In the space of an old cold-storage building in Rio's downtown is the new AquaRio, Rio de Janeiro's Aquarium (Aquário Marinho do Rio de Janeiro). The aquarium opened in November 9th and will offer swimming with sharks and night events for children in 2017.
Designed by Kube Arquitetura
Photography by Talitha Soares
AquaRio's gift shop has 420sqm and was designed by Kube Arquitetura. It's a walkthrough store - all of the daily four thousand visitors will go through the store in their way out and check all of the adorable souvenirs they are selling.
For this project, Kube was inspired by the only information they had: a humpback whale's skeleton is hang in Aquarium’s entrance hall and its best view is from inside the store.
That being said, the store’s main displays were inspired by the organic curves of the whale's ribs, giving the space a flowing and light movement, and also allowing a flexibility in the mix of products. The "rib" displays allow the products to be revealed little by little, creating levels of intimacy while they walk around. The blue in the beginning of the store makes the visitors want to dive in that space.
The irregular and natural floor uses white pebble, carefully thought to make people slow down and enjoy every single corner of the store. A colorful and bright panel resembles the sea as the visitors walk in, while wood boards make you feel like you are at a pier.
At the end of the tunnel, the store becomes more organic and fluid, monocromatic and open, as visitors discover and see for the first the whale's skeleton through the glass. A ramp allows people to take pictures and kids to reach higher shelves.
The fitting rooms were inspired by a sea shellfish called Nautilus. The walls are covered with a sandy texture that resembles the sand found in a beach.
Instead of fitting rooms, shells. Instead of paint in the walls, sand. Instead of a plain floor, pebbles. By creating a rich atmosphere in sensory spurs surrounding the visitor, the store becomes a place that can be felt without being noticed. A one and only engaging experience while visiting AquaRio.