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Shanghai Xintiandi: Gorgeous Turnaround of Shikumen

Shanghai Xintiandi, adjoining with the prosperous Middle Huaihai Road, is the living room of the city, the cozy relaxation place for burdensome life, and also the window of viewing the world and the local, as well as looking back and ahead.


Old Shanghai Stone Gate Style
In the Xintiandi Square, at No. 2, 181 Lane, Taicang Road, is an old building.
This two-floor stone gate building was founded in 1925. Today, after eighty years, this old building looks like almost unchanged. In the old building, the old furnishings are kept still-dark wooden stairs, windowsills, chairs and desks. It seems like stepping into Eileen Chang’s novel: at a restaurant in the episode, turning around, you could almost see Manzhen in cheongsam and Shijun coming hand in hand; here, when several kinds of Shanghai cuisine with plenty of oil and sauce were served, the old Shanghai flavor would emit out instantly. Shanghai cuisine, rich in aquatic products, was formed almost the same time when the city’s skyline was established. In 1894, the first Shanghai cuisine restaurant was built as soon as the city became prosperous. The mash-up process of Shanghai cuisine is continued in Xintiandi where delicacies from everywhere gather and blend. However, no matter where the food comes from, it inherits the fine style just like Shanghai cuisine and environment.
Xintiandi Square used to be the place where residents came to fetch water, while this building, used to be the boiler room of the lane.
When Walking in Xintiandi and looking out, you can see the arch lane of the Stone Gate surrounded by brick walls; looking back, you can almost see some flower-carved railings on the old balcony of the old gatehouse. It seems that you stood in the old lane of Shanghai in the 1930s, viewing the look of old Shanghai unintentionally; old nostalgic atmosphere is mixed with dynamic fashion elements and the wonderful feeling would linger in the heart of every visitor.
When talking about Xintiandi, people always recall the time-honored Stone Gate buildings first. In Shanghai, a building that takes slabs of stones as the doorframe is called “Stone Gate”. This kind of buildings has already existed in Shanghai for over a century. Most of these buildings were built in the British and French concessions at that time. A century later, the Stone Gate buildings became the residential houses of ordinary people, which were viewed as “Shanghai traditional residences”. At the end of last century, many Stone Gate buildings were demolished, while the house for the First National Congress of the CPC and its neighboring 30,000-square-meter old houses were preserved through reconstruction during the renovation project of Taiping Lake. In fact, Xintiandi is based on Shanghai-style culture, the combination of those in the West and the East as well as in the old and new days, which integrates the features of traditional Stone Gate lanes and new modern buildings.
More and more people come to Xintiandi. They are addicted to the dense sense of history brought by the old houses; meanwhile, they are affected by the fashionable breath everywhere. The strong contrast between tradition and fashion, the East and the West, the years 1920 and 2012 always breeds aesthetic feeling. Old houses with black bricks and gray tiles and different things inside the houses bring surprise to the visitors.
You can see the past and read the history of Shanghai here. In a day with gentle wind drizzling rain, when walking on the narrow and long lanes in Xintiandi, you may feel like going back to Shanghai in 1920: old bricks, walls and tiles are preserved on Stone Gate buildings in Xintiandi while the inside of each building is tailor-made in accordance with the lifestyle, pace of life, emotion of modern metropolitan people in the 21st century, which manifests the atmosphere of modern leisure life.


The day and night of Xintiandi
In spare time, young people who pursue fashion in Shanghai like to hang around in Xintiandi. They like to spend the nightfall here, watching the light get dimmer. Xintiandi would have a totally different look at night compared with that in the daytime; it looks gorgeous during the shift from day to night.
At night, Xintiandi becomes lively, where people burn their enthusiasm at dozens of bars. On the weekend nights, people in Xintiandi are not willing to leave even at midnight. In the night of Xintiandi, amid swaying light and shadow as well as toasting glasses, different people with different moods watch different programs performed at different stages; bars are like factories for standard products, creating intoxicated and vague pleasure.
Compared with Xintiandi in the daytime and the serene Stone Gate, the change from quiet to dynamic atmospheres between daytime and night has a fantastic color. Xintiandi in the daytime is just like a plain-looking, reserved and introverted girl, while when the night falls, it seems that she dressed up instantly, enthusiastic and attractive.
In the daytime, you can see many domestic and foreign visitors go sightseeing and take photos here. At dusk, the romantic European style is everywhere. Out-door bars and coffee bars are most welcomed by young people and foreigners. Many distinctive restaurants have brilliant lights blazing or dim lights creating a romantic sentiment. In this city, during the transition of day and night, many colorful and wonderful things rise one after another among people.


There are also:
LUNA Restaurant & Bar
LUNA Restaurant has the appearance a little bit different from other buildings in Xintiandi. It isn’t the same as its neighboring old-fashioned lane houses; it has a great change in its appearance to look western-style. You can see how fresh good-quality raw materials turn to fragrant and simple delicacies through the open kitchen of LUNA Cafe.


Xintiandi North Block
Jaquet Droz Shanghai Xintiandi Boutique
The 300-year famous Swiss watch brand Jaquet Droz unveiled its first boutique in China’s mainland in Xintiandi, one of the fashion landmarks in Shanghai. In the boutique, miniatures, Grand Feu enamel dials, various rare mineral processing crafts and other distinctive crafts are displayed on the scrolling screens of the elegant black interior wall, indicating the old and mysterious skills for the brand. Apart from the new eye-catching products displayed in the boutique, some limited watches that have been never sold in China’s mainland are more impressive, which are the surprises the Xintiandi Boutique brings to people as the first boutique in China’s mainland.
Room 07, Floor 1, No. 1 and 17 Buildings, 181 Lane, Taicang Road


Glashutte Retail Shop
The retail shop of Glashutte is located here quietly. The exterior wall of the thick stone gate is carved with delicate patterns; hollowed-out patterns in the French windows make the shop bright and original. Matched up with the construction design as a garden, the shop perfectly integrates the traditional atmosphere of an old Shanghai lane and the Germany cultural style of the brand.
No.1 Taicang Road


The origin of Shanghai fashion life
Xintiandi is the origin of Shanghai fashion life. The inside of the simple-looking Stone Gate has been renovated as the environment of a modern metropolitan life in the 21st century. Many boutiques and international galleries receive countless tourists from all over the world every day.
Xintiandi is divided into South Block and North Block. The line between the two areas is Xingye Road, the site of the First National Congress of the CPC. At the South Block is a shopping, entertainment and leisure center with a total floor area of 25,000 square meters. Apart from the restaurants from all over the world, the center has gathered fashion specialty stores, fashion accessory boutiques, food courts, cinemas and large one-stop fitness centers, which are popular with young people.
In November 2010, Xintiandi Fashion Square, the phase III project of Xintiandi, was opened in Xintiandi South Block. Big Roman art marbles are used in the exterior facade of the shopping mall; large windows and doors of the shopping mall are outlined by red and cyan brick walls without plastering seen in the Stone Gate only. The integration of classical Western and Shanghai cultural impacts becomes the unity of dynamic beauty, space beauty and lifelike beauty. Stepping into the first floor of the shopping mall, look up and you’ll see the sunshine slanted through half-arc glass wall, implying that the sunshine grants inspiration and creativity to the design. Walking in the middle of the shopping mall, you can appreciate the post-modern simple mix-match decoration style; in the shopping sector, you can see the red and green bricks and red-sandalwood shelf windows, and experience the Shanghai-style flavor in the passage of time. The fashion style of the buildings in Xintiandi represents the essence of the city’s culture: nostalgia and attachment, reforming and regression.
What’s worth mentioning is the room for T stage show in the middle court of B1 floor, where a huge screen is seated in the main vision sector of the middle court, and surrounded by six LCD televisions. No matter it is used for the dynamic fashion show or creative art display, the area is the starting line for the Chinese local designers to step onto the international stage, a starting station for the international fashion trend to enter China, and a stereoscopic platform for the world to appreciate Chinese fashion and for China to experience the international trend.
Different from the positioning of common shopping centers, Xintiandi is designed to become the cradle of Chinese designers. Apart from some well-known international brand merchants, it also imports new-born Asian designer brands, drawing the inspiration of Xintiandi and combining distinctive definition style of world fashion brands.


There are also:
Shanghai Bund
It specializes in integration of China’s traditions and patterns, ironic humors and fashion senses. Here people can buy not only different kinds of clothes but also furniture, accessories and typical gifts.
No.15, North Block, Xintiandi, 181 Lane, Taicang Road


Shanghai Trio
The inspiration comes from the daily life in streets and lanes. Coats, bags, children’s wear, quilts, cloth and other delicate things are available here. They are made of characteristic local materials by local handicraftsmen, and look fashionable as well as nostalgic.
Unit 4-5, No. 1, 181 Lane, Taicang Road


“Accessory” is accessory, nothing fancy nor fickle. It is simple, but it can turn into all kinds of things through people’s thinking and creativity.
L130 EVEN PENNILESS, as one of the earliest local designer brands in Shanghai, aims to explore the delicate interaction between clothes and wearers through deconstruction. For the designers, this is a creative process filled with imagination; for wearers, this is a process for recreation of their own styles based on the design. When such cool colors as black, white and gray combines with smooth cutting, the style of clothes showing confidence and elegance comes into being. The experimental series in the name of the brand “Accessory” in Chinese, using a bolder style that contains more designing elements, further probes into the interaction between clothes and people, and also become the ultimate goal of the brand vitality.
Xintiandi Fashion L2, No. 245, Madang Road 


Franc Franc
It’s a household shop featuring fashion life concept from Japan. It has plenty of products series, which are colorful and focus on quality and details. If you want to add color and holiday atmosphere to home, the shop is your best choice with products offered to meet the demands for various activities or programs in different time.
Xintiandi Fashion, Floor 1-2, No. 245, Madang Road


No matter what the style is, the integration of pureness and fluidity as well as independence and infinite thought is embodied in the design of ZUCZUG. People can feel the wisdom from the “clothes”, and the constant interaction with and respect for wearers. As the founder and chief designer of ZUCZUG, Wang Yiyang always keeps the respect for and exploration of the “clothes”. He emphasizes the rational and moderate design philosophy, and cares about the cultural expression behind the clothes. Whether the style of clothes is street, fashion, sports, English or leisure, the integration of pureness and fluidity as well as independence and infinite thought is embodied in the design of ZUCZUG.
Xintiandi Fashion L2, No. 245, Madang Road


AK Club
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, young Johnny went out for a backpacking trip around the world. Cuba, Eastern Europe, China and other places that he has been to left a deep impression on him. The collapse of Berlin Wall, the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union’s disorganization and all the other things brought the world a different outlook and impact, and also gave inspiration to him to establish AK brand. After the cold war, peace and development became the main stream of the world. The spirit that AK Club wants to pass on is derived from this, namely “peacefully working and casually living”. This brand is fashionable and functional, as well as stylish and practical.
Xintiandi Fashion B132, No. 245, Madang Road  


Oshadai is derived from the simplest image, namely sandbag. The simple game in childhood permeates the purest heart; Oshadai also performs this warm and simple style, inheriting the low-profile, reserved, mild and joyful flavor as well as simple colors.
Xintiandi Fashion L232, No. 245, Madang Road


The Laputa Castle in the Sky of the Cat
This is a book store with features of a coffee house. All of a sudden, it may turn into a high-end variety shop. This book store has a fresh and literary style, originating from Suzhou. It mainly offers postcards, hand-drawn maps, some specific books and magazines. The things they sell, ranging from a card and a notebook to a bag and a book, express their inner joy as well as their understanding and feelings towards life.
Xintiandi Fashion B1, No. 245, Madang Road 


EIN, the original design brand, advocates quality instead of material. It highlights the lifestyle and dressing philosophy for inner needs. The brand adopts simple designs to create a pure style and transmit the considerate humanistic care. With elements like life, value, art and hobby, the brand manages to interpret the soft and quiet, free and rebel, tough and brave characters of modern women, express a yearn for the beautiful life and things, make the women in the new era abandon the complexity and vanity, and go back to the simple peace.
Xintiandi Fashion L145/146, No. 245, Madang Road 


Just like a modern landscape court, “GIFTZEN”, adopting Zen and modern elements as its design philosophy, is a brand-new concept high-end gift shop that ZEN Gallery has launched, and is also the first collection shop themed with art gifts in world-known museums in China. On the basis of unique collections in many world-class museums with human civilization and memory, the shop creates abundant delicate art gifts. The shop draws inspiration for the products from the pre-history civilization, ancient art, renaissance, classicism and even modern and contemporary art; besides it absorbs the classic elements in each period of the modern design history since the 19th century.
Xintiandi Fashion L130 EVEN, No. 245, Madang Road