Room 306, No 140 Tianlin Road, Surpass Space, Shanghai, China
After studying in the UK, Li Xiang founded X+Living in Shanghai in 2011. Alongside their interior design projects for stores, bookshops and hotels, the consultancy has a strong architectural portfolio and Li has also designed numerous collections of furniture under the Xiang Casa brand.
Across disciplines, her style ranges from the playful to the organic, to formal and often quite monumental. There is a definite love of mirrors, which have been used to great effect in several of the bookstores that the consultancy has designed. Mirrored ceilings and reflective floors, play with the interior architecture of the space, increasing the perceived volume, of both the stores, and the number of products on display.
The aforementioned bookstores have been created for Zhongshuge, each one to date has been quite different, with many rooms to explore, quiet spaces to read and large theatres to hold events. They are definitely stores which encourage you to spend time, not leaving without a memento from your visit… like the purchase you make when you’ve been to a museum or a gallery.
Solving the problem of integrating over a hundred brands in a high-street retail space for online retailer Tmall, they created mixed brand spaces designed to appeal to different women and their shopping habits. The result is JOOOS Fitting Rooms where each of the four environments is distinctly different to the next. From the youthful über colourful ranges to the serenity of natural tones of bamboo, to urban greys and delicate, feminine birdcages, subtly alluding to the showiness of the premium ‘Celebrity Collections’
Other projects include the Wheat Youth Arts Hotel and the Ripple Hotel at Qiando Lake, where the design and choice of natural materials, brings the outside in, reflecting the surroundings of the location with a contemporary, yet organic interpretation. We love the cantilevered ‘boat’ reception and the use of oars creating decorative screens.
The consultancy seems to enjoy creating retail spaces with jarring juxtapositions; no gentle transitions which allow the mind to absorb what’s going on, but a visual and mental awakening where the customer finds themselves crossing a threshold into a new world with a whole new set of discoveries to be made.
Without experiencing their stores first hand, it’s difficult to know if you would be so wrapped up in exploring the concept, or if they awaken the mind to experience and explore the products being sold with a new mindset. Perhaps a bit of both, but the wonder of them is certainly exciting.