K11 Entrance on Huai hai LUJust to re-connect with my previous post about how Shanghai has been getting so art friendly under every aspect, I’d like to introduce you to another innovative Art project. There has been quite a buzz about the opening of a new mall downtown, which is called “K11 – Art Mall”, a brand concept imported from Hong Kong, where the first mall of this genre opened some time ago.
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As new avantgarde malls are popping up like flowers in springtime here, I was not too concerned about it in the beginning, but then I was attracted by the motto “In Art we Live” and I strolled in for a walk.
Apparently the place is just a very chic shopping mall – fashion boutiques, trendy windows, amazing food courts – but at the entrance you
Art (Lee Jelim’s Housewife) and people at K11
can pick up an ”Art directory booklet” which is guiding you to see art works by artists from all over the world whose artworks are displayed in the public areas and hallways.
If contemporary museum spaces can be too sophisticated for a certain audience, here you can be gently led to the art world by this mixture of “sacred and profane”.
Damien Hirst’s Wretched war at k11So while you are trying on that fancy coat inside your favourite boutique, you can glimpse through the windows a sculpture of Damien Hirst just outside in the hallway, or while having your hair and nails done at one glamorous beauty salon you can listen simultaneously to the hundreds digital watches by the Heidi Voet’s sound installation.
In order to avoid reducing art to a mere decorative object, the K11 management is also supporting art events by leasing a variety of spaces for exhibitions and an artist club, offering free studios to the designers, and sponsoring short term exchange projects.
Well, it seems art is for breakfast, lunch and dinner here.
Just another marketing move, an innovative art& leisure concept, the ultimate high end shopping idea? I am puzzled… what about you, what do you think?
Art isn’t enough? You can also add a stroll at the “Urban Harvest” Restaurant area on the 3rd floor, which displays an indoor vegetable Huban harvest and the people at K11eco garden: here everything from lettuce to sprouts and mushroom is hydroponically grown, freshly cut and straightforward cooked for you to eat. There is even a farm style fence with piglets to watch (not to eat!).
If you spend a certain amount on shopping you get vouchers to plant your own veggies and can go back after a week to pick up the fresh products.
Surely this town is place for any kind of experiment and according to the crowds that last Sunday were gathering inside the K11, where I went for my second visit, this one seems to be very successful.
K11 Art Mall is at 300 di Huai Hai Zhong Lu, Shanghai.