shenzhen: 10. café opening

© cm design / photography: chao zhang

either known as one of china's first special economic zones or as a bland cross-border suburb of hong kong, the city of shenzhen has come into its own in recent years. the small fishing village has morphed into a global hi-tech and finance powerhouse with almost twelve million inhabitants, a number that now far exceeds that of the former british crown colony. meanwhile, this boomtown remains in full transformation, contributing to its stature as one the most affluent cities nationwide. given the aforementioned current circumstances, it isn't surprising shenzhen has spawned an urban fabric full of modern lifestyle concepts, and that's exactly where the newly opened 10. café fits right in.

situated in the grid of alleyways in xinzhou, a heavily populated neighbourhood near the border with hong kong, it's an establishment that embodies the ongoing buzz here. the café occupies a corner unit of only 45 sqm. [484 sq.ft.] set across two floors, and is designed by chinese practice cm design, featuring two striking yet different façades dipped in a bright blue to make it stand out from the surrounding buildings. one side features the entrance, a fully stocked service station with seating arrangement, and a vertical louvered upper façade, whereas around the corner, a cut-out exposes a spiral staircase that connects the two floors is shown.

and while the aesthetic of 10. café is pretty bold on the outside, there's a subtle edge to be discovered indoors. as a firm nod to the immediate surrounds and its culture, the walls depict a rendition of the neighbourhood map with its maze of alleyways. this may sound cheesy, but it's brilliantly – and dare we say, also in a playful way – captured by three-dimensional paneling with cut-outs showing the shell's original bare bricks, and a mozaic of small blue tiles. the mezzanine floor may be compact, it's also designed to be versatile, allowing the owners to easily convert it into a gallery or event space. location: xinnan jie, xinzhou nancun [xinzhou].

© cm design / photography: chao zhang