This Female-Led Architecture Firm Is Turning Heads in China

Credit to Stefanie Waldek - Architectural Digest

In a country like China that’s currently undergoing rapid urbanization, hundreds of architecture firms rise to the call for new buildings. Of those hundreds, there are several that have caught our eye. One in particular is a female-led firm—X+Living, a Shanghai-based practice run by Li Xiang, who operates at the crossroads of architecture, interior design, and furniture design (the latter through her second company, Xiangcasa). We first took note of X+Living when it built the mesmerizing Chongqing Zhongshuge Bookstore, an M.C. Escher–like wonderland in June this year.

“I used a lot of abstract architecture in my projects, especially the retail stores, because it fits well with the concepts,” Li tells AD . “More and more designers are using such techniques to fulfill their ideas, and since the feedback from the consumers is quite positive, it encourages us to do more.”

X+Living is certainly doing more in that vein, completing three dazzling projects since the bookstore: two hotels and a tea store. The Zoo Park Hotel in Hangzhou is a bold, art-focused property with a theme of wildlife conservation; the New Century Magic Hotel in Huzhou features more fantastical, childlike designs, a style the firm is known for; and the Zhuyeqing Green Tea Flagship Store in Chengdu has an otherworldly, abstract interior.

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