Take a look inside the British designer’s latest shop—his third in China—in the design-forward Xintiandi district.
By Rachel Gallaher
Images courtesy of Tom Dixon Studio
The new Tom Dixon Studio space in Shanghai, China.
At the end of last month British design luminary and 2020 GRAY Awards judge Tom Dixon opened the doors on his newest showroom in Shanghai, China. Located in the city’s cosmopolitan Xintiandi district—a luxury design, fashion and hospitality destination—the brand’s flagship Shanghai store sits in a traditional Chinese building designed with Shikumen architecture. Shikumen, which translates to ‘stone gate’, is a Shanghainese architectural style combining Western and Chinese elements that first appeared in the 1860s. The decision to open in China’s largest city stems from the extreme popularity of Dixon’s colorful, poppy furniture and accessories.
“We seem to have a lot of design afficionados in mainland China that were buying our goods from London or Hong Kong and there was always a number of replicas in spaces all over China,” Dixon says. “We had had strong success with partners such as Lane Crawford and more specialist dealers, however we felt it was time to have a more cohesive display and a space where we could tell our story in a more controlled way.”
The space itself is minimal and streamlined in order to allow the product to stand out.
According to Tom Dixon Studio’s CEO, Hans Hoegstedt, the company searched for two years to find the right location—once it did, the team used the historic buildings in the surrounding neighborhood as a reference when designing the space.
“We referenced the 100-year history of the buildings,” Dixon says. “Elements such as a prominent main entrance gate made of double wooden doors, geometric wooden patterning on the windows, and a central courtyard are blended in with our distinct style. The design of the exterior has been retained as a nod to the building’s history, whereas the interior has been significantly updated to represent a modern, clean, and industrial style.”
The Shanghai location is Dixon's third store in China.
The interior layout is open style, and it references the Shikumen-style organization of space, with the rooms arranged around a central hall and courtyard and each room adjoining the next. Specific areas, such as The Office, Bathroom, and Library are defined by changing typologies and products rather than disruptive walls. Dixon’s love of and attention to materiality are also present.
“We always like to have an element of local material,” he says, “so we brought in some huge blocks of Chinese granite to use as display podiums. We also have a unique position in the Xintandie shopping complex—half in and half out of the shopping center—so we have an independent high street presence, whilst also being in close proximity to some of our favourite fashion brands and all the facilities.”
To celebrate the opening, Tom Dixon Studio has partnered with a local gin brand, Peddler, which is offering a pop-up gin bar in the store for three months.