This Friday (21 September) British Architects will be transforming Shanghai’s landmark shopping centre with a collection of stunning new architectural shop window installations for a range of top international fashion brands.
British Architects working in China are usually recognised for creating vast iconic structures like Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House and Foster+Partners’ Beijing Airport.
But the latest exhibition by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), British Council and Chinese property developer Shui On Land aims to show a different side to British architecture.
For the past three years, the RIBA’s Regent Street Windows project has been transforming some of Regent Street’s best-know retailers with stunning architect-designed windows displays. The project brings an artistic and cultural side to the retail experience.
The British Council are now helping to take the concept to China, where some of London’s most innovative architects have been commissioned to turn regular shop windows into an architectural extravaganza. The initiative forms part of the six-month long UK Now festival, the biggest ever showcase of British arts and creative industries to be held in China.
In total nine installations will be unveiled by RIBA President Angela Brady on 21 September in Shanghai Xintiandi.
Franc Franc, the Japanese home furnishing store, are having their Shanghai shop windows transformed by architects Dexter Moren Associates. The practice will create giant Mikado game-sticks framing the outside of the store.
Meanwhile Robin Lee Architecture will transform French fashion brand Agnes b.’s shop front by developing a brick-cityscape recalling the brand’s international roots.
Tamsie Thomson, Director of the RIBA’s London Region, said: 'It’s fantastic that the RIBA and British Council are able to unleash British architectural creativity on such a scale in a Chinese retail environment.'
'Not only is this cultural project helping the nine architecture practices gain brand awareness in China, we’re also raising the profile of British architecture and British design in general – making it easier for other practices to benefit in this rapidly-growing country. There’s huge potential here.'
Vicky Richardson, Director Architecture, Design, Fashion, at the British Council said:
'RIBA’s Regent Street windows project is a really imaginative way of getting the public excited about architecture. We’re delighted to be able to take the approach to China so that British architects have the challenge of working in the context of a fast-growing and changing city.'
The exhibition continues until 11 October 2012.
Other architects and retailers working on the Shanghai Shop Windows project include:
Haniiy, the South Korean-based lifestyle fashion store, will have their shop front wrapped in a weaver’s loom by Erect Architecture ltd.
Will Alsop’s new practice, All Design, will blur the boundaries between art, architecture and retail with a life size artwork of paint and moving parts for SMUDGE, the fashion concept by JJ Lin (a highly successful singer/composer, producer, and actor in Asia)
JNBY + Croquis, two Chinese fashion brands, are having their combined store transformed by Moxon Architects with a tubular landscape and a ‘flock’ of triangular panels which punch through the shop facade.
An interactive racetrack will be created by Aberrant architecture for the windows of MF Art+, the avant-garde concept store.
Studio Glowacka are transforming the windows of Nisiss, the high-end Chinese designer brand, with an intricate display structure from which products will be suspended.
Nicholas Kirk Architects will construct a tree canopy made from thousands of plastic cable ties for Stay Real, the Taiwanese clothing and accessories brand created by singer Ashin from rock band Mayday.
Finally, Studio Weave is working with Shui On Development Ltd, the owners of the Shanghai Xintiandi, to create a stunning pavilion with sweeping curtains of gold chains for the south block piazza of Shanghai Xintiand.