EXCLUSIVE: Icicle Parent Company Opens Landmark ‘Garden Store’ in Downtown Shanghai


ICCF Group, the Shanghai and Paris-based fashion company that owns Icicle and Carven, recently launched its first garden-themed retail project in downtown Shanghai.

Located at the heart of Shanghai’s historical downtown, Icicle‘s ambitious ICCF Garden Store project was three years in the making. Surrounded by spetacular trees, the compound offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling downtown. 

The Garden Store includes two distinct historical buildings, two modern buildings and a lush garden. The location previously housed a state-owned travel agency.

iciclestore

ICCF’s Garden Store in downtown Shanghai.

“‘We are very proud to be opening this beautiful new Garden store,” said Shouzeng Ye, who cofounded Icicle more than 25 years ago with his wife Shawna Tao. “To be able to reunite all our brands in one space, offering a new kind of retail experience has long been a dream of ours.”

“The choice of this property was particularly serendipitous, allowing us as it does to celebrate tradition and innovation simultaneously with the meticulous restoration of historical buildings, and the creation of a completely new expression for Icicle, as well as to bring a little piece of French refinement to a wonderful Chinese project,” Ye added.

According to the company, this “strategic location” will play a part in the neighborhood’s rejuvination project, with plans to “establish an environment of exchange, music, culture and art.”

A block away from the Consulate General of France in Shanghai, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and a host of lifestyle ventures, including the sustainability shop 3R Lab, Aesop’s first mainland China store, and multibrand boutique LMDS, ICCF’s Garden Store is a newcomer to a micro-community that reflects modern-day Haipai culture, or a “East Meets West” sensibility.

According to an Icicle spokesperson, the company plans to roll out the Garden Store format in other key markets.

Spanning 2,000 square meters, the project includes stand-alone stores for Icicle men’s, Icicle women’s and Carven. A fine-dining restaurant and a café complete the lifestyle-driven project.

German architecture firm GMP, which also worked with the group on the new ICCF Group Fashion Industrial Park, was invited to create the facade of the buildings and curate the garden space.

To enact a fluid contrast between the 1920s and the 1990s buildings, GMP remodeled the two newer establishments with a glistening clean facade made up of brick and water-brushed stones in neutral gray and white. A sloping roof and round-arched windows were added to honor the location’s storied past.

ICCF worked with Belgian architect Bernard Dubois on the interiors of the stores, which the company also worked with on its Paris flagship project. Storied Italian furniture maker Riva 1920 provided most of the furniture for the shops and eateries.

Shanghai Mingyue handled the restoration design of the historical buildings, whereas the restoration and structural renovation works were handled by Shanghai Xufang Construction Industrial Co. Ltd.

Icicle women’s store, located in a street-facing historic building, is a three-story villa house that was the former residence of Shanghai Conservatory of Music’s vice president Shande Ding, a key figure in the creation of Liang Zhu, one of the most important musical scores in contemporary China.

Icicle women's store

Icicle women’s store

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The VIP section of the Icicle women's store

The VIP section of the Icicle women’s store.

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Limestone walls and flooring lend a sense of serenity to the store, while a symmetrical merchandising layout conveys a sense of harmony. An original wooden staircase leads to the second floor, then the third, which is a cozy attic that VIP shoppers can enjoy in private.

Next up is an imposing three-story building with austere arched window facades, home to Icicle men’s boutique, its largest retail space to date. According to Icicle, the retail experience is aimed at developing “a more austere, musculine” Icicle men’s identity.

A highlight of the shop is a light well that opens up the first floor to the second level. This solves the problem of the building’s modest ceiling height, a characteristic of 1990s construction.  

Icicle men's store

Icicle men’s store.

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With curved edges throughout the walls, the store exudes a sense of warmth and calmness. Riva’s furniture, crafted from aged oak piles, provides a grounding accent to the shop floor. On the third floor is an Icicle bookstore and gallery, with dark wood floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This section of the store aims to mirror the elegance of Icicle’s George V flagship in Paris.

The third floor of the Icicle men's store is a bookstore and gallery.

The third floor of the men’s store is a bookstore and gallery.

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Next to the men’s building is the Carven store, which occupies the ground floor of the compound’s second historic building. It was originally a Western-style house of J.T. Inch, an expat boat captain in the 1920s. With stripped-back interiors, the renovation focused on restoring the complex moulding of its washed stone wall and delicate wooden window casings.

Carven's standalone store lives inside a Western-style house at the ICCF Garden Store.

Carven’s stand-alone store lives inside a Western-style house at the ICCF Garden Store.

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On top of the Carven store is The Silex restaurant, a spinoff of ICCF’s restaurant venture located within its headquarters. With a warm and natural setting, the 56-seater is helmed by Malaysian star chef Kevin Wong Yun. Its seasonal menu, which features refreshing dishes such as citrus Yellow Win scallop ceviche, takes inspiration from French and Chinese culinary traditions. 

Inside The Silex restaurant at ICCF Garden Store in Shanghai.

Inside The Silex restaurant.

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Café Silex, a double-height space that lets in ample light, has an alfresco patio that leads to the vibrant garden. Filled with fragrant herbs, low grasses, flowering shrubbery and spectacular trees, the landscaping of the garden was inspired by scented fields in the South of France. 

Café Silex's double-height space.

Café Silex

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To coincide with the opening of the ICCF Garden Store on Thursday, a preview of Milène Sanchez’s works will be on view at the store gallery. The emerging French artist’s solo exhibition will open at Icicle Cultural Space on Friday. 

The exhibition is part of a 2024 program celebrating cultural exchange between China and France. This year marks the 60th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations.



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