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Retail & Consumer Design Interiors

Subterranean department store offers immersive shopping experience

“The inside/outside architectural concept is compelling. Though it’s arisen from planning restrictions, it’s the antidote to the bland sealed-box model,” Jennifer de Vere-Hopkins, Judge

Project: SKP Chengdu

Location: Chengdu, China

Award: Retail & Consumer Design Interiors: Retail Chains, Department Stores, Shopping Centres Large & Small, Gold, 2023

Design Practice: Sybarite 

Client: SKP

Sunken luxury department store and retail experience SKP Chengdu offers a new blueprint for subterranean mixed-use retail and lifestyle. Located in green belt land, the challenge was that nothing could be built above ground level. The solution was to create a sustainable parkland above ground, with a retail offering below.

The two are connected through biophilic design where the concept of a botanical quilt of landscaping purposefully connects with the parallel world of architecture and interior spaces below. Strongly themed zones below ground have a cinematic and sometimes retro quality and offer an immersive experience with distinct changes in atmosphere.

Design highlights

Two double height spaces of three rotating skins at different speeds signify the centrifugal heart of the building. Warm sodium light picks up the material textures: shuttered, hammered and poured concrete. A transition ‘time tunnel’ bridge connection features psychedelic lighting in dystopic sepia tones of pinks and oranges. The department store itself offers an elegant backdrop to established brands and features marble, brushed metallics, carved Corian and shades of terrazzo.

  • SKP Chengdu
  • SKP Chengdu
  • SKP Chengdu
  • SKP Chengdu
  • SKP Chengdu
  • SKP Chengdu
  • SKP Chengdu
  • SKP Chengdu

Photo credit: SKP and Nick Kuratnik, Sybarite.

  • DESIGN PRINIPALS: Torquil McIntosh, Simon Mitchell
    DIRECTORS: Nathalie Bergvall, Aldo Sanzò
    PROJECT LEAD: Enrico Falchetti
    FAÇADE LEAD: Borja Nunez
  • INTERIORS LEAD: Nigel Bradbury, Curro Perez Alcantara
    SKP-S LEAD: Adam Freestone

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