Chengdu Sino Ocean Taikoo Li

Showsuite design for Swire Properties

In the competitive real estate market within China, the ability to immerse potential tenants in the details and lifestyle of a development apart is key to communicate the concepts behind it. We were asked to develop the showsuite content and design for the retail development of Sino Ocean Taikoo Li, in the rapidly growing city of Chengdu, with an eye to delivering a message about the quality of life and enjoyment that could be found there.

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The challenge

The large-scale retail development at Taikoo Li pushes new boundaries for urban design in China. Rather than constructing a typical mall, the shopping units are laid out in pedestrian friendly lanes to create a welcoming streetscape and a more intimate and low-rise experience. Since this approach is not common in new developments in China, our challenge lay in laying out the rationale behind the innovative design of the retail layout.

Our Approach

The notion of a walkable retail district where stores benefit from prominent sidewalk facades has a long track record, so we researched the history of shopping to find design precedents. We used this info to present the design of Taikoo Li in a historical context and animated it by showing the contemporary life and culture that is encouraged to flourish in the development. By developing the content first and then seeing through the implementation in video, graphics and interiors, we delivered a comprehensive and holistic experience for visitors.

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The screens and partitions of the entry area are able to display a lot of information through projected videos, but the transparent surfaces and metal patterns also introduce a layered sequence of spaces.

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Each area has a different aesthetic and feeling to fit the information presented. To show the retail possibilities and the lifestyle promoted at Taikoo Li, we filtered warm light through the wall panels to add some visual drama to the room.

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The stage of the next room was set by sliding projector screens to reveal additional 3d details of the development in a kinetic model that was synchronised with a video presentation.

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The videos and infographic animations located throughout the showsuite were carefully art directed and reviewed by us to make sure they matched our content storyline.

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The lifestyle championed by the low-rise retail development model needed a strong representation so we designed a large-scale model, overseeing the smallest details of model building interiors and even the clothing of the scale figures, to show off the neighbourhood life in the development.

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A smaller-scale interactive model was used to show the connectivity and context of the development. Different functions are shown with coloured lighting to explain how the retail, residential and office zones of Taikoo Li work together.

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The final area of the showsuite, where meetings and discussions could take place, was designed to be peaceful and contemplative – eliminating distractions and focusing on the human-scale qualities found in Taikoo Li.