When Guobin Yang’s design team came back with proposals for a retro interior for his new shop Polyphony, he had something a little different in mind. Despite selling products that stir up feelings of nostalgia, Yang wanted to make the experience of browsing for comics and records feel modern.
The Topwin Center shop focuses on selling American comics and the store’s crisp white backdrop lets the bright pages of Batman, Deadpool and Dr Strange (from 38RMB) do all the talking. The arrival of Polyphony in Beijing highlights a larger trend across China: comics are quickly gaining popularity. The country just hosted its third ComicCon after all, Yang points out. And while the titles are all American, his customer-base shows a different trend than Western markets: teenage girls are his main shoppers.
Visitors are welcome to hang out in the shop and browse Polyphony’s comics database of titles, all loaded up on iPads. It’s not all high-tech though, for those seeking a more tactile experience, original titles including Spiderman and X Men are also for sale (50-150RMB).
With a coffee bar and soundproof listening booths, Polyphony is also a great place to spend time listening to records. With a membership (which we’re told simply means following the shop’s official WeChat – it’s free) visitors can access the private rooms and listen to anything from classical to jazz.
By Ellen Schaft