In addition to the new stores and upcoming malls detailed in Mao Suit’s last post on Shanghais best facades, another very significant mall has just opened up in Shanghai.
As detailed during its construction phase, L’Avenue stands out amongst other luxury malls in China and is a joint venture between LVMH’s real estate arm L Real Estate and Hong Kong rela estate developer Stanley Ho. They will take responsibility for the retail and office podiums respectively.
Displaying a strong contingent of the big LVMH Group brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Bulgari, Celine, Loewe and Tag Heuer, L Real Estate also enticed other luxury brands Ermenegildo Zegna, Ferragamo, Burberry and Prada to open large stores in the mall. After years of re-positioning in China, it’s pleasing to see Ralph Lauren hitting their stride again and their L’Avenue store is the best yet in China. Not surprisingly Chanel and Hermes who are arch rivals of LVMH stayed away.
Should a congregation of brand worshippers require a sanctuary to praise their idols and make cash offerings, then L’Avenue would surely live up to the task. The mall’s exterior archways entrances and facades emit beacons of light and the hope that a better world lies within. The archways are encased in a cocoon that curves up to thecylindrical office tower, giving an overall image that some have likened to an enormous boot. At night the building is easily identified from afar by the tower’s neon light show that now seems mandatory for all Shanghai skyscrapers that lay any claim to fame.
The interior design is one of the best in China and the terracing between floors gives the internal facades of brands on upper floors plenty of exposure to circulating customers. The cavernous ground floor also welcomes guest down from first floor and in a change of tack from many other luxury mall developments, the top brands including Louis Vuitton, Zegna and Ralph Lauren have chosen to create duplex stores consisting of a ground plus basement level (instead of the more common ground plus second level multi-story stores). Globally, brands tend to experience lower productivity on upper floors of stores when customers cant be bothered to go up stairs. Could it be that customers (or perhaps just Chinese) are psychologically more willing to go down stairs than up, thus making these L’Avenue duplex stores more productive in their below ground selling area?
Of an evening the Hongqiao Park directly adjacent to the mall offers a lively aftermath to any shopping pilgrimage with local residents transforming the park into the neighbourhood disco/exercise ground with dancing and gesticulating to the sounds of thumping Chinese techno music.