What does ceramics and Childrens wear have in common? You'll be surprised. One of my proudest finds in Beijing this year is a contemporary Chinese ceramics-cum-children’s wear shop nestled in the birch tree-lined streets of Sanlitun.
Phoenix Design Shop is, well, run by Phoenix, an interior designer turned potter who makes such exquisite contemporary Chinese earthenware you will want to go home and throw away your Villeroy and Boch collection. They come at a very reasonable price too. A 30cm diameter porcelain dish will cost you around RMB180 and a handmade earthenware mug around RMB55.
At the back of Phoenix’s shop is children’s wear store Tang Roulou, founded by a French natives Amélie and Pierre-Yves. "It's a Chinese inspiration, but the spelling and pronunciation are French. Tanghulu, or 糖葫蘆 in Chinese, is a sweet all kids like. In France, we have a similar thing, which is a big sugarcoated apple. The ending, 'lou', is a cute reference to kids' stuff." In fact, you can find this accent of French cuteness everywhere you look, from the jewel-coloured fabrics, the polka-dotted, floral designs, to the little touches of Chinoise in the details. This is the kind of place where you’d wish you have a kid and could shower her with gifts. It’s that cute.
Why 糖葫蘆 is not translated to “Tang Hulu” I never quite understood, but Phoenix Design Shop and Tang Roulou could be found at:
No.30 Sanlitun Beijie, Chaoyang district