THE DEPARTMENT OF PLEASURE
by Akmaral Khassen
This project explores the complex relationship between the female body image and the retail industry. The project proposes an alternative department store which shifts the focus from unattainable standards of beauty to the necessities of pleasure, comfort and acceptance. As a tool, the proposal uses the Second Body - an over-sexualised amalgamation of a women, a consumer in her own right - as the base and motif, a muse from which extends an ornamental language that explores the normalization of all body types. With the recent closure of the Topshop flagman store in the North Eastern wing of the Oxford Circus, the project overtakes parasitically the commonly known “Consumerist Mecca”, a destination for womxn across the entire country and world. The almost religious significance of Oxford Street amongst consumers pushes the architecture to re-think the Classical forms of the existing Neoclassical building through gentle interventions. The programme of the 90,000 sq ft building seeks to create a flexible environment generating spaces of interaction and intimacy, elevating the sustainable fashion experience through overwhelming tactile and visual experiences. One of the key features of the project is its event-oriented markets which respond to the changing climate of the High Street environment.