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© Terrence Zhang


Project Name: Bund Finance Center South Mall Principal Designers: Andrea Destefanis, Filippo Gabbiani Interior Architecture Director: Pietro Peyron Interior Design Director: Rake Wang Interior Design Team: Muyun Zhao, Andrea Antonucci, Chang Liu, Christine Chen, Rebbeca Huang, Jessica Xu, Winnie Chen, Samo Xu, Kasia Gorecka, Marta Pinheiro Service Scope: Interior Design Location: Shanghai, China Floor Area: 91,982sqm (Above Ground: 49,060sqm;Underground: 42,922sqm) Design Duration: Feb, 2016-Jun, 2017 Opening Date: December 12, 2019 Photography: Terrence Zhang Text: Frances Arnold


A major mixed-use development connecting Shanghai’s commercial heart to its old town, Bund Finance Center’s landmark architecture has fast become a Shanghai icon. Called upon to design interiors for the project’s mall, the project marks Kokaistudios a return to the city’s historic Bund, where in 2006 they led the renovation of UNESCO Heritage Award-winning Bund 18.

BFC Mall occupies six storeys of one of the development’s two 180-meter tall towers to the south of the site. With facilities including a gourmet supermarket, gym, and multiple restaurants, all spread across two below-ground levels and four above, visitor circulation was a particular priority. Similarly, and in order to plan for a range of future lifestyle-oriented uses, injecting flexibility was important.

In Shanghai, market trends develop fast, and with impact. Case in point: the rapid rise of e-commerce has triggered significant changes in the role and function of commercial spaces. To that end, and during its construction, BFC Mall’s programming was re-conceived for a lifestyle focus over exclusively retail, with Kokaistudios enlisted to steer the space’s interiors in this new direction.

Working within Foster + Partners’ existing and unfolding physical framework, Kokaistudios’ concept was inspired both by the venue’s prime riverside location at the southern end of Shanghai’s Bund, as well as its two anchor tenants. They are a 3,000sqm fully equipped gym, and expansive children’s and pets’play area. Expanding on both establishments’ inherent connotations of wellbeing, relaxation, and escape, as well as the site’s close proximity to the shoreline of the Huangpu River, the team devised overarching themes of beachside vacations, and above all, water.

In moving away from the mall’s original objective and towards lifestyle, Kokaistudios opened up the space in multiple ways. First, and in close collaboration with Foster + Partners, outward-facing windows were installed to connect the mall to Pudong’s impressive skyline to the east of the development, as well as inwards to a central courtyard. The intervention lends the venue an additional attractive feature - dramatic views - and serves to draw the attention of passing foot traffic. A sunken plaza has been designed in the courtyard to strength the relation with the public space and to bring natural light to B1’s food court area.

Further blurring boundaries between outside and in, and inspired by the inherently inexact shoreline of the Huangpu River beyond, perimeters of tenant spaces are deliberately vague, and without a defined ‘shop front.’ The effect is one of openness, flexibility, and in keeping with a broader water motif that transcends the venue, fluidity.Also, adding open shop areas facing the central courtyard breaking the corridors in a dynamic way and bringing natural light.