THINGS HAVE THE POWER TO ENHANCE OUR LIVES. 美的力量 – 来自于提高生活品质的物品.
Glenn Schuitmann is one of those people you definitely want to have around to make your day better. First of all he is a very kind gentleman, secondly he has an extremely good taste and lastly he is among the few ones in Beijing to serve cold sparkling water instead of that horrible boiling lemon water you normally get during meetings.
Glenn, interior designer, is currently running one of my favourite curated shops ever, Pop Up, in the heart of Sanlitun, together with his Chinese business partner, engineer and architect, Vito. The two make an extremely cool and well-matched duo. Meeting them for a chat and – again – bubbly water was one of the best ideas I’ve had in a long time.
Glenn，这位室内设计师，和他的中国商业合伙人一起，工程师兼建筑师Vito，目前在三里屯的中心经营一家我最爱的买手店Pop Up。他们两位简直就是超级酷的绝配。跟他们见面聊天 – 还有（忍不住又提一遍的）气泡水 – 是我很久以来最好的决定之一。
Like the perfect host, Glenn walked me through the different areas of the store, sharing stories about every single piece I was interested in. Then we sat down on a perfectly designed sofa with linen lining (and you should know how I love linen) and talked a bit more about his dreams for the future, relationship with customers and vintage European furniture.
What is Pop Up?
At Pop Up we focus on curation, on what we feel narrows people’s choices to something special. Curation is not only on things, we would love different elements to pop up in our space: culture, wine, music, movies. We basically want to give people a broader curated lifestyle.
When did you come to China, and how did Pop Up happen?
I came to China for the first time 9 years ago on holiday. I spent 5 weeks traveling here and I started questioning if Europe, where I was bound for, was really the place for me. Then I got to Beijing and I immediately fell in love with city. I feel this is the place to make unconventional choices – there are opportunities to pursue if you are willing to work hard. Pop Up is one of these choices. Irrational but on the other hand so logical – I’ve been collecting beautiful things for my whole life, and now I’m simply sharing them with my customers.
9年前我第一次来到中国旅游。我在这里旅行了5周，我开始问自己，归程的欧洲是否真的适合我自己。然后我来到北京，我立刻就爱上了这座城市。我觉得在这里你不必循规蹈矩 – 只要你愿意努力工作，这里有的是可以追寻的机会和梦想。Pop Up就是其中之一。不合常理又充满逻辑 – 我这一生一直在收藏美丽的东西，现在我可以和我的顾客分享它们了。
What’s the role Vito plays in this adventure?
Oh! This would have never happened without him! I’ve been in China 7 years before meeting him – and I feel I spent the whole time finding him. He is from China, studied in Ireland and worked in NY before coming back here to work for ARUP in their Beijing offices. When we met, almost 3 years ago, he had just gone solo and we started working on a project together. We clicked right away. We are different in a very complementary way. I’m very detail oriented, he is more practical. We are a very tight-knit team.
哦！没有他这一切都不会实现！遇到他之前我在中国已经待了7年 – 我觉得我花了一辈子的时间才找到他。他来自中国，在爱尔兰读书后又去纽约工作，然后又来到北京在ARUP的北京办公室工作。当我们三年前在北京相识时，他刚刚开始自己做事，我们为一个项目一起合作。我们两个一拍即合。我和他虽然很不同，但非常互补。我非常注重细节，而他更实际。我们作为一个团队天衣无缝。
How important is the relationship you establish with your customers?
Let me start by saying that without Vito and me being here all the time our brand doesn’t exist. We love to sit down with customers and share stories about every single piece we have. We offer people a different experience and part of it is about connecting with us. We focus on service – which I think is what currently lacks in retail.
让我这样说吧，如果没有我和Vito一直在这里，我们的品牌不会存在。我们热衷于和顾客一起坐下聊聊，分享我们所拥有的每件物品的故事。我们提供给人们不同的体验，其中一部分就是把大家联系在一起。我们也注重服务 – 我认为这是目前零售业所欠缺的。
Where do you source the pieces you showcase?
We have a small factory where we produce some of the furniture pieces you can see in the shop [like the fantastic sofa we are sitting on!] and where we fix antiques that we source in very rustic conditions. And we also have a very small ceramic factory in Jingdezheng where we produce the pieces we design ourselves. And we finally import some antique pieces from Belgium. And, most importantly, we keep our eyes open all the time – the best next piece might just be in front of our eyes and we don’t want to miss it!
我们有一家小工厂可以生产一些家具（比方说你现在坐着的这件漂亮的沙发！），我们也可以在那里修补一些淘到的古董，有时这些古董保存的状况不太理想。在景德镇我们还有家小的瓷器工厂，在那里我们生产一些自己设计的产品。我们还从比利时进口一些古董。最重要的是，我们一直睁大双眼在寻找 — 那件最美的物品也许就在眼前而我们可不想错过它！
From a business point of view, is it easy to sell you lifestyle product?
We have only been open to the public for three weeks, so it’s a little bit early to balance the books. It takes time to build a solid customer base and brand awareness – and we knew it when we started. But I must say we are pleasantly surprised by how things are going. People are buying – but slightly different items from what we think they would. Very often they ask us to design things specifically for them. That’s when Pop Up works tightly together with Pop Up Creative [the interior design firm the duo runs in the same building]. And everything comes together.
我们刚刚对公众开放了三周而已，所以现在下结论还为时过早。建立忠实的客户群体和品牌意识需要时间 – 这是我们开始创业时就已经意识到的。但是我必须要说的是，整个发展还是令人惊喜的。人们的确在购买 – 尽管购买的物品跟我们预测的不同。他们经常会让我们专门为其设计产品。这时Pop Up就会紧密的和Pop Up Creative（这两位在同一座办公楼里经营的室内设计工作室）一起工作。这样一切就会水到渠成。
What’s your dream for the future?
My dream is happening now! We made it come true when we opened the space – and every day we have the possibility to focus on what excites us and what we want to offer. Our business is about promoting quality of life. When I was a child I used to buy old things and collect them. I feel I’ve spent my whole life doing this – and now I have the opportunity to share this passion. And to make a living out of it. It doesn’t seem bad to me.
我的梦想正在发生呀！当我们开始经营这家店时，就已经把它变成了现实 – 每一天我们都可以关注令人兴奋的事情和我们可以提供给公众的事物。我们的生意就是为了提高人们的生活品质。当我还是个孩子时，我就总是购买和收藏旧物。我感觉这辈子我都在做这件事 – 现在我终于有机会来分享我的激情所在。并以此谋生。对我来说，这听上去不错。
And while normally overstock things is seen as a bad habit – somehow connected to the consumer attitude people recently seem to have – I strongly believe in the power of things. I believe they can make your life so much better. Of course you need to be able to establish a connection with them, to know their stories, to understand their beauty.
一般来说过度收藏是个坏习惯 – 这好像跟最近的顾客态度有关 – 但我对事物的力量充满信心。我坚信它们能让生活变得更加美好。当然你需要和它们建立联系，了解它们背后的故事，并懂得欣赏它们的美。
And I think this is exactly what the dynamo Glenn & Vito are doing – they are sharing their love for the pieces they stock in their amazing space. And I feel Beijing needs this a lot. Well done.
我认为这正是精力充沛的Glenn和Vito在做的事情 – 在他们完美的空间里充满了艺术品般的收藏，而他们毫不吝啬的分享对它们的爱。我觉得这正是北京所需要的。做得漂亮。
Glenn e Vito hanno dato vita ad uno showroom incredibile – decisamente uno dei concept shops più belli che io abbia mai visto. A meta’ strada tra il Paese delle Meraviglie e l’armadio di Narnia, e’ possibile acquistare mobili, complementi d’arredo e bellissimi oggetti provenienti da Cina e, in alcuni casi, dall’Europa. Perché – e sono completamente d’accordo con Glenn – gli oggetti belli hanno il potere di migliorare le nostre vite.
For the lovely chat with Glenn and Vito at Pop Up I was delighted to wear:
Flaming0 sweater火烈鸟上衣: H&M
Black skirt黑色裙子: Zara
Pictures of the three of us together was taken with my Sony NEX-5T.
For all the other pictures, special thanks to Pop Up.
Translation by Vivian Zhou.