Along with the fast paced developments in this area of China, the city is expanding and the former department store built only a decade ago needs a new face. Following international design trends responding to the rise of online retail, there is a need for a more focused and impactful shopping experience among the growing middle class of this emerging city.
For the refurbishment of the main department store in Tongliao – a city of 1 million in the eastern extremity of the Inner Mongolian province in China – a few other factors were taken into consideration: the need for more of a socio-cultural center in the life of the city and the limited available options for gathering as well as a desire for a new landmark for this developing city.
Preserving the initial boundary of the building, the walls retract parallel to the street thus creating a transition space between public and private. This effect is enhanced by the access through a ramp elevated above a sunken plaza. This transition across gives way to a sense of discovery and adventure. The resulting intimate open space in the sunken plaza is particularly appreciated in the context of a vast and busy intersection that sees a lot of traffic daily and was designed with the intention of stimulating social interaction and a sheltering space.
The monolithic volume floats over a retracted ground floor while a number of folds in the facade add to the sculptural envelope while encompassing adjacent commercial space on the perimeter.
The symbolism behind the name -Gold Leaf- is reflected in the combination of materials and the dynamics of their relationship. Along with the natural elements the interior brings, the mineral aspect of gold as an element enforces its perennial character of nature.
The glazed facade of the ground floor translates into a neutral theme in the interior design where high-end jewelry, cosmetics and leather items make it suitable for a winter theme – neutral bright monochromes and minimalist design – that enhance the display and bring the focus to detail.
The above levels continue the seasonal theme by pairing womenswear with warm autumn colors and design elements reminiscent of fallen leafs, young fashion with spring pastels and summer brights for the home design, outdoor apparel and menswear level.
With the Gold Leaf Plaza project, the transformation in the exterior design and the upgrade in functionality achieved a refreshing effect within the city life and through architectural design it brought it closer to the people’s interest.