11 February 2021

New Completed Project: Chengdu Grand Shopping Center

Two years in the making, Section A of the Chengdu Grand Shopping Center, created by Benoy for the new Generation Z”, recently officially opened its doors. Benoy was tasked with optimising the already topped-out commercial plan as well as carrying out interior design for this futuristic shopping space.

Reinventing commercial environments and shopping centres suited to different generations and consumer groups has been actively explored throughout the evolution of the commercial sector. As a pioneer in this field and having initially researched changes in consumption habits among Generations X, Y and Z [note* – see below for details], Benoy worked hard to explore novel commercial environments that would cater to the consumption habits of future consumer groups and offer a diverse mix of interactive consumer experiences both online and offline. Thanks to the confidence and support of the owner, China Grand Enterprises, the Benoy team ultimately made this vision a reality.

The Chairman of China Grand Enterprises, Mr He Guangchuan, said following the successful project opening: Faced with quite a complex structure, the designers focused on an ethos of simplicity and streamlined design techniques, inspired by a growth” theme, to transmit the extension of the space rising in layers from the lobby. With their unique eye for design, they merged the triangular building frame with the tall, narrow eight-storey superstructure to create a youthful and contemporary feel. The way they have optimised the space with split-level balconies provides this innovative space with endless possibilities. Benoy’s reputation as a top-tier international design firm is clearly richly deserved. The company’s long heritage and the burst of passion evident in the design are the most authentic expression of respect for their clients.”

Benoy put itself in the shoes of both visitors and the owner, resulting in a futuristic shopping centre that reflects the Grand Enterprises brand while also exuding leisure” and spice” that characterise the city of Chengdu. The target consumer group covers all age bands, making the provision of a full range of services an essential component of the work. It is these future consumer groups who will determine the shopping centre’s ability to achieve sustainable growth.

Situated on the southern section of Tianfu Avenue in Gaoxin District, Chengdu Grand Shopping Center effectively sits at the heart of the financial district, where north meets south. With 130,000 square metres of commercial building volume, it satisfies all the mid-range and high-end lifestyle and cultural demands of local visitors. The project is divided into Sections A and B. Section A offers a more on-trend, mainstream shopping environment, with abundant use of colour and techniques to optimize all of the available space.

The interior is a dialogue with visitors, so in terms of space, apart from ensuring a large public space with the necessary sense of airiness and room for activity, the key drivers for us in this design were to bring out human dimensions, use of high-quality materials, and the handling of interfaces,” says Benoy Director and principal project designer Qin Pang. From the incorporation of the raised slabs bordering the atrium to the mobile compartments that ascend through the floors, everything is designed to reinforce the sense of difference and experience, to promote active interactions between people and the commercial environment well into the future.”

The overall concept in the interior design, growth”, refers to more than just the project’s geographical location. Chengdu Grand Shopping Center is like a seed sown in the city’s central business district, which will take root and flourish, destined to become the future commercial heart of the area. Through this concept, we also wanted to create an enhanced brand image for China Grand Enterprises, which itself is growing ever stronger.

The commercial area of Section A comprises eight floors, and also includes two iconic, slowly ascending crystal boxes” that have been incorporated into the interior design of the atrium. These boxes not only form the visual centrepiece of the whole space, but also comprise numerous other commercial features, giving them extremely high commercial value. The staggered arrangement of the recessed floors keeps the bustling commercial scene on the ground in constant view as visitors wander along the public walkways on each floor, shopping, socializing, taking photos or sitting down for coffee amid the hive of activity.

A number of the balconies also have striking swing-out commercial areas where people can sit by the railings taking in the streams of shoppers going by. They can also log on to the centre’s own online platform, which not only provides all the shopping updates and GPS information they need, but also an immersive experience” designed especially for a Generation Z hooked on their gadgets and online lifestyles. Here they can plug into an exciting mix of the real and the virtual, where the joy of being connected with others makes for an unrivalled commercial environment.

The design of the commercial lobby is another eye-catching feature of the project, with the ceiling design projecting outwards to create a blurred distinction between the interior and the exterior. The ceiling takes inspiration from a large, leafy tree branching out in all directions. We also used the simple technique of modifying the colour of the LED ceiling lights to transform the whole mood in the lobby, giving the shopping centre more of a futuristic feel and a contemporary atmosphere.

One thing we must highlight is the marketplace that the Benoy team created especially for the project on the seventh and eighth floors. Compared with the recent trend of reconstructing real-life scenes, the team considered that this highly streamlined adaptation of traditional culture was more elegant and timeless. By simplifying the essence of Chengdu’s traditional architectural forms and contrasting the materials and colours, we were able to create two radically different situational environments and a dramatic psychological experience. The design theme of exploration” encapsulates both the search for answers and the search for excitement.

The center of the marketplace is a multifunctional staircase, which is the hub and the highlight of the whole space. As people meander up the stairs, there is a variety of outlets on each side. Some are bookstores, some sell desserts, and as customers wind their way through the neat bookshelves and dining chairs they enter another exquisite gift shop or glittering handicraft boutique. Meanwhile, the style of the well-lit area on the opposite side is noticeably more vivid and contemporary throughout, with all kinds of advertising lightboxes and display windows mounted on white modular blocks, exhibiting the latest must-have items. Scattered all around are swing-out snack bars where people sit and sip milk tea and chat amid the buzz of activity.

As visitors stroll into the exploration-themed marketplace, their mood changes constantly with the journey, from curiosity to excitement to enjoyment. This small but thoughtfully executed marketplace brims with colourful activity and commercial displays all under the same roof, reflecting young people’s desires and tastes, to produce a leisure and entertainment paradise that is right up their alley.

In the secondary space, the growth concept is continued in the bathrooms and lift lobbies, which incorporate fruit-inspired elements. Our ideas for the materials were fuelled by the relationship between the fruit skin and its core. The use of modern, arched corners creates a subtle sense of advanced technology, while the splashes of colour dotted around add a youthful air to the space.

Chengdu Grand Shopping Center is the first of three large-scale shopping centre ventures between Benoy and China Grand Enterprises to open for business. The other two projects are Taiyuan Grand Shopping Center and Changchun Grand Shopping Center, which will open their doors in the next few years. Construction is currently in full swing on Section B of Chengdu Grand Shopping Center, which is expected to open to the public in 2021.

Project overview

Scope of services: Cmmercial plan optimisation and interior design

Category: Mixed-use, commercial

Client: China Grand Enterprises

Total Floor Area: Approximately 130,000 square metres

Principle Project Designer: Qin Pang

Project Leader: Xu Chunming, Zeng Zhaohua

Main Project Designers: Ding Le, Ma Liyuan, Wang Jingyun, Shi Quan

[NB*] The design team identified groups born in three different eras, Generations X, Y and Z, each having their own particular consumption habits. Generation X, born before 1980, are more conservative and rational in their spending habits. Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1995, seek quality of life and have higher spending power. In terms of where to position Chengdu Grand Shopping Center, the team and the owner focused their attention on Generation Z, born after 1995 or 2000 in the age of the information boom. They mature early, have diverse consumption habits, and place importance on interactive experiences and personalised consumption. Surveys show that 53% of Generation Z prefer to shop offline and frequently take part in shopper experiences. This point raised challenges for Benoy in the design of this project, but also a brand new opportunity to show what we are capable of.



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