With a rich history of Shikumens, elaborate gardens, and vibrant street life behind the glamour, no place captures Shanghai’s dual essence better than Xintiandi. It challenges the cookie-cutter mold by reimagining the romance of street life with a modern city context. But even upscale landmarks need updating, so when client Shui On decided to renovate the whole mall, we took the opportunity to have a space intervention.
Our task was to redesign the central atrium of Xintiandi Shanghai. How to create a lively indoor plaza able to interact with people, to make a ‘place’ more than just a shopping atrium?
Riffing from Xintiandi’s inherent hybrid design, we decided to bring the outdoors in. The first floor draws the outside with its outdoor paving and green seating islands. This flow strengthens the atrium and creates a more defined vertical space. A giant ‘trellis’ on the higher floors and public walkways overgrown with lush plants frames the atrium and focalizes the building. The vertical mullions also establish a rhythm, with the skin’s added complexity providing more depth of views.
Outdoor space flows through the building, with light and plants and trees. Seating islands offer the possibility to linger and enjoy the welcoming, hybrid space. Sixteen carefully arranged carpets help cultivate a cozy garden vibe.
The atrium is no longer just a passage but a place, truly a ‘plaza,’ an immersive garden that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor; a beautiful, unexpected sanctuary at the heart of Xintiandi’s buzz.