The Folded Arcade


The West bund in Shanghai is a neighbourhood known for its art museums, riverfront broadwalk and recreational greenbelt, it’s not surprising to find here a continuous growth in residents and visitors who look for family activities and socio-cultural events. With the increasing flows come marketplaces like the Sunny Walk, an open mall that caters to local commercial and community needs. Given the opportunity to design a gallery in this shopping compound for U Concept Gallery, a brand that combines cultural, educational and commercial programs in one location, Lukstudio have created a folded arcade to channel the surrounding civic energies into a semi-public retail experience.

Having an open atrium on one side and a narrow double-loaded corridor on the other, the all-glazed elongated lot has an inherent passage quality. In order to create a destination, Lukstudio introduces a trail of white walls with arched openings throughout the site, defining inward and outward spaces. Following one’s movement along the corridor, the storefront opens and closes alternatively. The fold seemingly extends the public corridor into the gallery space, inviting the passers-by to explore within. The austere and simple form not only creates a rhythmical storefront, a spatial sequence in the store, but also provides ample vertical display surfaces and subtly-separated zones for flexibility.

While the arches guide views and movements flowing smoothly in the open gallery floor, a wooden volume is essential to organize all the other required programs and free up the overall space. Walking in the gallery through the two entrances, one easily finds the café counter tucked under a wooden mezzanine. The white arches lead to an open classroom platform surrounded by the raised display aisles. During the weekend children’s drawing class, parents, friends or strangers alike would stand along the wooden balustrade of the elevated zone and observe the learning process from a close distance. The display aisles feature up to 20 different artists, each with a video introduction and a collection for sale. Climbing the wooden steps, one can continue to browse through the paintings in a more intimate attic while enjoy the view of the gallery below.

Using simple architectural forms, Lukstudio have developed an elaborate spatial sequence engaging different users to wander, ponder, learn or shop. Whether the resulting experience is that of a private gallery or a public market place not only depends on the events of the day, but moreover on one’s state of mind. Although this folded arcade is small in area, we believe it is this kind of diverse social experience that inspires, encourages interactions and continues to enrich our built environment.


location: Store No. 005-007, 1F Shanghai Poly Sunny Walk Mall
original net area: 210㎡
final net area: 260㎡
architecture and interior design: LUKSTUDIO
director: Christina Luk
design team: Marcello Chiado Rana, Leo Wang, Melody Shen, Yiren Ding, Mamo Ho, Sissi Wang
scope: façade design, interior design, millwork design & lighting design
materials: Porcelanosa solid surface, Wood flooring and matching veneer panel, Dajulong PVC flooring, White latex paint, Copper
furniture: ZAOZUO, HAY
lighting: TONS
design period: 2017.08 -2017.10
construction period: 2017.11 – 2018.1
construction: Shanghai Savor Construction &Decoration Co. Ltd.
photography: Peter Dixie for LOTAN Architectural Photography