The two-storey showroom in the shopping centre of Chongqing’s new Raffles City complex is organised around a feature staircase that takes inspiration from the surrounding city.
The showrooms reimagine the experience of car ownership with a members’ area in each “NIO House”, offering a café, meeting rooms, a library, a children’s play area known as the Joy camp, and a forum space for events and exhibitions.
For the interior design MVRDV took advantage of, and inspiration from, the views across the Yangtze and Jialing rivers provided by the showroom’s location in the shopping centre of the new Moshe-Safdie-designed Raffles City complex.
Central to the design is the “3D City Mix” which connects the downstairs showroom to the members’ area upstairs. This staircase was inspired by the skyline of Chongqing, where buildings appear to ‘pile up’ in layers on the city’s steep hills.
The 3D City Mix, therefore, includes layers of panels hiding stairs behind, with functional spaces such as a staff room contained below. Most of these panels are finished in different varieties of wood, however, the uppermost panel is finished in blue marble, in reference to NIO’s “blue sky coming” philosophy. Blue marble is also used on the façade of the showroom facing the inside of the shopping centre, welcoming visitors with a reminder of NIO’s environmental and future-oriented ethos.
The wood theme continues throughout the design, with the various spaces of the members’ area clad in multiple types of wood to create a luxurious yet playful environment. Around the outside of both floors is the ‘riverwalk’, a pathway connected across floors by the 3D City Mix and kept free from obstacles to allow visitors to enjoy the views from the windows of the shopping centre; the riverwalk, too, is demarcated with wood flooring.
A dramatically different concept, however, is adopted for the display of the cars themselves. The centre of the showroom floor is occupied by a white strip, designed to mimic a photographer’s studio, covering the floor, ceiling, and wall.