UNIVERS NUSTAR’ Is a Bold New Take on Retail Design

December 22, 2023

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By 

Chad Rialp

Cebu City recently welcomed the grand opening of UNIVERS at the NUSTAR Resort and Casino on December 17. This latest addition to the city’s luxury landscape is UNIVERS’ fourth store in the Philippines. It’s also its first venture in Cebu, marking a significant milestone for the high-end fashion retailer.

At the heart of this project lies a collaboration between two of the Philippines’ internationally acclaimed talents – Renowned architect Ed Calma and industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue. Their partnership birthed an immersive retail experience in high-end design and aesthetics.

The inside of UNVERS NUSTAR, with fashion items from the world's premier designers on display.

Industrial yet Organic

UNIVERS’ decision to entrust Calma with the design of all four stores reflects the brand’s dedication to distinguished design. This collaboration highlights their commitment to blending fashion with artful architecture, where Calma’s nuanced and thoughtful approach harmonizes with UNIVERS’ vision.

Visually striking from the storefront, the interior design subverts expectations of the retail experience. The store’s focal point is the undulating, woven rattan installation. Its graceful curves elegantly drape across the walls and ceiling, imbuing the place with warmth and organic movement. Enveloping the entire 283-square-meter space, the feature softens the modernity of the space. It subtly delineates different sections of the store, while fostering a sense of intimacy within the open setting.

A Play on Texture and Light

The use of glass as transparent barriers enhances the openness of the area, allowing the intricate rattan work to be appreciated from multiple angles. This thoughtful use of materials, texture, and neutral palette creates a backdrop that draws focus to the products on this display. Lighting also plays a subtle yet critical role. Pinpoint lights dot the ceiling and cast a soft glow that accentuates the rattan’s curves.

This fusion of elements perfectly embodies the radical yet harmonious blend of Calma’s signature pragmatic style and the organic feel of Cobonpue’s innovative use of local materials creating a juxtaposition between striking design elements.

Detail of the laminated rattan installation that envelopes the retail store.
Detail of the laminated rattan installation that envelopes the retail store.
Detail of the laminated rattan installation that envelopes the retail store.

Form, Fashion, Function

The store features a discerning collection of ready-to-wear items from brands like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Common Projects, Fiorucci, and Fred Perry. Other labels on display are Helmut Lang, Maison Kitsune, Moreau Paris, Off-White, PLAY by Commes des Garcons, Thom Browne, VEJA, Victoria Beckham, and Y-3.

A top view of UNIVERS NUSTAR's retail space showcasing fashion items on sale.

Additionally, they offer a curated selection of market goods. These include Astier de Villate candles and colognes, Heeley perfumes, Trudon candles, and Monocle books.

The opening of UNIVERS NUSTAR further cements Cebu’s, and the brand’s, rising stature in high fashion and design. It’s a place that’s as much about the ambiance as it is about the exquisite collections it houses.

Learn more about what UNIVERS has to offer on their website.

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