Wepublic arose out of Boyner Group’s interest in creating a department store that fit the free and dynamic corporate identity of the Akmerkez Shopping Center. YOO Architecture operated as the general contractor for 9 months as this 4-storey, 8,000 m² construction went through the planning and construction process. YOO Architecture was responsible for all heavy steel construction and fabrication as well as design solutions, and also supplied all furniture and other materials. YOO Architecture helped coordination between all store-within-a-store brands, the shopping center, all companies associated with construction, and 3 separate design groups.
Wepublic was formed around an urban concept based on the city of Istanbul using pop-up retail spaces, 80 stores-within-a-store made up of almost 500 domestic and international brands with terraces, iconic design pieces and workshop locations. It all took 3 distinctive design teams and 3 different material boards. As a result, we had to handle a great deal of materials. While some of these materials were imported from abroad, many of them were produced under our oversight in Turkey due to the time it takes to supply from abroad. We worked on long-term research and development for the ground floor, the walls and the furniture. We began production after receiving approval on the samples. Our previous global experience enabled us to reach satisfactory conclusions with our designers, brands and business partners in a short period of time.
Wepublic has a different spatial feel than a typical shopping center, as well as its own unique content, which is what sets it apart. The conceptual structure, main entrance gates and atrium areas were designed by GAD to attract guests from the areas around. We knew that the implementation of its flowing form design was always going to be difficult. We quickly evaluated the environmental factors and adapted the project to its draft within a short period of time. We studied similar projects from all over the world and decided to produce many of the materials domestically to save time. We worked hard on research and development. We presented the final forms by modeling the doors over a 3-dimensional survey. Following that, we finished production drawings. We split up the model, taking into account the size of the CNC machine. The parts we produced were made of fiberglass. Before we took the pieces to the site, we built them on a structure made of the proper dimensions for quality control purposes. Finally, we installed it in place and sought material in the proper colors to give it the desired metallic effect. We presented the option to cover it in wrap film to both the designers and our business partners, taking budgetary issues into consideration. Within a short period of time following approval, we realized our dream of implementing this design for the first time in Turkey.
The concept of continuity was achieved using arches that were fluid, interlocking and pulled in from the outside. We used different molds for each arch, each one a different type and size. We divided the parts we'd produced in 3D and obtained the molds using the CNC. We poured the molds into plaster and added the ARC automated LEDs, which are also located on the doors.
We also designed the slope concept that connects the 4th floor with the ground in the store, and produced the pieces abroad for the look we wanted. After about 4 days of work, we connected the pieces with a crane and fit them to be compatible with the fluid concept.
We designed the scaffolding in the atrium area that is central to both Akmerkez and Wepublic, and an elevator up to the ceiling. The scaffolding which connects the 3rd floor to the ground with brand colors allowed us to solve the problem of excess products. We developed a lift system to be used on special days and for events, and thus provided an incredibly practical decorative element for the atrium.
We were in charge of making sure that there were no problems during construction because Wepublic was not separated from the shopping center with sharp-set borders and doors. We provided a rational and aesthetic detail to the store and its relationship with the overall environment without disturbing Akmerkez's customers or creating any extra pollution. This enabled both sides to get through this process efficiently and without any problems.
By discovering new means of production, by searching for a variety of different materials, and through research and development we delivered the 360 service Wepublic with a solution-focused understanding in a timely and efficient manner. We are delighted to have placed our stamp on Wepublic, which carries with it both the city and is itself a timeless world. This project will be discussed for much time to come and inspire many more.