The firm's recent renovation of Shimao Festival City in Shanghai illustrates this contemporary crossroads, and demonstrates how by expanding malls’ functionality and reconsidering circulation, these sizeable structures can be reabsorbed by the city as useful public spaces of engagement and exchange.
Built in 2006, Shimao Festival City is a modern monument of Shanghai. Comprising retail, hotel and office space, it is located at the top of Shanghai’s famous East Nanjing Road shopping street, with views across nearby People’s Square. But despite its prime location the mall had fast become overlooked by residents in favor of venues more clearly aligned with their contemporary city lifestyle.
Kokaistudios was tasked with upgrading the pre-existing retail component of Shimao Festival City. By reconfiguring circulation both inside and outside the facility, identifying clear pathways according to visitor type, and creating openness and space, since renovations concluded in November 2018, the mall has helped reinvigorate a prime corner of Shanghai real estate. In doing so, it has placed the mall firmly on the radar of both residents as well as tourists, reconnecting it to the city.
Kokaistudios’ design concept is a theater and the renovation centers on visitor flow of three “roles” of users: tourists, audience and actors, with areas of the mall imagined as the foyer, auditorium, and backstage of a theater.
In this way, these large-scale structures can be absorbed back into the useful fabric of urban centers by optimizing and opening-up a formerly overlooked space in the heart of Shanghai for citizens.
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