Here come the Italians. Now, unexpectedly, the opening of the Chinese housing market to private development is set to further magnify the presence of Italian design—in Shanghai, in China, in Asia at large. The surge of new, privately funded building projects, in combination with the arrival of foreign design firms and their wares, has created unprecedented opportunities for companies in China’s burgeoning home furnishings field. In one striking—and perhaps trend-setting—case, a home furnishings distributor, Yanfull Co. Ltd. of Shanghai, has taken matters into its own hands and is developing a major new housing complex, Royal Garden, that will be defined—from its outdoor amenities to the interiors of every single residence—entirely by cutting-eYXe Italian design. Each of Royal Garden’s approximately 3500 apartment and townhouse units, ranging from 100 to 300 square meters in floor area, will come fully decorated and furnished with products from some of the biggest names in the industry, all under the oversight of the project’s creative director, Mauro Lipparini.
In broad terms, the complex consists of two contrasting building formats: some buildings extend along a horizontal axis, while others extend upwards, vertically; in essence, we have a series of perpendicular “straight lines” playing off each other. In addition, the taller buildings, at different, staggered heights, create a strong diagonal skyline. Together, these two formats confer a varied feel, a three-dimensional perspective freeing the overall design from cumbersome, uninvitingly massive overtones. Just as important, the residential structures are closely integrated with surrounding park space—manicured lawns, trees, reflecting pools, other water features—the constructed areas blending seamlessly with the project’s natural areas. The idea is to create a “residential oasis,” an environment where the resident’s sense of privacy is paramount, yet one in which the establishment of a community, founded on principles of well-being and relaxation, is also possible.