After the mushrooming of Bugsy Malone
-style bars across town over the past few years, you might be forgiven for thinking that Shanghai’s speakeasy fad had finally burned itself out. In fact, it’s now spread into the shopping arena.
To gain access to new interiors space Redzepi, located near Suzhou Creek, you need to take a goods lift down to a dingy basement, navigate creepy, junk-filled store rooms and finally enter a password – which you obtain from the shop’s WeChat account (@ppaul520) in advance – into an electronic typewriter mounted alongside a huge, rusty door.
Only then will you be admitted to the sprawling underground space, which is chock-full of homeware and furniture spanning every conceivable genre, from rustic ropes of dried gourds and Piling Palang-esque ceramics to stark filament bulb chandeliers, phrenology busts and pretty birdcage-print crockery. Co-founders Mike Lin and Paul Hsu, a pair of Taiwanese interior designers based in Shanghai, conceived of the project after seeing the location’s potential and transformed the derelict former photographic studio into a stylish showroom-cum-café in just two months.
Goods-wise, there are a handful of vintage curios, such as a tin model aeroplane and a miniature piano with yellowing ivory keys dotted around, but the vast majority of pieces are made in various Beijing and Ningbo factories to the duo’s own designs. Some are strikingly modern, like the monochrome wall clocks with exposed innards (price tba), while others have an old-timey feel, such as the towering French-style scrubbed pine cabinets (35,080RMB).You’ll also find the odd bit of art that Hsu has picked up on his travels, including prints from emerging galleries in Guangzhou.
Redzepi won’t technically be open to the public, as it’s primarily aimed at fellow designers and their clients, with a pricing structure to match (prices are negotiable and there are hefty discounts for buying in bulk). However, Lin says that interiors fans of all stripes are still welcome to visit, whether you’re looking to kit out a new pad or just have a gander and a coffee, provided you make an advance appointment via WeChat or by calling ahead.
Soon there will be even more reason to head to this corner of Jingan. Lin and Hsu have recently acquired the neighbouring unit, which they are in the process of converting into a gallery and exhibition space to promote local artists and designers.
By Selena Schleh