London-based architectural firm Sybarite has created a 250,000sqm, 20-storey luxury department store in the ancient Chinese capital of Xi’an for high-end retailer SKP.
At almost three times the size of Harrods, the new mall showcases over 1000 global brands alongside a select range of domestic names in designer fashions. It is the company’s second major project in China after SKP Beijing, which is reportedly now the second most successful department store in the world in terms of sales.
SKP Xi’an’s signature design features social areas that exceed those of Sybarite’s first SKP project by a factor of five, as well as event spaces that span multiple floors. The exterior, inspired by Moorish architecture, is intended to minimise the mall’s visual impact against the ancient city’s heritage structures nearby.
Torquil McIntosh, co-founder of Sybarite with Simon Mitchell, said that the project features subliminal branding cues throughout the building to remind visitors that they are experiencing an SKP department store.
“We always want visitors to know exactly where they are without having to explicitly remind them,” he said, “so we created a curve as part of the brand identity and made it a recurring motif throughout our design.”
McIntosh was presented with the keys to Xi’an from the city’s mayor for his work on the project.