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 resided in laying out the rationale behind the approach for the retail layout.
Walking the talk
The notion of a walkable retail district where stores benefit from prominent sidewalk facades goes back to the origin of the high street. We researched the history of the very concept of shopping to understand urban design precedents. We used this information to present the design of Taikoo Li in a historical context, and animated it by integrating 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.
Partitioning of the space is achieved without compromising on the feeling of open plan environment thanks to the use of transparent surfaces and see through screens. The visitor goes through a sequence of layered spaces as if walking in and out of glazed-front shops.
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Each area has a different aesthetic to match the content presented. To provide retail design inspiration and to showcase the lifestyle being promoted at Taikoo Li, we filtered warm light through the wall panels and screens in order to add visual drama to the room.
Sliding projection screens reveal a kinetic model of the development, synchronized with a video showcase to provide a compelling stage for sharing additional detail information with visitors.
The lifestyle championed by the low-rise retail development is best captured by this large-scale architectural model. Our team took care to oversee the smallest details of the building interiors, down to fashion-conscious shopper’s figurines, in order to render the neighborhood feel of the development.