The angular eaves of Shanghai’s glassy Start Museum slice the sky over the banks of the Huangpu River, a modern renovation built directly atop the site of China’s first ever train station, which opened in 1907. The building, which meditates on over a century of arts and enterprise in Shanghai, provides a welcome space to the second chapter of Prada’s Pradasphere. Pradasphere II, curated by creative directors stories co-creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons and running from now until January 21st, 2024, dives into the history and culture of the brand, from its humble inception in 1913 to its global salience in the present day.
The exhibition considers the multilateral nature of true luxury: the Pradasphere is located snugly within the overlapping jurisdictions of style, history, architecture, and innovation. Presenting as a plush warehouse (in Italian, magazzino), the Pradasphere exhibit displays archival and current Prada looks from men and women’s collections throughout the century. The space is staccatoed with work adjacent to and about Prada as an entity: visitors might find a wall furnished with an original Andreas Gursky photograph, or a cinema displaying a continuous program of Prada’s collaborations with Ridley Scott, Wes Anderson, David O. Russell, and Yang Fudong.
In the varied rooms within the exhibition, which are meticulously curated to invoke both the starkness of the industrial warehouse and the sumptuousness of the fashionable elite, guests can meander through a gallery, in which hangs two new artworks by British artist Damien Hirst that include thirty of the most precious handbags from the Prada archive in one of the artist’s iconic cabinets, and a Galleria bag displayed in a tank from Hirst’s Natural History series; guests might also view new material: twenty first-ever exhibited skirts have been created exclusively for the Shanghai Pradasphere. The ambience inside the Pradasphere can be credited to its sumptuous visual interior as well as its score: the entire sonic experience has been created by renowned electronic artist Plastikman (or Richie Hawtin).
If you’re unfortunate enough to have missed the Pradasphere, fear not: the exhibition will be commemorated by a book, which will document and take inventory of the contents of the magazzino, with a forward by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, reflections by Raf Simons on the process of archival curation, and an essay by Michael Rock.