Henderson Cifi Tiandi: The Street of 1,000 Red Jars

Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Location: Shanghai, China
Area: 40,000 m2
Year: 2021

The Former French Concession has long left its mark on this part of Shanghai, and it is an honor for a French architect to design an urban space here in tune with its urbanism, its plane trees, narrow streets, and inhabited landscapes. Between Ma Dang and Dan Shui streets, it was tempting to create a shortcut that would be an urban and commercial passageway, a sequence evoking former surroundings that have been completely reimagined and are now new and modern; a high, narrow street that is covered and protected…

The buildings need to know where they reside so as to create a desire for unique and unpredictable walks. With its openness, our project fits into the neighborhood’s geometry. Through the two entrances on Ma Dang and Dan Shui streets, the exterior, in a greyish-beige color, makes way for a surprising array of lights, colors and vegetation.

A shopping street on two levels, sequenced by overhead walkways and small bridges, passes between two flowery walls made up of rows of earthenware jars planted with different species, both green and colorful. The complementarity between the shops facing each other, the activities of the offices and the restaurants up under the roofs, creates a familiar and naturally animated street, providing a setting for pleasing walks and offering an inviting new itinerary between Ma Dang and Dan Shui streets.

Shadowplays produced by the adjustable slats of the blinds, in front of windows bordered by huge flowerpots, play on the mystery of presences and activities protected behind them, while generating a landscape of vegetal friezes in the colors of the season and the different flowers. The walls of the passageway will be painted in variations of brown, amber, orange and multiple reds. I have imagined all these loving details to enrich Shanghai, on the Huai Hai side, with this unique new open-and-covered street: “the street of 1,000 red jars”.