Present Past

02 december 2013 / international design scene / words adele chong

Designed by Kengo Kuma, the arresting interiors of Shang Xia’s new Paris boutique call to mind the Chinese brand’s marriage of traditional practices with modern-day innovation.

 

 

Having found success with its Shanghai and Beijing-based flagships, upscale Chinese lifestyle brand Shang Xia is now aiming for a similarly favorable outcome in Europe as well with the recent debut of its Kengo Kuma -designed boutique in Paris. As with the brand’s last two boutiques, the interiors of its first overseas store, which house Shang Xia’s discerningly crafted collection of housewares, clothing and jewelry, feature traditional Chinese motifs that purposefully correspond with Shang Xia’s emphasis on Chinese cultural products and designs that spark a dialogue between the past and the present. (The brand’s name does bespeak this ethos, translating as “up” and “down” in Chinese.)

 

 

Poised against minimalist surrounds that have long become Kuma’s signature, the refined inclusion of Impressionist elements clearly nod to the store’s French context, creating the feeling of a light, evanescent space. The incorporation of six thousand ceramic panels across the walls and ceiling is also evocative of the Japanese architect’s previous interior work for the brand, which drew inspiration from the intricate brickwork of Beijing’s historical hutongs. Contrasting the weighty format associated with this reference, white fabric scrims line the walls, alleviating any feeling of visual severity that might arise from a predominantly pared-down aesthetic. Shelves and display islands fashioned with a corresponding aesthetic remain unobtrusive features that complement rather than overwhelm the wares on offer. Finally, natural wood floors throughout come as an apt finishing touch, as do the floor-to-ceiling picture windows that bathe the entire space in softly diffused daylight.

 

 

Product: Bridge Tea Set

Designer: Shang Xia

 

 

Evocative of bamboo’s natural maturation process, this tri-toned tea set features a handcrafted weave that serves as a protective sheath from heat as well as a means of keeping the contents warm. As per its moniker, the set was created with connectivity in mind, establishing affable bonds between fellow tea drinkers.

 

 

Product: Sculpture Clothing

Designer: Shang Xia

 

 

Melding the format of traditional Han Dynasty garments with Mongolian hand-felting techniques, painstakingly crafted cashmere specimens from the Sculpture fashion range are essentially works of art that, according to the brand, happen to be as comforting as a “hug on a winter’s day.”

 

Product: Da Tian Di Low Table

Designer: Shang Xia

Rendered in rich walnut, the Da Tian Di low table presents a modern take on the ancient tea ceremony ritual. Contained in a discrete compartment beneath the sliding tabletop, ceremonial implements can seamlessly be handled without disrupting the sacred proceedings.

 

shang-xia.com

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