A retail destination with artistic ambitions has arrived in Shanghai, China.
16 July, 2013
Adrian Cheng, the 33-year-old scion of the New World Development empire founded by Hong Kong property tycoon Cheng Yu-tung, has been busy in the last few years with a novel project to bring art into malls.
Called “K11”, the first mall in Hong Kong is already up and running in Tsim Sha Tsui, while the second recently celebrated its grand opening in Shanghai’s central shopping street, Huai Hai Lu.
Housed within the podium levels of the landmark New World Tower, the K11 Art Mall Shanghai project spans 35,000sqm, and has been designed by Kokaistudios with considerations to the brand’s core values – Art, People and Nature.
The renovation of the podium facade conjugates opposite and conflictive needs for conservation and innovation: the respect for Huai Hai Lu’s historical heritage and the New World Tower’s original design for visibility of tenants.
A 280sqm free-form glass skylight at the centre of the outdoor courtyard gives visitors access to the atrium below ground. Special software had to be used in the design and construction of the custom-made mullions, with each node uniquely shaped and individually cast for maximum transparency.
The circulation within K11 has been radically reconfigured into a seamless, imaginative sequence of experiences and places, a “journey of imagination” that spirals around the central outdoor courtyard. Public spaces are interwoven with art displays, and high-tech features softened by natural elements. Private art galleries are organised around an event space in basement 3, and are integrated with the permanent collection owned by K11 as well as the displays around the mall. The result is a dense program of activities, lectures, design competitions and exhibitions that are all designed to foster active participation from visitors.
Nature is brought into the building via extensive vertical garden areas, which also collect rainwater to be re-used in other areas of the project, including the building’s cooling systems. Also housed within K11 is an urban farming facility, which can be viewed from the surrounding food and beverage outlets located on the third and fourth floor.
In addition to the skylight, which visually connects the levels above and below ground, the outdoor courtyard also features a nine-floor high man-made waterfall, the tallest of its kind in Asia. This runs on an automatic inductor system where the water consumption is optimised depending on climatic conditions.
In good weather, visitors can enjoy the view of the central courtyard from the balconies on the upper floor galleries. During the day, natural light reaches the innermost parts of basement atrium through the skylight, while at dusk, artificial light from below ground illuminates the floors above.
More K11 stores following the same ‘retail meets art concept’ are being planned in locations across China.
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