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Prada opens ‘Pradasphere II’ exhibition in Shanghai, reveals China expansion plans

Italian luxury house Prada opened its ‘Pradasphere II’ exhibition on December 7 in Shanghai, as the firm sets its sights on mainland China for expansion in 2024.

SEE ALSO: Prada Group appoints new design directors for Prada, Miu Miu brands

Located at the Start Museum, on Ruining Road, in the Xuhui District,  Pradasphere II is a public exhibition that traces the history and culture of Prada from its origins in 1913 to the present day.

Told through a selection of stories curated by co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, the exhibition showcases 400 artifacts — both physical and digital, drawn from the fashion archives, as well as decades-long engagements across art, architecture, culture, and sport.

Staged as a ‘Magazzino’, the Italian word for warehouse, the Pradasphere II exhibit was designed in collaboration with 2×4, the New York City and Beijing-based design studio, and serves as a cross-section of the Prada world; constructed of industrial warehouse shelving lined with precious pink silk velvet, and sectioned into different areas.

Running through the exhibit is the main ‘Magazzino’ corridor, showcasing nearly 200 looks from Prada’s collections. The corridor serves as the gateway to an array of special rooms, each designed to evoke uniquely Prada spaces, including ‘Fratelli Prada’, a recreation of a fragment of the original Fratelli Prada shop in Milan, made up of super-high-resolution videos of original objects and recreations of murals commissioned by Mario Prada in the early 1920s.

Other themed rooms include ‘Prada A Milano’ showcasing photographs by Albert Watson and specimens from Miuccia Prada’s earliest Nylon collection, and “Gallery”, featuring new artworks by Damien Hirst alongside iconic handbags from the Prada archive.

The exhibition also extends into other spaces, such as ‘Green Store’, which recreates a fragment of Prada’s iconic store display, and ‘Cinema’, presenting a continuous program of Prada collaborations with renowned directors.

‘Architecture’ offers never-before-displayed documents related to major Prada architecture projects, while ‘Materiality’ showcases first-ever exhibited skirts created exclusively for the Shanghai Pradasphere.

Finally, visitors can also immerse themselves in Prada-themed cafe and a gift shop in a repurposed train parked alongside the museum.

At the exhibit opening, Prada chief executive Gianfranco D’Attis said the company is looking to double its business in key luxury market China, even as the nation battles slowing growth in luxury demand and economic headwinds.

“We have a lot of ambitions here in China, to double our business in the upcoming midterm future. And with that comes also increasing our investments,” D’Attis told reporters in Shanghai.

“Not only the number of stores is important to us, but the quality of stores, bigger stores with more categories, with more localized products, with more experiences, with more hospitality, more events, more special capsules,” he said.

Pradasphere II is free and open to the public from December 7 to January 21, 2024 at the Start Museum.