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[Mallcore]: More Than 1000 Trees at 1000 Trees

One last mega mall opening for 2021…
2021-12-23 12:00:00
Photos: Brandon McGhee

This one's a little higher profile than your usual run-of-the-mill bazillion RMB mall opening. People have been paying attention to this one?


It's got trees all over it. And therefore looks kinda interesting. Eight years in the making, 1000 Trees is a former flour factory and now a current everything factory. The mountain-like structure comes to us as a collaboration of local developers and Heatherwick Studio, following their seed-like design of the UK Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo. The look of the artifice is inspired by Huangshan and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Over the past eight years it's been periodically popping up in international architecture blogs.

It's now open to the public. What's this new building for? Residential? Offices? Commercial? The answer: all of that. But we're looking at the commercial side of things.

So, yeah, we're talking about the mall. This is only phase one of their plans, which already spans around 10,000 square-meters on the riverside. Next phases currently under construction include a hotel and an office building. They say those are going to be finished in a year. But… who knows?


What It Is:

An artsy shopping center with 8 floors above the ground, a basement for F&Bs, and two parking levels. The market positioning is similar to other casual, upscale department stores. Hmm… Something between Reel Mall and Kerry Center maybe. Targets are obvious: white-collars spending on lifestyle products. Expect a bunch of high-street cafes and eateries, high-end fashion retailers and entertainment facilities.

You know… like a mall.

Are there actually 1000 trees? Yeah. Actually, more. Inside the mall, there are 1,000 structural concrete columns housing and sustaining individual plants. These are actually growing inside the column. Counting the plants outside and all over the roof?  20,000? More?

"1000 Trees" has a more manageable cadence to it, though.

Yes, it's another mall but there are a few elements that you might like about it.

They are:

Patios. Too many. Too many here means more than 400. Not limited to dining places though. Everyone has a patio. Even the gift shop has a backdoor out to a patio.

Arts. For a mall, the artwork, spread out onto every floor, is actually pretty well done. They've got a few long-term statue collections by Daniel Arsham, together with "seasonal" arts on display. The mall actually does the collections properly with museum-style documentation, offering information about the creator plus some backstory.

Some pretty cool design details. It's a real lush venue. Lots of interesting little quirks and details. In the elevators, the buttons are designed by Thomas Heatherwick, and they alone cost RMB 8 million, apparently. Inside the elevators are huge graffiti pieces painted by artists from different countries.

What It Has:

Eateries, sports / fashion retailers, event spaces… mall stuff. But specifically they've got quite a lot of well-established brands are featured, including MLB, New Era, Chow Tai Fook, and more.

They also have a few new names like Kükü, a chic, stylish gift shop on the second floor.

In terms of dining, they've got a selection of Shanghai-founded Western chains, such as AZUL Italiano, Lokal by Wagas, and more. There is also an independent restaurant dedicated to artworks by Vincent Van Gogh. Japanese Michelin restaurant Narisawa has also staked out a space here that is coming soon.

There's also another location for super popular cheesecake shop Kumo Kumo — always a line here. Not when we took the photo but usually…

The basement floor is Chinese / fast food restaurants, snack shops and bubble tea places. Good to "grab and go"…

Happy shopping, y'all. See you in 2022…

Where It Is:

1000 Trees is located on 600 Moganshan Lu by Suzhou Creek. It's a few minutes' walk from Jiangning Lu metro station and has close access to M50 Art District.