© atelier xy / Photography: Su Sheng Liang

Originally erected in the 1990s to accommodate Huating Isetan, the most fashionable department store in Shanghai in that era, the building has seen a flurry of occupants since the latter’s closure. But that abruptly changed late last year when, after a thorough redevelopment, the five-storey building reopened as TX Huaihai, a tightly curated mall targeting the city’s young hipster demographic. Since the opening, the venue has become a mecca for Millennial shoppers, drawn by the many forward retail concepts and a rotation of high-profile art showcases across the premises by David Chau, the influential co-founder of the annual ART021 contemporary art fair. It’s here where the very first kükü design shop in the country has nestled, offering a wide range of curated range of design goods. Sharing a 900 sqm. (9,688 sq.ft.) unit with affiliated venture iag gallery, the two entities have been set up by atelier xy, a local architecture practice which also designed the space, and design studio notion common. The kükü store – mind you, the name means ‘to gawk at’ in local slang – is situated on the second floor and shares a juxtaposed entrance with the aforementioned gallery, and forms part of the partition wall demarcating the premises.

The partition wall also embeds semi-circular windows modelled after the rotating doors of the Peace Hotel‘s majestic North Building entrance. Interestingly, the entire shop layout has been shifted 45 degrees on its original axis, with the entrance now directly facing the escalators, to create a more dynamic visual effect. Upon entering through the arched entrance, shoppers are met by a three-metre high storage installation known as ‘alleyway display’ as it intentionally reflects how people once lived in the myriad of little streets of Old Shanghai. The modular installation comprises of metal cabinets, shelving and rods to hang objects, and also features retro neon signs and video screens to heighten the sense of wandering in an urban environment. The installation is interspersed by low display units crafted from contrasting light timber, and is surrounded by a variety of installations to display the wide range of goods. The kükü store carries a curated collection of furniture pieces and homeware by 30 top brands from across the planet, including HAY, Hirota Glass, Muuto, Paper Collective and iittala.

kükü
TX Huaihai, 523 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Second Floor (Huaihai Lu)
200122 Shanghai
Daily 11-10

© atelier xy / Photography: Su Sheng Liang