is the philosophy behind the Carlo Pazolini Flagship Stores. Situated in the Italian city of Milan, the shop presents exclusive shoes and accessories on 386 square metres of floor space. The shape of an infant’s foot is an ever-present icon in the store’s design concept, appearing in the form of the displays as well as in the design of the seating. The adaptability of an infant foot’s network of bones and tendons also serves as a model for the display “cell” network. Seen in this way, the cell becomes a metaphor for growth and adaptation, highlighting the way footwear helps form the human foot over time. In a variety of colours, this language creates a binding visual “network”. The fluid arrangement of these cell-like elements throughout the store permits a simultaneous homogeneity and heterogeneity. This “fluid network” is based on the representation of “swarm intelligence” as displayed by fish or insects. Following a certain algorithm, systems such as schools of fish always arrange themselves in a particular pattern. However, the cellular structures that are part of the design concept of the store should not be thought of as static, but rather as a model for continuous flow. Individual cell structures are repeatedly recreated and establish an ambiguous link between an object and the space around it, much like the ambiguous distinction between our bodies, the things we wear, and the buildings and cities we inhabit.

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