In China’s long, and quite frankly, convoluted history, there’s one thing that has remained constant — an assertive regulation on any knowledge, culture, and influence that originates from the West.
Whether it’s the early 20th century regulation on Science Fiction materials or the ban on Facebook and WhatsApp today, China has long held a propensity of aversion and control over the broadcast or dissemination of international materials that has the power to westernise society.
However, what was once a vice grip is loosening, allowing for more exposure of English titles to the Chinese public. Pockets of small establishments are slowly injecting a more diverse range of international titles into the mainstream market.
Enter The Mix Place, a contemporary creative enclave that caters to the fashionista, the book lover, and the culture buff.
“Mix” refers to the shop’s ideology of converging of culture and art into a lifestyle, while “Place” serves as an abbreviation for Philosophy, Lifestyle, Art, Culture, Edition.
However you slice it, The Mix Place sounds like it’ll stick out like a sore thumb in China. But when you consider that The Mix Place houses an eclectic collection of international visual editions of art and design, along with European award-winning magazines from Cereal to Plethora, it’s location along Hengshan Lu, the former French Concession area in Shanghai appears to be right at home.
Since opening in late 2015, the three-storey shop has seen a regular crowd of budding designers, photographers, and artists mingling and exchanging ideas.
The First Floor: Cafe
You’ll be greeted with the smell of espresso as you enter the doors of The Mix Place. Just above the coffee machine are blackboards filled with the menu for the day, all hand-written in chalk calligraphy. The entire place screams hipster and full of character with the occasional motivational quote scribbled across the black panel.
It is also on this floor where you can find fiction novels and other books, available in English and Chinese with comfortable chairs and spots perfect for an afternoon of books and coffee.
Photo by the_mix_place via Instagram.
The Second Floor: Experimental Art and Design
Head on up and here’s where things get a little more experimental.
The second floor of The Mix Place is dedicated to visual design, showcasing a mix of art, architecture, photography, illustration, fashion, and interior design. With a pop-up exhibition space that features a curated set of projects, you’ll be sure to find something fresh and new at The Mix Place.
Photo by kuangyocheng via Instagram.
Continue on up and you’ll start to get a glimpse of the magazine haven that many have claimed The Mix Place to be. On your way to the third floor, there are many shelves stocked full of magazines and publications. Feel free to pick up any one of them and plop yourself down in one of their comfortable sofa chairs.
The Third Floor: Museum of Magazines
The third floor is where the true magic happens. Boasting a 12 metre-long wall full of magazines, the third floor of The Mix Place is also known as the “Museum of Magazine”.
The continuous magazine shelf offers the widest range of The Mix Place’s collection, highlighting internationally renowned titles such as Monocle and Garage. Aside from the wall there are numerous shelf cabinets with each focusing on a specific topic that ranges from Food and Travel to Art and Culture.
Level 3 is where magazine enthusiasts can browse the latest trends in the fashion world, delve deep into art and culture movements happening all over the world, and get inspired for your next travel vacation.
Photo by elim407 via Instagram.
The Mix Place
Address: 880 Hengshan Road, Shanghai
Opening Hours: Daily 10:30 AM to 10 PM
Top photo by the_mix_place via Instagram.