earlier this year, south korean eyewear brand GENTLE MONSTER opened the doors of haus shanghai, its largest store to date. encompassing more than a commercial experience, the space delivers a provocative cultural approach by blending retail, exhibition and experimentation into the concept. 


showcasing a surrealist and futuristic vibe, the brand has become famous for their eerie and somehow enchanting robots that unexpectedly occupy their retail spaces. built completely by themselves, the robots not only surprise visitors, but complement the brand’s vision. 

GENTLE MONSTER discusses the giant, a 2-meter-high uncanny face robot




dubbed the giant, a two-meter-high head robot caught our attention when we first reported on haus shanghai. the uncanny robotic face occupies the third floor of the retail space, expanding on the giant who arrived at the bird village theme. knowing that storytelling is precious to GENTLE MONSTER, we went ahead and contacted the brand to get an insider’s look at the process behind their robotic creations and what the brand aims to achieve with them.


read our interview below, where GENTLE MONSTER expands on their vision of the future.

GENTLE MONSTER discusses the giant, a 2-meter-high uncanny face robot




DESIGNBOOM (DB):  gentle monster is known for its conceptual stores that blur the line between retail and art space. moving installations, surreal sculptures and lots of robots stimulate the discovery of the space which follows that of the products. who is behind this?


GENTLE MONSTER (GM): gentle monster currently has more than 100 in-house artists who specialize in spatial art, including architecture, interior design, sculpture, media art, engineering, pottery, robotics, and kinetic art, which is highly unusual for a fashion brand. the collaboration between artists of many different backgrounds is what allows gentle monster to achieve its unique vision.


gentle monster goes beyond just designing stores by creating tangible things that did not exist in the offline world. through these projects, we aim to provide emotionally stirring experiences to our customers.



DB: each gentle monster store depicts a theme, and for haus shanghai, the theme was ‘the giant who arrived at the bird village’. could you please explain this further?


GM: the haus project demonstrates gentle monster’s perspective on the future of retail which defies existing notions of commercial space. haus shanghai’s third floor includes a lounge, product service center, optometrist, and exhibition space along with a counter area. to differentiate the area from a traditional and functional commercial space, we aimed to provide customers with a special experience through a humorous concept. rather than a lounge with simple chairs and tables, we designed a three-story space, imagining “what if a giant unintentionally lands in a bird’s village?”

GENTLE MONSTER discusses the giant, a 2-meter-high uncanny face robot


DB: ‘the giant’, a massive hyper-realistic robotic face on the third floor, is said to depict this theme. sterile and somehow emotionless, the moving sculpture stares at the space cautiously. who was this robot modeled after and what do you want visitors to experience when seeing it? 



GM: the giant’s face is not modeled after a specific person but rather an imaginary 3d entity. we hope that our customers experience the concept of “weird beauty” that gentle monster hopes to deliver. one of our primary goals is to constantly stimulate and surprise consumers by placing images and emotions that aren’t prevalent in everyday life throughout haus shanghai, including the uncanny robotic face.



DB: it took gentle monster’s robotics lab a year of research to create ‘the giant’. could they guide us through this process?


GM: we spent over a year creating the giant robot, developing the calm, static, and mysterious expression that penetrates to the core of human nature. in order to perfect the giant’s believable yet unfamiliar movement and appearance, months of research was conducted on mechanical and visual designs. we studied various ways that motion could be expressed, such as the control of the head turns and the speed of blinking eyes. visually, we explored a multitude of features and colors that best suits our giant. there was great difficulty in creating a hyper-realistic human face, especially when the face is enlarged to be two meters in height. the highlight of the project was the collaborative effort from numerous professionals who worked on each level of development to ensure our vision is fulfilled.

GENTLE MONSTER discusses the giant, a 2-meter-high uncanny face robot


DB: robots continue to become more and more autonomous, and responsive to new situations. what is this robot face supposed to do? is it multi-tasking? is there a human/robot interaction/collaboration planned?


we create all our robots, artwork, and installations with the intention to express human nature and emotions. while the functional and interactive roles of robots are important factors, the main reason why we create robots is to communicate with our customers about the relationship between humans and our vision of the future of mankind.



DB: robots at gentle monster’s stores question human and post-human states. what is gentle monster’s idea of the future?


GM:rather than settling on one definite future, gentle monster wants to constantly question and reimagine the future together with our customers. we hope to introduce a new version of the future during the upcoming year.