For a better understanding and to complete all those elements linked to the brand experience that influence the buying process, we will count with the collaboration of experts that will introduce concepts that will improve our business development, from different disciplines and points of view. Today we are pleased to introduce a text of Joyce Chen, architectural & interior designer.
Shopping has been part of the major urban lifestyle in Shanghai. China has one of the most lucrative and rapidly growing retail markets in the world. Better living standards have shifted people’s focus from satisfying basic needs to pursuing a higher quality of life, creating significant opportunities in the retail market. China’s household spending on clothing, healthcare, transportation, and telecom services has been more than doubled in the past 10 years. These changes indicate that Chinese households have more cash available for discretionary spending than they did a decade ago.
The transformation of the urban development of the city not only transforms the retail market. It also changes the shopping habits of the local consumer from visiting traditional markets and street vendors to international luxury brand shops, contemporary retail precincts, and shopping malls.
First chapter – Transition from traditional district to trendy shopping precinct
A decade ago, while I was still an undergraduate student at the School of Architecture, University of Auckland, New Zealand, by conducting self-directed research about the architecture and culture of Shanghai, I took the chance to fly to Shanghai to witness the undergoing transformation of the city. I remembered wondering around the historical neighborhood and chatting with the elderly men and women to gain information about their living neighborhood and lifestyle. Many of them lived in the neighborhood with traditional Shanghainese architectural style combining Western and Chinese elements that first appeared in the 1860s. This type of neighborhood is called the ‘Shikumens lilong’ residence. It is a group of houses connected by the lanes. ‘Shikumen’ means stone arch. ’Shikumen’ residences are two- or three-story structures resembling Western terrace houses or townhouses, distinguished by high brick walls enclosing a narrow front yard. Many ‘Shikumens’ residences have been demolished due to modern city development over the last 20 years. In 2011, I returned to Shanghai for work reasons; I noticed only a few ‘Shikumens’ residences survived as residential neighborhoods. Many ‘Shikumens’ were controversially renovated to become service apartments, boutique hotels, restaurants and to other commercial uses. Some were extensively reconstructed and redeveloped into commercial & retail districts.
Case Study 1 :
Xintiandi was one of the first urban renewal projects and it started in 1997. The project used the concept of “ Yesterday meets tomorrow in Shanghai today” and involved converting an original ‘Shikumen’ residential neighborhood into a commercial and retail precinct. ‘Shikumen’ houses were a relic of Shanghai’s fascinating history, but over the years have sadly deteriorated due to lack of maintenance. In order to restore the original heritage appearance of the ‘Shikumen’ , many buildings were reconstructed based on the old design. It is pleasant to see that the original bricks and tiles were preserved. The stone-arch door frames and windows that remained formed a part of the main entrance doors and window display for the new tenancies in the retail precinct.
Xintiandi was divided into the North and the South blocks. The North Block was developed into an outdoor retail precinct. The restoration of ‘Shikumen’ buildings with their modern interior design play host to a dazzling array of restaurants specializing in international cuisine, putting on display the full international dimension of Xintiandi. The South Block was developed into a contemporary shopping centre providing an indoor shopping experience with entertainment and leisure complex of 25,000 square meters in the South Block opened in mid-2002. International restaurants, boutique fashion & accessories shops, a foodcourt, a movie cinema, a fitness centre, as well as a luxurious service apartments were all part of the South Block’s mix-use development. A metro station was right beneath the shopping centre. Similar to the architectural design of the outdoor retail precinct in the North block of Xintiandi, a combination of East and West, old and new, has been expressed clearly in the interior space of the shopping mall. The elements of ‘Shikumen’ style could be seen in the shopfronts and atrium edge cladding design. Apart from the international fashion brands, Asian designer brands can also be seen in the mall. The aim of the mall is to provide a platform to nurture Chinese designers and allow them to communicate with world-class international designers.
Xintiandi has provided arts, cultural & leisure activities throughout the year. In the outdoor area between the North and South Blocks, there were weekend flee markets where we could see vendors setting up their stalls and selling arts & craft goods. The precinct has also hosted Shanghai Fashion week, inviting international designers as well as local designers to promote their latest fashion design. Arts festivals were also promoted throughout the year. Exhibitions could be seen in the shopping mall area as well as in some of the old ‘Shikumen’ renovating buildings in the North block.
Xintiandi has been one of the most successful examples of restoration of the heritage buildings and conversion of a neighborhood into a shopping precinct. It became the best place for visitors to appreciate the history and modern life of Shanghai. It is also a meeting place for local citizens and foreign visitors.
Case Study 2:
A decade ago, while visiting Shanghai, I was full of curiosity and wondering around the famous Xiangyang ‘fake’ market bargaining with the shop owners from the stalls. As China is the world’s factory, they produce real stuff so they can produce fake ones easily. People generally go to the ‘fake’ market to look for cheap knock offs.
The Xiangyang ‘fake’ market was located in a prime location with all kinds of potential development opportunities. Just 5 years after my first visit to Shanghai, the site was then bought and taken over by the Hong Kong developers – Sun Hung Kai Properties. The entire precinct was designed by Benoy, the world-renowned architectural firm for shopping centres. Benoy undertook the full scope of work for this prestigious development, including the Masterplanning, Architecture, Interior Architecture, Wayfinding and Graphics. In 2013, the 110,000sqm retail precinct iAPM Shanghai was born. It was a prestigious retail podium, a key feature of the Shanghai ICC mixed-use development and also the city’s first late night shopping precinct. The shopping mall stayed open until late at night to suit the local late-night lifestyle. An IMAX cinema, gourmet dining, a lifestyle supermarket and diverse promotions events and activities within the shopping mall offer a unique shopping experience.
iAPM was located at the intersection of two of the busiest roads in Shanghai, Huai Hai Road and Shengxi Road. An interchange metro stationwas located right below the development. The first two floors of the shopping mall were a high-end haven. With regards to storefront design, all of the major flagship fashion retailers seemed to be competing with their neighboring retailers. Major flagship fashion retailers include Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, Hugo Boss, which are located in the main corner entrances and face Huai Hai road. In order to capture customers’ attention at such a busy junction, all corner shops have put their best effort on their branding and shop design. Producing striking double height shop fronts, the design gracefully showcases luxury flagship retail within the setback facade space. In retail zoning, level 1 and level 2 were the main levels with all luxury fashion brands. However, one smart way in this retail zoning is having the Apple flagship store, the only non-fashion store, located in the prime spot of the shopping mall, facing the centre of the atria in the retail podium where most events and activities would be held. The Apple store has taken two levels, having the large clear glass facing the busy Huai Hai road. Double height shopfront showcases the display of the Apple products as well as the interaction between the customers and the products and the interaction between the staff and the customers. When major events happen, for example, the launch of Apple 6, a large crowd queuing up in front of the Apple store makes quite a scene. While the adjacent luxury fashion stores aren’t usually busy during the weekdays, the Apple store has always been the busiest retail flagship store at iAPM that attracts a flow of people to walk into the centre of the mall.
The Piazza in the retail podium:
“A piazza is an open public square in Italy, usually surrounded by buildings. The Italian piazza is the center of public life…….. A piazza is commonly found at the meeting of two or more streets. Most Italian cities have several piazzas with streets radiating from the center. Shops and other small businesses are found on piazzas as it is an ideal place to set up a business. Many metro stations and bus stops are found on piazzas as they are key point in a city” – extracted from Wikipedia.
I described the ground level of the atria space in iAPM as the piazza of the entire ICC mixed-use development. The interior space has been planned around the striking six-level retail spine, within interior atria creating strategically located multi-purpose event spaces. With a large multi-media LED wall facing the centre space of the atria, it showcases fashion shows, promotions, festival events, sport events, and so on. I remember that during the FIFA World Cup 2014, the multi-media wall broadcast the World Cup games and it brought the World Cup fever to iAPM attracting people to the ‘piazza’ to celebrate the World Cup. The atria has created such a warm environment, incorporating interior finish materials with warm natural stone, timber, glass and metal finish. The atria is also surrounded by major retail shops with F&B (Food & Beverage) tenancies at level 4 & level 5. Providing a good circulation planning, at every entry & exit of the main escalators of each level, there is F&B (Food & Beverage) functional retail. Eye-catching glass dining ‘boxes’ protrude from interior spaces. The ground floor of the atria became a meeting place, a centre of multi-purpose space, just like a ‘piazza’.
It is incredible to think that just a few years ago, this was the site of the famous Xiangyang ‘fake’ market, where tourists would go to look for cheap knock offs, and now all that’s on offer is genuine luxury labels with prices to match. iAPM mall proves to be a luxury one-stop shop, with an endless list of fashion’s biggest names all taking, including Stella McCartney, the two Alexanders – McQueen, Prada, Gucci, Michael Kors, etc. Nowadays, iAPM is one of the most visited shopping malls in Shanghai.
Both the Xintiandi retail precinct and iAPM mall are located in the interchange stations of Shanghai Metro Lines. They are both located at the prime locations of the shopping district in Shanghai. Both shopping precincts experienced transitional periods, changing from traditional residential neighborhoods into retail precincts without losing the original heritage elements. From a ‘fake’ market with cheap and knock offs goods turning into a trendy shopping centre with genuine luxury brands. The two retail examples significantly show the big transformation of Shanghai’s economy as well as the transformation of the quality of people’s lifestyle , from focusing on satisfying basic needs to pursuing a higher quality of life and higher quality of goods.
十年前，那時我還是就讀於紐西蘭的奧克蘭大學建築學院的一年級學生。 因對中國近幾年的都市發展充滿好奇，抱著研究建築和文化的理由，飛往上海，見證這個城市的轉變。記得當時花很多時間遊蕩在充滿歷史文化的街道，脖上掛著單眼相機，手拿速寫本， 與當地老一輩的居民聊天，得以理解他們在鄰里間的生活方式。他們之中，許多人生活在傳統的上海建築風格的住宅，此住宅中西合璧，最早出現在19世紀60年代。這種類型的住宅鄰里被稱為 – 石庫門弄堂，從傳統的江南居民建築式樣和英國傳統排屋建築式樣融合演變出來。“石庫門”的門是由石材所製，即由石材箍住的門，故而是石箍門，而在之後的流傳中，石箍門就漸漸演變了石庫門了。
“石庫門”住宅分成兩層或三層的結構，類似於西方排屋或聯排別墅。高磚牆包圍出一狹窄的前院。過去的20年，因現代城市的發展，許多“石庫門”建築已被拆除。 2011年，我重返上海工作; 注意到只有幾個“石庫門”的住宅倖存保留。 許多“石庫門”被「強勢」裝修成為服務式公寓、精品酒店、餐館和其他商業用途。 有些“石庫門”區則進行了廣泛的重建，改建為商業和購物區。
十年前，我充滿了好奇，到上海著名的仿冒品市場-‘ 襄陽市場’ ，觀看客戶和攤位老闆如何討價還價。由於世界各大品牌設工廠在中國，使他們能夠輕鬆製作仿冒品。這也成了吸引人們去仿冒品市場，尋找廉價品的原因。
‘襄陽市場’位於黃金地段，擁有各類潛在的發展機會。五年前，該地由香港開發商 – 新鴻基地產買下。整個區由貝諾—世界知名的建築事務所接手。貝諾的設計包括整個上海淮貿(ICC) 混合用途發展綜合體的總體規劃，涵蓋建築、室內設計和標誌。此綜合體包括商業大樓、商業裙樓、零售區、旅館式公寓和交通地鐵轉運站。 2013年， 11萬平方米的iapm在上海誕生了，這是一個著名的商業裙樓，上海淮貿(ICC) 混合用途發展的一個重要特徵，也是全市第一個深夜購物區。商場營業至深夜，以適應當地的生活習慣。商場內的IMAX影院、美食餐飲、生活型態的超市和多樣化的促銷活動提供了一個獨特的購物體驗。地下層連接主要的三線地鐵轉運站，將上海環貿廣場升級成為一座以交通為主導的繁忙發展項目。
iapm位於上海兩個最繁忙的道路: 淮海中路和陝西南路的交叉口。 地鐵轉運站位於地下層。商場的第一層和第二層是以高端零售店面為主打。至於店面設計，所有主要的主打時裝零售商似乎在與他們相鄰的零售商競爭。主要主打時裝零售商包括Prada、Miu Miu、Gucci、Hugo Boss…..等國際品牌，分別位於主入口的角落和面對淮海路。為了抓住客戶的注意力，在這樣繁忙的交通路口，所有主要角落的商店用盡他們最大的努力，將他們的品牌和店鋪設計以醒目的雙層高度店面，優雅的設計展現在其旗艦零售店。
在零售區域劃分，商場的第一層和第二層樓是所有奢侈時尚品牌的主要樓層。然而，在商場的第一層零售區卻安排了唯一的非時裝商店 – ‘蘋果旗艦店’ ，位於購物中心的黃金地段，面朝充滿活動和人潮的裙樓中庭的中心。蘋果商店擁有雙層的店面，大片的透明玻璃面臨繁忙的淮海路。雙層高度店面不僅展示了蘋果產品的展示，也展示出客戶和產品之間，以及工作人員和客戶之間的交互活動。當特別活動發生，例如，蘋果手機推出iPhone 6，一大群人在面對淮海路的蘋果店門口排隊，而相鄰的豪華時裝商店也許不繁忙，當蘋果店處於最繁忙時，同時也吸引顧客走進商場的中心。
＂廣場—在傳統城市中是一個廣闊、平坦的露天空間，主要用途是讓民眾聚集。 一個開放的公共廣場在意大利，通常由建築包圍。意大利廣場是公共生活的中心……一個廣場是在兩個或多個街道的匯聚點。大多數意大利城市有幾個露天廣場，街道從中心放射分佈。商店和其他小型企業都在廣場上發現的，因為它是建立企業的理想場所。許多地鐵站和巴士站也能在廣場邊發現，因為它們是一個城市的主要據點 ＂– 以上維基百科提取。
令人難以置信的是僅僅近幾年迅速的轉變，原本是遊客會去尋找廉價品的著名的襄陽仿冒品市場，現在一切轉變成只提供真正奢侈品牌的大型商場。 iapm商場被證明是一個豪華奢侈品牌的聚集商場，包括Stella McCartney, the two Alexanders – McQueen, Prada, Gucci, Michael Kors等等。如今，iapm是上海最吸引人潮聚集的商場之一。