Designers: Elena Galli Giallini Ltd and Spawton Architecture
"This lower ground shopping mall - arcade (GFA: 18,000sqm) forms part of a mixed-use complex placed in a prime location in Chengdu's major shopping district. The development (GFA: over 250,000sqm) features low rise, heritage led modern architecture, with open air plan, lane-driven pedestrian style shopping and recreational area. Through, traditional courtyards and buildings with the Buddhist DACI TEMPLE as the composition focus. The project brief required an innovative approach to set this shopping mall apart from conventional images and formulas.
The scheme stems from the considerations that modern shopping malls need to change the role they perform in peoples' lives, becoming hubs for urban lifestyle that includes work, play, eat and shop. Exemplifying this new approach, the project introduces novelty in design, strong individuality of spaces and forms producing complex relationships and distinctiveness.
The project refers to the underground world of the Chinese landscape, rocks symbolism and caves imagery. Juxtapositions of old and new, heritage and nature, place and history were the essential themes. The design creates an environment which relates precisely to the place history, culture and local spirit (its Genius Loci) avoiding indistinct shopping mall configurations. The scheme privileges interconnectedness forming a loop of public space flanked by high street retail. Functionally specific areas generate memorable spaces, immediately recognizable by their sculptural quality. Ceiling shape, lighting and signage systems enhance focal points and facilitate navigation. As metaphorical massive caves, escalator lobbies display organic forms and striking proportions; opened toward the arcade, elicit a feeling of expansion. Inside, variety of man-made rock wall formations in natural stones.
Throughout the scheme, natural materials, stones, meshes and metals with different textures, finishes and combinations interplay emphasizing naturalness. Colors and lights enhance subtlety. A dynamic environment, attractive visual elements are key to providing leisure and entertainment for compelling experiences for the customers."