Located in the heart of Shanghai, Shui On Xintiandi Plaza was transformed and officially opened in 2019. UNStudio was tasked with remodelling the facade and interior, bringing a second life to the old department store that carries the city’s memories. The renovated Xintiandi Plaza now provides a leisure and social destination for fashion trendsetters with a combination of dining, retail and art exhibition themed spaces.
▼项目视频，video © Terrence Zhang
Built in 1995, Shui On Xintiandi Plaza is adjacent to the Xintiandi area and functions as a gateway to the city. Formerly known as the Pacific Department Store, it has been in operation for 20 years and has witnessed a historical period of vigorous commercial development in Shanghai. Over time however, the department store began to display a number of shortcomings, such as an inadequate connection to its surroundings, an inflexible interior layout and an uninviting facade. This, coupled with the enclosed space of the mall interior and outdated brands, eventually led to a decrease in customers and commercial value. The mall was no longer able to meet the diverse consumption, experience and social needs of the younger generations, in particular those of Gen-Z.
▼蜕变后的新天地广场，Transformed Xintiandi Plaza © Terrence Zhang
In 2017, UNStudio was commissioned by the owner of Shui On Land to initiate a renovation strategy that would transform the dated and enclosed department store into an open and lively vertical urban centre; a modern social venue that could function as a contemporary entrance gate to the bustling Xintiandi area. Remodeling and retrofitting is one of the most sustainable ways to enhance the urban environment in high-density cities in Asia, especially in areas where space is limited and therefore extremely expensive. As a result, in recent years the central policymakers in China have gradually been initiating new economic ways to redevelop existing urban areas.
▼淮海路视角，view from Huaihai Rd. (M) © Terrence Zhang
Design conditions and orientation
Shui On Xintiandi Plaza is a good example of an urban regeneration project. Urban regeneration is a complex and evolutionary process. It requires thorough study and understanding of the problems presented, the finding of innovative solutions and the application of a methodological and economically feasible design approach. Urban regeneration projects necessitate a contextual understanding of the history and culture of the building and its location. They must also enhance the quality of the urban fabric, improve how the building functions and upgrade the offering to the end users. Furthermore, environmental and sustainable considerations are paramount for future-proofing the building. Successful urban regeneration therefore requires a flexible and holistic transformation that integrates social, economic, environmental and cultural facets and must always be designed around the actual needs of the people who will use them.
▼项目建成后，built Xintiandi Plaza © Terrence Zhang
With a building surface of 28,000 square meters, the goal of the remodelling of Shui On Xintiandi Plaza was to improve the commercial environment and the quality of the retail experience through rational facade renovation and spatial layout, without demolishing the original building. In addition, the retrofit should upgrade the image of the area and the city, as well as drive consumption and stimulate sustainable economic development. Due to its unique location and carrying the collective memory of the Shanghainese people, the remodelling not only created a multi-format commercial mall that combines shopping, strolling, eating, gathering and relaxing, it also incorporated formal references to the city’s cultural Shikumen and Shanghai’s patron flower, Magnolia, allowing these elements to run through the interior and exterior. This resulted in enabling a transition and fusion of the international high-end fashion street Huai Hai Road and the traditional small-scale Shikumen architecture lifestyle and F&B area.
▼一层平面图，First Floor Plan © UNStudio
UNStudio transformed the old department store into a social destination with a new transparent facade and restructured interior, while also reimagining the surrounding public space. Areas to socialize were placed in key positions within the building’s envelope and are visible from the street, allowing passersby a glimpse at the activities taking place within, as well as blurring the boundaries between outside and in.
▼室外空中露台一隅，Terraces © Terrence Zhang
Elements from these public spaces are mixed within the building’s lifestyle retail features and are filtered throughout. Mimicking what would be a leisurely stroll outside, this organisation encourages visitors to wander through the space and explore its different levels, where retail facilities follow an open layout and are punctuated by small kiosks.
▼中庭，Central atrium © Terrence Zhang
Cultural and Contemporary facade
The design’s materiality focuses on terracotta, which was inspired by the local Shikumen brick used across Xintiandi. The metallic finish of the terracotta tiles complements the Huai Hai Road, which is known for featuring high-end, luxury brands. The design also uses unique production techniques that ensure that the tiles form a strong and durable facade material.
▼赤陶土砖立面，Terracotta tiles façade © Terrence Zhang
A large area of the terracotta tiling on the facade also features glass cladding. This materiality creates a rhythm where a curved structure serves to blend the exterior and interior. The floor-to-ceiling glass allows views of Xintiandi, blending a rich cultural heritage with a modern commercial atmosphere. As such, the design concept increases the connection between Xintiandi Plaza and the community as a whole.
▼落地玻璃窗，Floor-to-ceiling glass © UNStudio
Xintiandi Plaza is designed to be an open, welcoming and inclusive community centre for the broader public. Therefore, transparency is an important design facet to openly display what is taking place inside and inviting visitors into the space. This transparency also introduces daylight to enhance the atmosphere of the interior space.
▼地铁站口与商场的联结，a glimpse from metro entrance © UNStudio
The concept for the remodel of the interior space also focuses on visual unity, clear circulation and orientation. With the magnolia flower as a motif, the building is reimagined throughout. The ‘Magnolia Pillar’ Colum in the atrium, which extends upwards to the top floor, links different levels and functional spaces, creating a sense of connection. ‘Flower columns’ are the central design feature of the mall and create a visual connection between the differing levels and spaces of the interior.
▼入口大厅，entrance © Terrence Zhang
▼拾级而上连接各楼层的“白玉兰花柱”，‘Flower columns’ connected different levels © Terrence Zhang
The staggered levels of platforms allow for a wide range of commercial activities to be seen at a glance, and can also be used in conjunction with online and offline business models to form a platform with interactive experiences to meet the needs of the Gen-Z consumer group. Additionally, all platforms, terraces and outdoor spaces feature biophilic elements in order to create a new green urban landscape within this vertical city centre concept.
▼白玉兰花设计元素及错落有致的退台，‘Flower columns’ and staggered levels of platforms © Terrence Zhang
▼白玉兰花的几何示意图，Diagram-geometry of magnolia flower © UNStudio
Escalators define the central void which organises the vertical circulation and orientation of the mall. It also creates view lines across the different levels and facilitates an unobstructed view from the ground floor up to the skylight. A spiraling handrail act as a natural wayfinding element, further connecting the voids and different routes. A sunken plaza connects directly to an entrance to the metro outside as well as the shopping centre, increasing the commercial value of the ground floor. The flow of people throughout the mall is also facilitated by these numerous access points.
▼中庭电梯有效引导人流，Escalators define the central void © Terrence Zhang
From the semi-public space in the sunken plaza, to the terraces and roof garden, to the atria, all of the spaces serve as placemaking elements, to further stimulate social and interactive activities. The enlargement of the atrium and arrangement of lounge seating in the public areas, as well as the design of the rooftop gardens, emphasise the interior as human-centric space that serves the community. Alongside well-planned landscaping, our design further creates a comfortable and healthy spatial environment for all.
▼下沉广场及其通往商场的入口，Sunken plaza and the entrance © Terrence Zhang
UNStudio合伙人Hannes Pfau 说道：“改造后的新天地广场不仅是购物圣地，也是时尚潮流人士的社交休闲目的地。项目实现了从典型的百货到垂直城市中心布局的蜕变，为购物、休闲、聚会、社交提供了完美场所。我们希望改造后的新天地广场符合未来人群消费习惯、可以提升最终用户的生活品质、并且实现改善商业环境和城市环境的目标。”
Hannes Pfau, Partner UNStudio: “Instead of creating a shopping destination only, the new Xintiandi Plaza is designed to be a lifestyle destination for Shanghai’s local and international young professionals. Xintiandi Plaza steps away from the typical mall and towards a vertical city centre layout that provides opportunities for shopping, strolling, eating, gathering and relaxing. We hope Xintiandi Plaza will fulfill consumption habits of next generations and enhance the quality of life, and ultimately achieve the goal of improving the commercial and urban environment. ”
历经2年的改造设计和建造，UNStudio与多个专业团队合作，最终于2019年完成了这个上海市中心TOD传统百货的全面升级，激活城市中心的商业氛围与多元化。在项目全面投入使用后，我们很欣慰地看到新天地广场受到年轻人的青睐，以及众多时尚品牌的入住。此外，瑞安新天地广场接连斩获多个建筑大奖，包括2020 年地产设计大奖建筑类金奖、2019 ICSC中国购物中心及零售商大奖金奖、2019 第五届地产设计大奖优秀奖等等。
During the two years of remodelling, UNStudio collaborated with several companies to complete this upgrade of the Xintiandi retail centre from traditional department store to an important TOD project that also brings a commercial atmosphere and diversity to the heart of Shanghai. The project is now fully operational, and UNStudio is pleased with the popularity of Xintiandi Plaza among young professionals and the numerous fashion brands that have set up shop in the building. Furthermore, our design for Lane 189 Shopping Centre has won various prestigious awards in the industry, including the China Real Estate & Design Award (CREDAWARD) in 2020 for Public Building Gold Award; ICSC China Shopping Centre & Retailer Awards in 2019 for Gold Award; China Real Estate Design Award (CREDAWARD) for Merit Award.
▼屋顶花园，Roof gardens © Terrence Zhang
UNStudio设计团队: Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau with Guomin Lin, Tamim Salah EI Negm, Alexander Schramm, Haram Hong, Ana Castaingts Gomez, Alan Kim, Benedict Horsman, Gang Liu, Sheenam Mujoo, Yizhou Wang, Craig Yan, Juan Molina Morales, Yuze Liu, Haruka Tomoeda, Bomin Park
灯光设计: ag licht / LEOX
景观设计: TianHua landscape
Project name: Xintiandi Plaza
Location: Shanghai, China
Client: Shui On Land
Programme: Retail Shopping Mall
Type：Facade and Interior Design
UNStudio Design Team: Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau with Guomin Lin, Tamim Salah EI Negm, Alexander Schramm, Haram Hong, Ana Castaingts Gomez, Alan Kim, Benedict Horsman, Gang Liu, Sheenam Mujoo, Yizhou Wang, Craig Yan, Juan Molina Morales, Yuze Liu, Haruka Tomoeda, Bomin Park
Local Design Institute: Tianhua
Lighting: ag licht / LEOX
Landscape: TianHua landscape
Interior Design shop drawings: DPDI
Duration of Design: 2017-2019
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