Redrawing Shanghai’s Skyline

This is one of those feats that departs slightly photography but otherwise related to design & architecture.

Truth be told, I have always been an architect at heart. I have recognized the word ‘architect’ deeply in my early childhood, it is the one and only answer whenever someone asked about what I want to do when I grow up. For that, I beg your forgiveness for bringing such an off-topic here.

This is about Shanghai, my former hometown for nearly a decade, and The Apple Store, a proven landmark of retail success where the art of architecture, interior design, retail & technology merge into one.

As an architect, we must know that any successful retail establishment depend on location, location, and location. Recent studies proven, however, location might not be everything. Timing and experience are the two key elements that the industry has yet to bet on, until Apple enters the retail market.

Let’s leave timing & experience for another discussion, let’s see what Apple has in mind for their next store, China’s 2nd flagship Apple Store in Shanghai China.

Apple always pick a highly trafficked site for its store location, for that reason, Apple opened their Beijing store in 2008, in Sanlitun —  a popular new area adjacent to the country’s biggest computer commercial zone, it opened shortly prior to the Olympic’s opening week.

For Shanghai, however, Apple is betting on a relatively new area within the oh-so-boring, commercial district of Pudong. (Sure, it is home to most — if not all — China’s greatest skyscraper — but it’s nothing like a genuinely innocent old-shanghai city life).

When I first heard about Shanghai as Apple Store’s next opening, I immediately thought of the Huaihai Road and Xujiahui area in Puxi which currently is the most highly trafficked high-tech and commercial district in Shanghai (Best Buy has a few stores there), and it is home to a few dozen of major Apple resellers, Electronics & Home Appliances, including IKEA.

So what does Apple have in mind?

Beyond the relatively lower cost of rental space (compared to the Puxi commercial district), and their proven retail strategy, they want to be part of history, they want to redraw Shanghai’s skyline and put a bitten fruit as part of Shanghai’s identity, China’s pride to its skyrocketing economy.