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Jiashan market: Building a natural Shanghai community
Six old factory buildings get a new lease on life, becoming a green, thriving community in the middle of Shanghai
In an ideal neighborhood, our buildings are eco friendly, our shopping and eating places are but steps away from our homes, we’re surrounded by organic and healthy products, and the whole community can come together in a common square to socialize, organize markets, and even to garden.
A medieval village may once have provided this lifestyle but it’s nearly impossible to find in a massive modern city, nevermind a Blade Runner-esque megapolis like Shanghai where skyscrapers climb for world-record heights and taxis gridlock on elevated highways.
Jiashan Market is venturing to provide just such a vision of an integrated work/life/business community in Shanghai. Here, award-winning architecture and design firm BAU has leased six old factory buildings from the government and refurbished them using sustainable practices including reclaimed wood, double-glazed windows and insulation. The rooftops are planted with already-thriving gardens and the businesses include a range of eco-friendly companies.
A new vision for Shanghai spaces
“Jiashan integrates commercial, residential and recreational,” says Shirley Fang, partner and general manager of BAU. “Here you can live, work or play and enjoy a green outdoor space -- a courtyard with a pergola and fruit trees, big balconies, restaurants with terraces and rooftop vegetable gardens.”
While Jiashan Market was still under construction in April this year, it was already host to the Eco Design Fair, an event that aptly illustrated the neighborhood’s values and future plans. The two-day event showcased eco-conscious ideas and companies from the new vegan bakery, The Freshary, to bamboo fiber baby clothing brand, Eco Bibi and even a Shanghainese retiree who sews hip shopping bags out of old milk cartons.
The fair also offered earthy talks on everything from waste recycling to earthworm composting. Enthusiastic crowds proved how much this type of event is wanted and supported by the Shanghai community. The Eco Design Fair has announced they will also hold their next event at Jiashan Market in early November.
In the future, BAU plans to build on this excitement with many more events and markets.
Shanghai community spirit
We want it to be a place people immediately think about if they want to gather with their friends and family and share lunch, like the central square of a European village.— Shirley Fang, BAU partner and general manager
“We want Jiashan Market to become a community space,” says BAU PR Manager, Armelle Wu. “We have installed a barbecue that people can use for parties with friends, the main square will be available to organize events like flea markets, farmer’s markets and designer’s markets and we will also hold outdoor movie screenings.”
The residential buildings are already nearly full with an international group of residents who can already be seen enjoying the public spaces.
Fang adds, “We want it to be a place people immediately think about if they want to gather with their friends and family and share lunch, like the central square of a European village.”
Melange Oasis, a casual cafe launched by Peter Kycelt, owner of popular Vienna Café, is a good example of the spirit of Jiashan Market.
“We are installing recycled rainwater toilets and we hope to use as much organic produce as possible on the menu,” says Kycelt. Another exciting tenant which has just signed a lease is Lohao City supermarket, an organic and natural products market founded in Beijing, which carries a vast range of goods from organic olive oil to local farm produce.
Currently businesses under construction include Cafe Sambal, from the owner of the mega-popular Malaysian restaurant of the same name in Beijing, a Japanese restaurant, a Korean restaurant employing organic and local produce, a wine-focused Chinese restaurant, Q’s Express Shop, Montes Wine, and a Japanese spa. Wu hopes all the construction and businesses will be finished at the end of the summer when they will host a coming out party for the complex.
Already, pear, apricot, peach, persimmon and fig trees are planted everywhere, from the main square and up to the rooftop. Wisteria, wild roses and water lilies green the public areas. Jiashan Market proves that even in Shanghai, nature and community can blossom.
Lane 550, Shanxi Nan Lu, No. 37, near Fuxing Zhong Lu