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The Lefo Mall Shopping Centre has opened its doors to the public in Suzhou, in Jiangsu Province Eastern China,
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with the scheme being the largest retail project to be built to a design by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan in China to date.

The design for the 65,000 square metre destination mall, located at the heart of Suzhou’s new Wuzhong Central Business District, was delivered for client Suzhou Zhongrun Real Estate Ltd, part of Zhongrun Resources Investment Corporation. It sets a new benchmark for commercial development in the region and targets young and design-conscious customers.

The practice delivered a wide range of services, from concept design through to site services and including interior and landscape architecture and branding / environmental graphics design.

The design was led by the practice’s Shanghai-based team, drawing on the world-class retail and retail branding expertise of its teams in Europe and Singapore.

The design takes inspiration form the city’s canals, bridges and gardens with Suzhou known as the ‘Venice of the East’. Natural elements such as water shape the design, with the feeling of ripples and pools flowing through the space and the inclusion of curved balustrade details.

Primary void spaces are designed with organic forms to soften and bring identity to key spaces. Bridges and pools have been designed within the floorscape to create seating areas, while bespoke furniture has been constructed from natural local materials. The landscape design reinforces the concept by using the existing canal edge and including new water features, land bridges, bench seating and planting areas.

Director Jeremy Salmon said: “The successful delivery of the scheme is testament to our world-class and integrated team of diverse architectural, interior, public realm, landscaping and branding design experts working in close partnership with the client, with the resultant mall reflecting both international design best practice and the natural beauty of Suzhou.”

The wide scope of the practice’s brief reflects an increasing trend in the procurement of design services in China in the support of brand-led retail design, resulting in a consistent design narrative from concept to completion.

Suzhou is a city of 2.4 million people, located adjacent to the Shanghai Municipality on the old Imperial Canal and lower Yangtze River. Recognised for its rich past and ancient cultural treasures, the city has a 2,500 year history of canals, bridges, gardens and beautiful natural scenery.

Over the past year the practice has reported a number of high-profile project successes in China including the completion of the design for the Kanas Lake Performance Theatre, opening of the La Nova shopping centre (the first major international shopping centre of its kind in Hunan Province), as well as new appointments to design a global R&D centre and complete a strategic planning review of the Minhang District in the heart of Shanghai.
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