New Shanghai mall has world’s biggest spiral escalator.

April 11, 2015 in Vacations by Nico from Bari, Apulia, Italy

New World Daimaru

New World Daimaru

New World Daimaru is the latest retail addition to Nanjing Dong Lu, on the corner of Henan Nan Lu opposite Forever 21. The vast site has been hidden behind scaffolding for a good part of the past year, but it’s now emerged – albeit for a soft opening. Hidden behind the dull, grey exterior of the complex are glitzy crystal chandeliers, upscale branded goods stores, a spectacular retractable roof and escalators with a twist. Literally.

In the central atrium there are two of the world’s largest spiral escalators. The moving stairways are built by Mitsubishi, which is the only company in the world to have engineered this type of escalator. According to the Japanese brand, the ones in New World Daimaru are the biggest in the world.

Only moving upwards, the stairways are fairly slow and despite the claims over their size they only go from one floor to the next rather than all the way up, meaning they quickly lose any vague Charlie and the Chocolate Factory magic. Nevertheless, plenty of shoppers seemed to be enjoying the novelty on our visits. Once you’re sick of riding the state of the art escalators, hop on one of the lifts (with buttons that look like jewels) and head towards the top of the building, with a retractable roof that can open up to let in sunshine during days with fine weather.

Otherwise the mall is much the same as other high-end shopping centres in the city. Walking through the main entrance, you’re greeted by a huge ‘Coming Soon’ billboard for Gucci and further down the corridor, a similar baby blue Tiffany and Co. signboard. Beauty counters from Lancome, Shiseido, Fancl, Chanel, Dior and many other big brands are already open however, and surround the main atrium on the ground floor.

Venturing further, you can peruse Japanese lingerie brand Peach John and Wacoal, pick up some intricate embroidered pieces by Xiu Niang or get some shiny new travel bags and accessories from Voyage Time. The fifth level houses brands such as New Balance, The North Face and Adidas for sports chic – unfortunately, men get only one targeted level of fashion. Future openings are on the way from Little Marc Jacobs, Kenzo Kids and Bean Pole kids, once work is complete.

If hunger pangs hit you while shopping, the lower basement has an assortment of food counters including Lilian Bakery and Berry Berry Berry. Only one restaurant is open, on the sixth floor Smiley Peat Garden promises Italian fare.

It’s all a bit crystally and shiny inside, with large chandeliers and a surplus of bling. But it’s extremely spacious and quiet, at least for now. A fraction of the mall (mostly the food section in the basement and the children’s section) is still under construction so it would be wise to wait a couple more weeks to pop by if it’s the shopping you’re after. But to ride a curved escalator, we say there’s no time like the present.

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