© All Design Studio / Photography: Yuuuunstudio

With all the draconic restrictions finally lifted, young Chinese consumers are picking up where they left off little over three years ago. While the voracious appetite for fashion hasn’t waned one bit, the local retail scene has taken some time to kick-start and adjust, but a number of interesting new stores have already emerged in the country’s leading cities. In this category falls the bálancing, a retail concept which was initially launched in 2017 by fashion behemoth Bailian Group which targets the fashion-savvy Gen Z demographic with a tightly curated range of high-end brands from home and abroad. The boutique occupies an irregularly shaped, 372 sqm. (4,004 sq.ft.) unit on the second floor of Grand Gateway 66, an upscale complex featuring two soaring residential towers and a shopping centre in the Xujiahui area of Shanghai.

The dimensions of the bálancing‘s newest retail space proved to be quite a challenge, and interestingly, All Design Studio, an architecture and design studio based in Shanghai, turned to the works of Russian abstract painter Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) to create a fitting retail setting. Taking cues from the artist’s Constructivist style, the design moves away from the three-dimensional sense of space and returns to the two-dimensional way to reconstruct spatial balance. Similar to the master’s paintings, points, lines and planes leap into space, giving geometry a three-dimensional expression. This organised disorder is reflected in every aspect of the design, from the triangular window display area and the central display island, to the three-part cashier counter to the circular grid ceiling.

The backdrop of the bálancing boutique is grey and silver, allowing the merchandise on display to pop. Nevertheless, a dash of colour has been infused into the setting, and is featured on an elongated LED screen that’s suspended across the premises, but it’s also captured by furnishings, most notably semi-circular pink sofas. Last but not least, the first thing that shoppers notice when entering the store arguably is the most striking: a colourful sculpture called Fashion Cocoon. As said, the bálancing aims to be a destination for a young and in-the-know clientele, and as such, it’s home to a wide range of top brands from across the planet, such as FenG CHen WANG, Studio Nicholson, Juun.J, MM6, Dion Lee, Toga Archives and Marni.

the bálancing
Grand Gateway 66, 1 Hongqiao Lu, North Tower, Shop 255 (Xujiahui)
200040 Shanghai
Daily 10am-10pm