MDO Architects designed the Absolute Flower Shop

MDO Architects designed the Absolute Flower Shop

Anfu Lu in Shanghai’s French Concession is one of the busiest areas with a culture of café, retail and residential life. The tree-lined streets of old colonial buildings are a popular place for strolling, exploring and taking photographs.

Absolute Flower Shop is located the ground floor of an old house and is comprised of a series of cellular spaces which open up to a large garden at the rear. MDO conceived the design as a linear journey of reveal, where each space creates a unique engagement with the flower arrangements and the viewer.  MDO’s intervention is conceived as a series of insertions into the old fabric. Cool stainless steel frames contrasting with the rough texture of the existing Shanghai wall. The design is split into 3 elements: Street gallery + artificial landscape + secret garden:


One first encounters the shop from the street through gallery, viewed through a small shop window. This window dates back from a time where the local community could buy day to day goods through the small window directly off the street, directly connecting the community to the interior.

This practice no longer occurs, but we wanted to reference this practice by creating a gallery viewed solely from the street, which will present an evolving series of installations made only of the flowers available at the time of the year. Each window becomes a framed painting of another world, a scene connected to the seasons.

MDO Architects designed the Absolute Flower Shop

The rear of the space is one way mirror, hiding the spaces within, and allowing the viewer to see themselves in the reflection with the flower installation.

Entering from the street the viewer passes beside the gallery where the light comes solely from a digital screen showing the previous flower creations. This digital moment, an acknowledgement to how we now consume design, creates a palette cleanse before experiencing the real plants within.

Artificial Landscape

The main heart of the shop was conceived as an artificial landscape, a neutral terrain to contrast with the flower installations. A subdued palette of bush hammered stone and brushed stainless steel boxes rise up through the space providing different height plinths for flower display.

MDO Architects designed the Absolute Flower Shop

Artist Studio

A private studio connects to the main gallery where the owner has space to work on large scale installations. The studio is connected to the garden through a large existing wrought iron window, which allows guests a glimpse of the new creations as they pass outside.

MDO Architects designed the Absolute Flower Shop

Secret Garden

The main studio opens out onto the secret garden, a generous 100sqm space unique in Shanghai. 

The garden is a place of relaxation, where the owner can enjoy tea with her friends. There was an existing tree which we wanted to use a shelter, so the design uses an L-shaped bench which wraps the tree, creating a quiet oasis in the heart of the city. The seating area is designed as series of planes, where the verticality of the tree is balanced by a water feature and low level planting area. 

MDO Architects designed the Absolute Flower Shop

Project Location: No. 193, Anfu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China
Design Firm: More Design Office (MDO)
Design Directors: Jaycee Chui, Justin Bridgland
Designers: Da Gao, Lorenzo Lanzani, Peng Zhao, Di Chang
Photographers: Dirk Weiblen, Yichen Ding
Project Area: 200 square meters

More Design Office (MDO)

MDO is an award winning interior and architecture practice based in Shanghai founded by Jaycee Chui and Justin Bridgland in 2014. The office approach is highly spatial, exploring scale and proportion, and creating journeys and stories rich in detail, material and light.

MDO works with high-end residential, exhibition centres, hospitality and office projects, and clients include the top Chinese residential developers. Their projects are in mainland China, HK, Edinburgh and the Middle East and have received international recognition. Today the office works at different scales and disciplines including interior and architectural design, lighting, furniture and graphic design. This multi-disciplinary approach allows MDO to pursue a holistic vision to their projects.

With backgrounds from Hong Kong and the UK, they excel at integrating different cultural contexts into designs. And they emphasize the notion of “transformation” in design practice and work to create diverse experiences via the combination of space and emotion.