People standing in a dark room with Michael Phelps of angled digital surfaces

Client Project

Taking Under Armour into New Territory


Under Armour


With a desire to expand its global footprint into Asia in the most impactful way, Under Armour approached us to create a retail concept in Shanghai that invited visitors to experience the biggest, boldest expression of the brand’s ethos–and barely sell a thing.


Explode into the Chinese market with an immersive brand destination that transcends cultural barriers and differences by being rooted in high impact, sensorial effects. Explore unorthodox uses of visual and sonic media, digital technology, and minimalist merchandising to focus on brand storytelling with a universal appeal.
Exterior design of retail brand experience, of an angular, polygonal red surface and the Under Armour logo
Image of a person enjoying a dynamic screen displaying a pair of running shoes, next to an image of a sleek, white hallway to a black entrance
Audience Impact
# Avg Daily Visitors
Spatial Impact
Square Footage
4000 Sq Ft
Global Impact
Company Size
17,500 FTEs
An angular and dynamic ceiling-to-floor screen that displays two athletes playing a team sport

Capturing the Ethos of the Brand Through Contrast

We created a bold, contrasting space in Shanghai’s luxury shopping location which leveraged behavioral science principles to encourage specific reactions from customers.

Unlike the luxury retail stores around it, the facade sets up the idea of exclusivity and mystery to pique people’s interest and invite them to investigate the unknown within. Visitors then moved through a tunnel of bright light and sonic effects. As shoppers progressed, their motion triggered a flip to complete darkness, allowing them to recognize the only remaining light in the space - the statuesque form of Michael Phelps and intense, 270-degree video loops and spatialized audio featuring athletes in the perpetual motions of training.

A runner on a snowy night, taken from behind
A close-up of two athletes on a face-off at a hockey game
For reference only, credit: Under Armour
Conceptual render of the exterior design of the retail experience

Owning the Sensory Shock Effect

Together with the client, we defined the values of the Under Armour brand that were most important to express viscerally through digital storytelling and formal architectural moves (compression, expansion, explosivity, etc.) With great intention, we developed a one-of-a-kind retail experience that embodied the elements and ingredients of theater - part intriguing mystery, part suspenseful entertainment, and part participatory show.
Render of hallway with red silhouetted people
Render of person looking at angular screen that takes up an entire wall
Diagram of retail space and activation area
Illustration of runners on a snowy and windy day
Exploration of light used to create typography, with red lines making up the words " I will"
An animation exploring lines, speed and transitions, from a moon to a monument in Shanghai
Close-up of exterior red wall of brand experience, with Under Armour logo

Shifting Brand Perception With Retail as Experience

The retail experience was a big bet, precipitated by the bold vision of Kevin Plank and his stakeholders. It proved to be a huge success, attracting thousands of visitors, high value social shares (driven by a parallel social/PR campaign tie-in) and tremendous publicity all over the region and beyond. The store launch set the foundation for a massive retail rollout in major Chinese cities for the next decade.
Individual looking at activated screen of brand experience, from the back
Image of white, sleek hallway that leads to a black entrance
Person watching a video of a runner on an dynamic, angular screen
A group of silhouetted people approaching angular screens that showcase famous athletes
An athlete showcased on a kaleidoscope-like screen
A person standing against the animated wall which shows repeated orange lines
Close-up of two soccer athletes and the crowd behind on the large horizontal screen
Close-up of two athletes competing on a field on the horizontal screen
A group of people watching the screen intensely
Image of the entrance experience of the branded space, with the Under Armour logo on the left on a plaque