Interiors

Sophie Hicks conceals “concrete monster” within translucent walls for Acne Studios’ Seoul flagship

A translucent lightbox hides the concrete interior of Swedish fashion brand Acne Studios' first flagship store in Seoul, designed by London architect Sophie Hicks (+ slideshow).

Located in the affluent district of Gangnam, the 230-square-metre store is the third in the country for the Swedish brand.
Hicks, of S H Architects, drew upon Acne's aversion to typical Swedish culture as a point of inspiration for the design.

"Swedish culture prizes modesty and discretion," said Hicks. "By contrast, Acne Studios' designs are forceful and exude attitude."
From street level the store appears to be a simple and "restrained" structure made from double-layered sheets of polycarbonate, surrounded by vegetation typical of Swedish archipelagos.

Related story: Shanghai fashion showroom features ceiling lightbox based on sci-fi film set"As soon as you enter, you will realise that while it may only have been a box, it was a box concealing a heavy, brooding, concrete monster," Hicks said.

Set over two levels, the rectangular structure is completely separate from its translucent shell, and held up by four pairs of concrete columns – one of which supports a floating spiral-shaped staircase.
"Once upstairs, you will realise that there is something else about this building that is a little bit strange," said Hicks. "As you look down and about, you will notice that the rough, lumpen, concrete structure is entirely separate from the translucent walls that enclose it; that it sits inside its elegant box as if in a display case."

Each concrete surface has been imprinted with the pattern of rough timber often used to build boardwalks in the Stockholm archipelago.
An intentional lack of decoration allows focus to remain on the collection and surrounding space, and garments are subtly displayed against freestanding reflective walls and on thin metal rails.

Furniture and storage within the store includes chairs by British design Max Lamb and drawers designed by the studio themselves. In the fitting rooms, mirrors have been made from screen printed glass sheets
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Clothing is hung from thin rails, while accessories are presented on metal shelves and tables.
Throughout the day, natural light is diffused through the building's walls. When dark outside, fluorescent bulbs that are hidden behind a metal grid illuminate the space.

Pipes and ducts from the air conditioning unit have been strategically piled up on the roof in a streamlined fashion as to not "disturb the atmosphere" of the store.

The Gangnam district has become a popular destination for luxury fashion brands to open their Korean flagship stores. Last year, System Lab designed a concrete-encased store with small circular windows for British designer Paul Smith in the area.
Photography is by Annabel Elston.
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Sneakers are displayed on bleachers in Seattle boutique by Best Practice Architecture

A men's footwear store in Seattle by local firm Best Practice Architecture features exposed concrete and hexagonal lamps suspended from a high ceiling (+ slideshow).

Designed for Likelihood – a retailer specialising in men's fashion footwear – the store is located within a newly constructed building in Capitol Hill, a dense urban district near downtown Seattle.
Encompassing 1,200 square feet (110 square metres), the shop occupies a busy corner that receives ample natural light.

The firm set out to create a relaxed but refined atmosphere that puts the focus on its selection of high-end sneakers and a small selection of watches, bags and clothing.
"Likelihood aspires to elevate the level of footwear and fashion for the discerning Seattle gentleman," said Best Practice Architecture.

"Believing that the shoe shopping experience should feel fun, leisurely and exciting, the design elements are fairly restrained and seek to highlight the product."

The austere, rectilinear space is defined by bright white walls and concrete columns and flooring.

Related story: 30,000 red shoelaces hang from the ceiling of Melbourne's Camper storeThe architects designed and fabricated hexagonal light fixtures that are suspended from the 17-foot-high (five metre) ceiling. Made of powder-coated steel with fluorescent tubes, the chandeliers "add presence and pattern in the tall space," said the firm.

Abundant natural light, which enters through large windows on the west and north walls, further illuminates the boutique.
Mirrors lining one side of the store visually expand the room while also reflecting white neon art on an opposing wall. Created by Canadian artist Kelly Mar, the piece is composed of words that read: "I Called Shotgun Infinity When I was Twelve."

"We loved the irreverence of the piece and that it both disarms the viewer and inspires thoughts of childhood," said the architects. "It was imperative to provide a gallery-like wall that was visible from the exterior, but also to allow it to integrate seamlessly into the product display."
The back portion of the shop features a wall sheathed in a cedar screen, hiding a storage area, as well as a wooden sales counter. A curated collection of shoes is displayed on stepped shelves that resemble stadium-style seating.

"A ziggurat-style shoe display anchors the shop to the south, while the wood screen divides the main space from the back of house and storage mezzanine," said the firm.
Founded in 2011 by Ian Butcher, Best Practice Architecture works on a variety of projects, from residences to large-scale office projects.

Other recent footwear boutiques include a pop-up shop for Spanish footwear company Camper at the Vitra campus in Germany by Burkina Faso architect Diébédo Francis Kere and a Camper store in Milan by Japan's Kengo Kuma.
Photography is by Mark Woods.
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Tsubasa Iwahashi converts a family home into a stripped-back dwelling for empty nesters

The minimal interior of this house in Japan's Hyogo prefecture features a basic palette of white walls and wood surfaces aimed at providing a calm and comfortable environment for its elderly residents.

The interior of the 28-square-metre house for a couple whose children no longer live at home was redesigned by Osaka-based Tsubasa Iwahashi Architects, which has previous completed an office featuring hanging plants and a shed-like meeting room and a three-storey house squeezed onto a four-metre-wide plot in the architect's home city.

Following decades of accommodating a family, the key objective of the refurbishment was to facilitate a simpler way of life for the parents.

"The clients wanted a comfortable space that is suitable to live alone," Iwahashi told Dezeen. "The main intervention was to remove surplus."

Existing partitions that gave the building's interior a cramped feel were removed and the layout altered to create brighter and more open spaces. Pillars that formed part of the original framework were retained to offer a reminder of the house's past.

Related story: Office interior by Tsubasa Iwahashi brings the outside in with hanging baskets and a shedThe house's entrance leads into a small hall providing access to a bedroom and a staircase leading to the upper storey.

An open-plan room accommodating living, dining and kitchen amenities occupies most of the ground floor. Sliding wooden partitions can be used to close off some of the spaces, including a bathroom area behind the kitchen.

A suspended ceiling incorporating lights and an extractor in the kitchen is punctured by an opening that reveals the original rafters, which the architect suggested provides "a symbol of the memory of what has been supporting the house for a long time."

Fitted cabinetry provides the majority of storage throughout the house, while additional custom-made furniture in matching plywood ensures a minimal material palette that enhances the simplicity of the spaces.

A timber column and beam added in the bedroom reference a traditional Japanese tokonoma, an alcove-like space typically used to display valued artworks.

Brass used for details including door handles and the frame of the dining table complements the warm feel of the birch, Douglas fir and oak used throughout the interior.
Photography is by Yoshiro Masuda.
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House in an old Barcelona dairy has new spaces inserted around its original structure

Architects Lluís Corbella and Marc Mazeres have converted a former dairy in Barcelona into a loft-style house featuring a suspended walkway and glass walls (+ slideshow).

The building located in Barcelona's Gracia district was constructed in 1934 and comprised a barn and an adjacent shop selling products made using milk from cows that lived on site.
The dairy ceased activity in 1984 following the introduction of legislation that outlawed the presence of livestock in the inner city, although the shop remained.

The dairy gradually fell into a state of disrepair, until French architect Marc Mazeres purchased it and asked local architect Lluís Corbella to help him fulfil his vision of converting it into a home for his family.

Extensive renovations were required to stabilise the structure, whilst ensuring the original facades and roof could be retained. The interior was completely gutted, but a brick pillar at the centre that supports the roof was kept and restored.

"The preservation of the original features has always been an important part of the new project," Corbella told Dezeen. "We tried to free these elements visually to give them an important presence in the project."

Within the cavernous space created by removing the existing first floor, the architects inserted metal beams and concrete slabs to support new volumes that form a series of interconnected rooms.

"We wanted to turn the building into a family home with three distinct spaces, lots of natural light, large volumes and huge openings," Corbella explained. "The aim was to create one space for the three teenage sons, one for the parents and a third one being the link between parents and children."

Related story: Graux & Baeyens uses curved walls to convert a factory loft into a family homeVoids between the various additions ensure the central area is visually and physically connected to the rest of the house, whilst helping to retain a sense of the building's original proportions.

The brick column and the timber beam that extends from either side of it dominate the main living area, where some of the original ceiling beams were also reused.

Large windows fill the central space with natural light, which is able to reach other parts of the house thanks to the double-height atrium and glazed internal partitions. The ground-floor windows open onto a walled terrace incorporating a small pool and outdoor dining area.

Internal partitions are constructed from brick covered in prefabricated plastered panels, which provide durable surfaces with good acoustic insulation and helped to reduce the on-site construction period.

The interior features numerous items aimed at creating a fun and lively environment for the family's sons. A hanging chair is suspended from one of the wooden ceiling beams and an old pinball machine stands beside the brick pillar.
A table-tennis table is located on a decked roof overlooking the surrounding rooftops, which can be reached by ascending a folded metal staircase.

Other agricultural buildings that have been converted for residential use include an old cattle shed in the Slovenian Alps that is now a two-storey holiday cabin and a barn in England with a loft bedroom accessible from a staircase hidden behind a cupboard door.
Photography is by Lluís Corbella and Eva Cotman.
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Red Bull’s Stockholm office features modular mobile furniture

The new Stockholm office of energy drink company Red Bull incorporates a range of flexible communal spaces, including a reception with a modular desk that can be reconfigured for use as a bar in the evening (+ slideshow).

The interior of the office in the centre of the Swedish capital features details influenced by Red Bull's branding and its focus on adventure, culture, sports and art.
It was designed by local studio PS Arkitektur, which also completed an office with geometric carpet tiles and colourful furniture for communications company Skype.

"Red Bull wanted their product to show in the interior design but in a sophisticated, modern and cool way," architect Julia Falås told Dezeen.

The architects used a palette of blue, black and gold that references the colours found on the company's drink cans, while its logo depicting two charging bulls in front of a yellow sun provided further visual cues.

Leather chairs intended to evoke the bulls combine with round furniture items that recall the circular element of the logo. Rhombus shapes also used on the cans are translated into areas of the patterned carpets.

A key requirement for the interior was to provide flexibility so visiting artists and other guests can be easily accommodated. Furniture that can be moved around and reconfigured is used throughout the offices and the reception area to facilitate different uses of these spaces.

Related story: São Paulo warehouse revamped into Red Bull arts centre by Triptyque"The client asked for a professional workplace with ergonomic work stations, a mix of open landscape work places and some private rooms," explained Falås. "At the same time, they wanted areas where social and spontaneous interaction between colleagues and guests could take place. The office is a mix of these functional requirements."

A custom-made reception desk features hinged and folding sections that enable it to expand or contract depending on the needs of its users.

"Red Bull liked the idea of transformation from a more strict reception desk to a casual bar," Falås added. "It manifests the two parts of the office and company; playful and spontaneous yet very professional."

Circular swings suspended from the ceiling and Thomas Heatherwick's pivoting Spun chairs for Magis provide playful seating in the communal lounge area, while staff also have access to a kitchen, table football and table tennis.

Marble worktops in the kitchen introduce a natural element to the material palette, which contrasts with the industrial look of metal-mesh ceiling panels and the exposed black cords of pendant lights suspended throughout the space.

Black kitchen units decorated with a pattern of diagonal lines continue the rhombus motif that is also applied to partitions around the office space.

In addition to the main offices, a variety of smaller rooms for meetings and phone calls are also incorporated into the design. Breakout spaces encourage informal meetings and provide visiting consultants with temporary places to work.

Quotes from a range of inspirational characters including Red Bull's brand ambassadors are applied to the glass walls of the meeting rooms.

Red Bull's other global offices include one in Amsterdam with cave-like spaces contained behind faceted metal walls. The company also operates an arts space in a converted warehouse in the Brazilian city of São Paulo and turned another warehouse in Madrid into a music academy filled with plants and makeshift huts.
Photography is by Jason Strong.
Project credits:
Design company: pS ArkitekturProject architect: Therese SvallingAssisting Architect(s): Mikael Hassel, Oliver Söderlund, Lina Mezquida ForsnackeLighting design: Beata Denton
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MoreySmith designs new Primark international HQ in Dublin

Recycled shopping bags and clothing labels adorn the walls at budget fashion retailer Primark's international headquarters in Dublin by British studio MoreySmith (+ slideshow).

To create Primark's new headquarters, MoreySmith connected a 20th-century listed building to an adjacent property constructed in the 1990s, with a 13-metre-long timber and steel bridge that crosses a central atrium.
The atrium – which had originally been an external courtyard – includes cafes, a bar, and informal working areas. The space is topped by a glazed roof that brings natural light into the four-floor office, which houses 600 members of Primark's staff.

The office also houses photographic and design studios, a reading room stocked retail-focused reading matter, and a gym with exercise equipment.

Related story: Coca-Cola headquarters by MoreySmith is decorated with vintage memorabilia"We took the best of the vintage and contemporary of both buildings to create a unique central social space, complete with creative studios, meeting rooms vertically stacked, balconies and stairways which form the common architectural language," principal director at MoreySmith, Linda Morey-Burrows, told Dezeen.

A key part of MoreySmith's brief was to create an office that would reflect the values of the brand, and the history and heritage of the site. To this end the building's original brickwork has been exposed by the removal of partitions and suspended ceilings.
"Working with such a fantastic listed building, we really wanted to restore and expose as much of this as possible. The area has such an interesting industrial heritage so we wanted to draw on this," said Morey-Burrows, whose studio has also designed the headquarters for drinks brand Coca-Cola, online fashion brand ASOS and energy drink company Red Bull in London.

"We have really tried to open up the whole space," she added. "So now you can see all the way across from Parnell Street through to the courtyard with views into Mary Street."
Reclaimed scaffolding boards and cast-concrete tiles are used to create flooring, and the office is lit by reclaimed factory lights – all chosen to reference Dublin's industrial heritage.

Large light boxes and felt-covered walls also run throughout the office – intended for fashion buyers to pin new campaigns and textiles – and feature walls have been covered in bespoke wallpaper, as well as recycled shopping bags and Primark labels.
"There is a common architectural language but with unique interior details celebrating Primark's heritage such as bespoke signage and graphics, which were an integral part of the design," said Morey-Burrows. "We have tried to ensure every part of the business looks as vibrant and interesting as the fashion buying and merchandise teams."

Other offices for clothing brands include the OMA-designed Amsterdam offices for G-Star Raw and the west London headquarters of Net-A-Porter by Studiofibre.
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Jonathan Ive’s first Apple Store design unveiled in Brussels

Apple has lifted the veil on the first of its store interiors since Jonathan Ive became chief design officer, at the tech giant's new outpost in the Belgian capital.
Local press has been given a sneak peak at the Apple Store Brussels, which opens tomorrow on Avenue de la Toison d'Or to coincide with the launch of the Apple Watch in Belgium.

A photo posted by Pierre | Kube Real Services (@pierre_kuberealservices) on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:17am PDT

The store's interior is the first to be overseen by British designer Ive, who took full control of the company's design department in May 2015.

Related story: Apple promotes Jonathan Ive to new chief design officer roleHe has continued the use of minimal colour and material palettes found in earlier stores, with the same light-toned walls, wooden benches and glass facades.

A photo posted by Jaspers – Eyers Architects (@jasperseyers) on Sep 18, 2015 at 12:31am PDT

The glass curves around two sides of the corner building, extending to the full double height of the interior. Two sculptural columns break up the glazing.
Light boxes extend the length of the ceiling, similar to those found in Foster + Partner's Apple Store in Hangzhou, China.

A photo posted by Stephanie Zawadzki (@instaddict_girl) on Sep 17, 2015 at 1:08am PDT

Rows of the chunky tables made from sequoia wood present laptops, phones and tablets, while accessories are displayed inside a case that runs along the longest wall.

Related story: Apple launches iPad Pro and "extraordinary" Apple Pencil for technical drawingOn the far wall, a huge screen is also used to showcase the brand's products. Two lines of trees kept in giant white pots add a touch of greenery to the centre of the space.

A photo posted by Stephanie Zawadzki (@instaddict_girl) on Sep 17, 2015 at 1:34am PDT

The store's opening comes a week after Apple launched a range of new and updated products at its annual conference, including a stylus for technical drawing, new versions of the iPhone 6 and an Apple Watch collaboration with Hermès.
In 2013, Apple trademarked the design and layout of its retail stores nine years after the first one opened in Virginia, USA. Its designer Tim Kobe told Dezeen that Apple's retail presence is "not evolving as fast as it could be" and the company's "momentum has slowed down" since founder Steve Jobs died in 2011.
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First Apple Store under Jonathan Ive unveiled in Brussels

Apple has lifted the veil on the first of its store interiors since Jonathan Ive became chief design officer, at the tech giant's new outpost in the Belgian capital designed by Foster & Partners.
Local press has been given a sneak peak at the Apple Store Brussels, which opens tomorrow on Avenue de la Toison d'Or to coincide with the launch of the Apple Watch in Belgium.

It is located within a new building designed by Dutch firm UNStudio and local studio Jaspers-Eyers Architects.

The store's interior is the first to be overseen by British designer Ive, who took full control of the company's design department in May 2015.

Related story: Apple promotes Jonathan Ive to new chief design officer roleThe use of minimal colour and material palettes found in earlier stores is continued, with the same light-toned walls, wooden benches and glass facades.

The glass curves around two sides of the corner building, extending to the full double height of the interior. Two sculptural columns break up the glazing.

Light boxes extend the length of the ceiling, similar to those found in Foster + Partner's Apple Store in Hangzhou, China.

Rows of the chunky tables made from sequoia wood present laptops, phones and tablets, while accessories are displayed inside a case that runs along the longest wall.

Related story: Apple launches iPad Pro and "extraordinary" Apple Pencil for technical drawingOn the far wall, a huge screen is also used to showcase the brand's products. Two lines of trees kept in giant white pots add a touch of greenery to the centre of the space.

The store's opening comes a week after Apple launched a range of new and updated products at its annual conference, including a stylus for technical drawing, new versions of the iPhone 6 and an Apple Watch collaboration with Hermès.

In 2013, Apple trademarked the design and layout of its retail stores nine years after the first one opened in Virginia, USA. Its designer Tim Kobe told Dezeen that Apple's retail presence is "not evolving as fast as it could be" and the company's "momentum has slowed down" since founder Steve Jobs died in 2011.
Photography is by Jeroen Verrecht.
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Hussein Chalayan’s first shop opens in London’s Mayfair

London-based ZCD Architects has designed the interior of the first retail store for fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, who celebrates 21 years in business this year (+ slideshow).

Chalayan's store is located at 2 Bourdon Street in London's Mayfair district and is based on the concept of a "shop within a shop".
ZCD Architects collaborated on the project with Chalayan and his team, whose work has included dresses that emit laser beams to two-in-one outfits that transform with a single tug.

"There is always a strong narrative behind Hussein's work; he tells stories through his collections and other work, which extends over and across many boundaries between fashion, art, architecture and film," ZCD Architects director Zoe Smith told Dezeen.

Related story: David Adjaye completes Roksanda Ilincic's first London boutiqueA black steel rail wraps around the small space, supported by vertical poles and angled along each length.

The frame marks out a central area that is also denoted by triangular white floor tiles, which contrast with the dark flooring around the perimeter.
The rail is used for hanging garments in front of the interior's white walls, as well as mannequins cut off at various heights that sit in front of the window.

"It was important to create a backdrop to the clothes, rather than over-designing the shop," said Smith.
A dark wooden boat-shaped counter sits in the middle of the space, providing a surface for presenting more garments and accessories as well as hidden storage inside.

The boat can also be reconfigured into a dining table that can seat up to 12 people, referencing the theme of transformation often found in Chalayan's collections.
"The space is designed not just as a retail environment but also an event space for shows, talks and performances," said Smith.

Texture is added to the black-and-white space with matting laid between the tiles at the entrance and a rope that binds the waiting bench.
At the back of the shop is a black rectangular counter that provides a cash desk and displays red numbers on its front.

"The digital timer set into the black lacquered cash desk also references some of Hussein's previous work; the timer runs continuously, a reminder of time passing rather than a reminder of what time it is," said Smith.
ZCD Architects has previously worked with Chalayan to create a retail space in Tokyo and design his first solo exhibition at London's Design Museum, as well as concession areas in fashion store Dover Street Market.

"A kind of vocabulary has been developed through previous projects with Hussein over the last 10 years, and certain ingredients have been used again but in different ways," said Smith. "For example the triangular tiled floor and the black pebbles."
On the exterior, the shopfront is painted black and the brand's logo is mounted as white lettering.

The store opened earlier this month and will host a private event during London Fashion Week, which takes place from 18 to 22 September 2015, to celebrate Chalayan's 21 years in business.
The fashion designer was born in Cyprus in 1970 and studied at Central Saint Martins art college, before setting up his own label in 1994. He has previously spoken to Dezeen about his relationship with London and the way the city has influenced his work. He was recently announced as a member of the creative team for ready-to-wear French fashion house Vionnet.

Just around the corner from Chalayan's store, London fashion designer Christopher Kane recently opened his first retail space on Mount Street with a Minimalist interior designed by John Pawson.

International labels are also continuing to build their presence in the UK capital, with Issey Miyake, Alexander Wang and Bally all opening new stores over the past year.
Photography is by Leon Chew.
Project credits:
Fit-out contractor: Bluegroup retailBoat fabricator: Ben Legg joineryCash desk: Ashview joineryLighting: Lightworks ltd
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Mast Brothers designs its own Minimalist chocolate shop in Brooklyn

New York chocolatier Mast Brothers has overhauled its store in Brooklyn to create a stripped-back space that allows visitors to view the chocolate-making process (+ slideshow).

Encompassing 3,000 square feet (280 square metres), the Minimalist-style chocolate shop is located inside a building that once served as a spice factory and today houses various small companies.
The building is located in Williamsburg, a former industrial area that has become one of Brooklyn's most desirable neighbourhoods.

Mast Brothers was founded in 2007 and is well known in New York for its high-quality chocolate bars that come wrapped in distinctive packaging. In addition to bars and confectionery, the company recently began selling non-alcoholic chocolate beer.

The company has occupied its current space since 2011 and wanted to update the store to better reflect its brand. It also wanted the space to visually echo a store the company opened in London's Shoreditch neighbourhood earlier this year.
Both projects were conceived by the company's in-house design team.

The New York project entailed simplifying the retail area and roasting space. "Most of the renovation project was about reduction and flow," said the design team.

Related story: Nendo presents chocolate bars like paint swatches in Tokyo shopExposed brick walls were painted white, and concrete floors were resurfaced. Burlap bags of cocoa beans line a wall in the linear space.

The team fabricated seven new display cubes made of wood-fibre panels that were imported from Portugal.
"We chose this material to match the look and feel of our black chocolate boxes," said the team. "We finished these surfaces with a special black wax that gives a very deep, matte appearance."

The team extended the retail space so customers can easily walk up to the refining room and view the chocolate making process. The space includes equipment such as stone grinders, which are used to grind down cocoa beans.
The team brought in three small stainless steel brewing tanks, as well as a draft system for the new chocolate beverage.

"The beer is brewed in-house with freshly roasted cacao, cane sugar and water before being carbonated with nitrogen," explained the company. "The result is a non-alcoholic, lightly sweetened and refreshingly delicious beer with a creamy head."
In addition to the new store, the company has opened a "chocolate laboratory". Also located in Williamsburg, the space is "dedicated to experimentation and innovation, where the team will continue to research, test and develop new chocolates, recipes and products." It also serves as an event space.

Other projects for confections include a shop in Tokyo by Nendo, in which colourful chocolate bars are displayed in clear drawers, and a Wonderwall-designed Godiva store in Harajuku, Japan, where melted chocolate appears to drip down the walls.
Photography is by Dean Kaufman.
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