German cutlery manufacturer Zwilling JA Henckels (Solingen, Germany) has been sharpening its kitchen knives, scissors and swords since the 18th century. Over the years, it has expanded its culinary offerings with an array of cookware, flatware and glassware. Now, with its nearly 7000-square-foot flagship store in Shanghai’s Taikoo Hui shopping mall, complete with a cooking school, restaurant and retail component, Zwilling is serving up both a visual – and literal – feast.
“It’s all about ‘taste, learn, discover, shop,’ ” says Antonio Rodriguez, Designer and Partner at Milan-based architecture and design firm Matteo Thun & Partners. “We wanted the customer to get curious to better understand and to experience the diversity of the Zwilling brand.”
The two-story space takes shoppers on a culinary and sensory journey that begins on the ground floor where the brand’s products are on display in a sleek and minimal setting. Upstairs, the bar and Mediterranean restaurant, The Twins, and the gourmet, marble-clad cooking school, help continue the sensory sojourn.
The space’s narrow footprint was an initial challenge, Rodriguez notes, but he and firm founder Matteo Thun opted to make it part of the design concept. An impeding staircase was moved to the side and now more seamlessly leads to the second floor, where an 118-foot-long Mediterranean-style table runs through the space, acting first as a beverage counter, then transitioning into a food bar that leads through the casual dining room and into the palm frond wallpaper-covered fine dining area.
“We wanted the fine dining [room] to refer to Shanghai’s art deco heritage, so we chose sophisticated, luxurious green velvet armchairs, blue glass table tops and brass lights,” Thun says. “We like clean lines and iconic, pure forms that go with high touch and natural materials.”