Light pours into the interior via a diamond-shaped atrium
New York's Sofield Studio designed Harry Winston's new salon in Shanghai to reflect the nature of a faceted stone. Light pours into the interior via a diamond-shaped atrium
(Image credit: press)

Harry Winston may specialise in exceptional diamond creations for the body but, with the opening of its new salon in Shanghai this month, it has also created an exceptional jewellery box to adorn the Chinese landscape. Built from scratch in the smart Xintiandi district and tucked cosily into the base of the Andaz hotel, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, the Harry Winston pavilion reflects the shape and character of a faceted stone.

The structure and interior were overseen by Harry Winston's regular design associate, Bill Sofield of New York's Studio Sofield. 'Light was the starting point,' Sofield explained at the opening event. 'I've often thought that jewellery shops can feel like little prisons, so we aimed to have as much natural light flowing through the building as possible, as though it were being reflected in a diamond.'

Sofield has a point about the dark, claustrophobic nature of many high-end jewellery boutiques, products of an industry that is understandably furtive about drawing too much attention to the value of its wares. His design is a welcome antidote and completely transforms the retail experience.

While there are no closed-off areas, the two-tier building has viewing areas upstairs and down, where displays are carefully angled to reflect the products. Subtle colour and lighting variations make the men's and women's watch areas feel right for their intended consumer yet, at the same time, open to all.

The building succeeds in bringing the traditional, sometimes stuffy business of jewellery shopping elegantly up to date, welcoming casual wanderers and serious investors alike. Meanwhile the old-style gold font used on the exterior (created by a Winston designer in the 1930s) nods to the company's heritage (Harry Winston established his eponymous New York boutique in 1932) and adds a distinctive New York touch.

To celebrate its foray into Shanghai, Harry Winston has unveiled a range of limited-edition watches and a line of charms in platinum and diamonds, an HW monogram and lucky '8' among them. It has also launched the Qipao Ultimate Adornments collection to pay homage to the brand's latest destination.

The men's watch room

The men's watch room at the new Harry Winston salon in Shanghai

(Image credit: press)

Private viewing rooms

Private viewing rooms circle the atrium on the second floor

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Jewellery and watch retail

Studio Sofield has created a new light-filled approach to high-jewellery and watch retail

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Sketch of the 'Qipao' diamond neck cuff

Sketch of the 'Qipao' diamond neck cuff from the Harry Winston Ultimate Adornments collection, inspired by traditional Chinese collar styles

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Sketch of the 'Qipao' diamond earrings

Sketch of the 'Qipao' diamond earrings from the Harry Winston Ultimate Adornments collection

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'Qipao' diamond cuff bracelet

'Qipao' diamond cuff bracelet from the Harry Winston Ultimate Adornments collection

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'Qipao' diamond ring

'Qipao' diamond ring from the Harry Winston Ultimate Adornments collection

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The Harry Winston Midnight Shikumen onyx and jade limited-edition watch

The Harry Winston Midnight Shikumen onyx and jade limited-edition watch celebrates the opening of the Shanghai salon

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The Harry Winston Midnight Tourbillon GMT is a limited-edition piece

The Harry Winston Midnight Tourbillon GMT is a limited-edition piece available only at the Shanghai salon

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A series of limited-edition Harry Winston charms bracelet

A series of limited-edition Harry Winston charms, seen on this bracelet, have also been designed to celebrate the Shanghai opening

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The Harry Winston Lucky 8 Pendent

The Harry Winston Lucky 8 charm. '8' is seen as a lucky number in China, where it symbolizes fortune and good luck

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Brand founder Harry Winston favoured 'emerald-cut' diamonds pendent

Brand founder Harry Winston favoured 'emerald-cut' diamonds, which inspired the shape of this charm

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Ring pendent

The setting of the Harry Winston ring charm has a HW initialed setting

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The Harry Winston Premier Feathers Limited Edition Shanghai watch

The Harry Winston Premier Feathers Limited Edition Shanghai watch has a striking feather-marquetry dial

(Image credit: press)

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Caragh McKay is a contributing editor at Wallpaper* and was watches & jewellery director at the magazine between 2011 and 2019. Caragh’s current remit is cross-cultural and her recent stories include the curious tale of how Muhammad Ali met his poetic match in Robert Burns and how a Martin Scorsese Martin film revived a forgotten Osage art.