With a rich history of Shikumens, elaborate gardens, and vibrant street life behind the glamour, no place captures Shanghai's dual essence better than Xintiandi. It challenges the cookie-cutter mold by reimagining the romance of street life with a modern city context. But even upscale landmarks need updating, so when AIM Architecture's client, Shui On, decided to renovate the whole mall, they took the opportunity to have a space intervention.
Reimagined Xintiandi Atrium By AIM Architecture
AIM Architecture's task was to redesign the central atrium of Xintiandi Shanghai. But how to create a lively indoor plaza able to interact with people, to make a 'place' more than just a shopping atrium?
Their first move was to open up a skylight that had been partially covered over. Now, natural light filters through the reimagined atrium from all angles. The wooden structures that were installed around the three floors of galleries that surround the atrium don't only enhance the feeling of standing in the middle of an oasis, but they also serve as a support structure for large planting boxes, which are filled with lush and beautiful plants that give off a tropical vibe.
Bringing the Outdoors Inside
Rifting from Xintiandi's inherent hybrid design, AIM Architecture decided to bring the outdoors in. The first floor draws the outside in with its outdoor paving and green seating islands. This flow strengthens the atrium and creates a more defined vertical space.
A giant 'trellis' on the higher floors and public walkways overgrown with lush plants frames the atrium and focalizes the building. The vertical mullions also establish a rhythm, with the skin's added complexity providing more depth of views.
A Beautiful Unexpected Sanctuary
The outdoor pace flows through the building, with light and plants, and trees. Seating islands offer the possibility to linger and enjoy the welcoming, hybrid space. Sixteen carefully arranged carpets help cultivate a cozy garden vibe and tie all the elements together.
The atrium of the Xintiandi's shopping mall is no longer just a passage, but a place, truly a 'plaza', an immersive garden that blurs the line between outdoor and indoor; a beautiful unexpected sanctuary at the heart of Xintiandi's buzz. For more information about this project and to see more of their work, visit AIM Architecture's website or follow them on Instagram.