Kokaistudios’ interior and exterior renovation not only brings the mall up to date in terms of a destination shopping-hospitality experience, it successfully reintegrates Citic Square into the fabric of Shanghai by opening up previously hidden vistas, and playing on scale to complement the mall’s layered urban context.
Pixels are central to Kokaistudios’ design approach.
Their interpretation is both literal – such as with the mall’s transparent grid facade – as well as conceptual: whereby individual units that come together create a cohesive whole.
The pixels are most visible on the mall’s Nanjing Road frontage where an outdated glass and stone facade has been replaced by a series of large-sized rectangles and squares of varying dimensions and gradated opacities, each protruding from the building’s core volume to create the impression of floating.
Effectively acting as individual shop windows, this ‘pixel’ approach allows tenants to customise their own displays.
Because each cube juts out from the building, passing street traffic is subject to three-dimensional impressions of the storefront's exterior.
Despite their contemporary connotations, the ‘pixels’ connect the mall to its historic urban context.
Directly opposite is one of the city’s best-preserved lòngtáng – typical of Shanghai, and dating from the early twentieth century, they are walled compounds of traditional lane housing, usually two- to three-storeys in height.
Citic Square's pixels facade creates a scale in keeping with the older architecture opposite.
The dialogue between old and new continues through the frontage’s materials of fully transparent glass panes, semi-opaque glass bricks, and Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) panel.