The soul of Shanghai Tang may be back in Shanghai, but the retail heart is clearly in Hong Kong, where the brand has just opened a three-story 'mansion' on Duddell Street. At 1,400sq m, the three-storey flagship is the label's largest store and also its flashiest, with panels of light illuminating the art deco detailing outside.
The remarkable outfit of this Duddell Street heritage building is all the more impressive for its swift turnaround - just nine months from planning to launch, after the brand lost the lease on its former premises around the corner. The Shanghai-based interior firm Design MVW took its cues from ancient Chinese craftsmanship, bringing Chinoiserie into the present with bold colour-blocking, hand-painted wallpapers and towering wrought-iron panelling.
The lofty spaces are flooded with natural light, transported throughout the space via the grand stairwell at its heart. And though the sheer volume makes a big impression, the beauty is in the details. A multi-tiered crystal chandelier overlooking the foyer is shaped like the character for 'shou', meaning 'longevity'. Elsewhere, traditional Chinese lanterns reinterpreted as glowing white pendants guide visitors to the upper levels.
There is not a two-dimensional surface in the place. Vaulted ceilings are lit from within and inset in the shape of Mongolian yurts. Doorways take the shape of ancient round portals - and, in one case, the contour of an antique vase. The dark-stained flooring has intricate brass inlay and the shelving resembles antique lacquer étagères.
The interior doesn't take its flagship status lightly, nor does the merchandise. Available at Duddell Street only is Shanghai Tang's new range of bicycles, plus a children's line, a bespoke tailoring service, homewares and a fragrance bar.