Sybarite has designed luxury department store SKP, which recently opened in Xi'an, China. The new 250,000 sqm store houses over 1,000 global brands and it marks a new era in luxury retailing in China. SKP also features multi-storey event spaces, boutique cinemas, restaurants and cafes and an airy garden terrace - designed by Sybarite in collaboration with structural engineers Arup.
SKP Xi'an's social spaces are five times larger than those within its predecessor, SKP Beijing. Here, under the 'Rendez-Vous' umbrella, you'll find a wine bar (and fine cellar), a restaurant, art gallery and several niche non-fashion boutiques, including couture tea brand TWG and an artisanal fromagerie with its own cheese-making facilities. These spaces are all linked by the elegant and contemplative bookshop which lies at the heart of 'Rendez-Vous.'
One of Sybarite's biggest challenges was to respect the store's sensitive location, close to both Xi'an's ancient City Wall's South Gate and the region's parliament building in China's oldest city. The team took inspiration from Moorish architecture such as southern Spain's Alhambra Palace. In the same way, it is only up close to the skin of SKP Xi'an that you appreciate the intricate bas-relief honeycombed façade of brushed bronzed brass. Though it is three times the size of Harrod's in London, SKP Xi'an sits comfortably within its surroundings.
Photography: Kristen Pelou / Sybarite