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AJ exclusive: Shanghai shop fronts by Will Alsop, Moxon and Studio Weave unveiled

Installations by architects including Robin Lee, Dexter Moren, Erect, Aberrant, Studio Glowacka and Nicholas Kirk Architects exclusively revealed

Supported by the British Council and Chinese property developer Shui On Land, the RIBA London-commissioned project paired nine UK architects with retailers inside Shanghai’s Xintiandi shopping centre.

Robin Lee Architecture teamed with French fashion brand Agnes b to create a ‘brick-cityscape’ referencing the brand’s international background while Dexter Moren Associates worked with Japanese home furnishing store Franc Franc to create a giant Mikado game.

Erect Architecture wrapped South Korean lifestyle fashion retailer Haniiy’s store in a weaver’s loom and Will Alsop and Scott Lawrie’s All Design created a life size, moving artwork for a concept store by JJ Lin called SMUDGE.

Elsewhere, Moxon Architects created a tubular landscape and a ‘flock’ of triangular panels which punch through the façade of Chinese fashion brand JNBY + Croquis’ shop.

High-end Chinese designer brand Nisiss was paired with Studio Glowacka which designed an ‘intricate’ display structure to suspend products.

Aberrant architecture developed an interactive racetrack for the MF Art+ concept store and Nicholas Kirk Architects constructed a tree-like canopy from plastic cable ties for Taiwanese clothing brand Stay Real.

The shopping centre’s owner, Shui On Development meanwhile worked with Studio Weave to create a pavilion featuring gold chain curtains on its south block piazza.

Based on the RIBA’s Regent Street Windows project which has run for the past three years, the schemes are part of a six month-long UK Now festival which aims to showcase British arts and creative industries in China.

RIBA London Region director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘It’s fantastic that the RIBA and British Council are able to unleash British architectural creativity on such a scale in a Chinese retail environment.

‘Not only is this cultural project helping the nine architecture practices gain brand awareness in China, we’re also raising the profile of British architecture and British design in general – making it easier for other practices to benefit in this rapidly-growing country. There’s huge potential here.’

Vicky Richardson, British Council architecture director added: ‘RIBA’s Regent Street windows project is a really imaginative way of getting the public excited about architecture. We’re delighted to be able to take the approach to China so that British architects have the challenge of working in the context of a fast-growing and changing city.’

An exhibition showcasing 28 RIBA Award-winning London buildings was also launched in the shopping centre.

Thomson said: ‘We want to use this exhibition in Shanghai to capitalise on the huge interest in British architecture following the Olympics and introduce the best new London architecture to an audience of style-conscious Chinese consumers and clients.’

The exhibition continues until 11 October 2012.


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