HOPE DESIGN
No.9 Yushuang Road, Chengdu
2022
@hopedesign_cn

An artistic experimental destination for local youth culture

Content plays an essential role in the era of social media. Design, coupled with space, emerges as the wellspring of innovative content. It seamlessly integrates with brands, business operation, and local culture to cater to the evolving needs of the populace.

HOPE DESIGN keenly recognizes the transformative potential that design brings to brands. The team worked with brand Shao Buchushu to craft a space that integrated diverse experimental commercial operations, to engage local young people in Chengdu and explore lifestyles relevant to them. Moreover, the project sought to figure out a pivotal question: What operational model might emerge from the fusion of space and content?”

01 Mountain creation in the bustling city: a bold fusion of art and commerce

Shao Buchushu, a brand rooted in Chengdu, sought to explore and inspire the city’s youth culture through the creation of a unique space. What form should this space take? To unravel this question, HOPE DESIGN worked closely with Shao Buchushu in this project. Choosing to embrace the concept of “explorative utopia” over a “mahjong parlor” reflective of Chengdu’s local lifestyle, they envisioned bringing a “mountain” into the heart of the bustling city.

The project is situated on the top floor of a small commercial building, where an elevator hall, concealed amidst the urban bustle, transports visitors into an another world within the city.

Exposed roof structures, pipes, steel stairs, and railings represent the city’s concrete backdrop. However, upon entering, the sand, stones, water, and verdant plants soften the spatial atmosphere, reflecting the inner essence of young people in Chengdu — a “soft heart” concealed within their tough exterior.

As urbanization progresses, interpersonal connections dwindle in the concrete jungle. People crave nature, seeking spaces where they can express individuality and connect with like-minded souls. Yet, such spaces within city centers are a rarity. Through artistic expression, HOPE DESIGN and Shao Buchushu articulated the populace’s longing for nature and the youth’s quest for self-expression within this urban sanctuary.

02 An intangible mountain

How can the imagery of nature and mountain be captured within a limited space? Leveraging the original floor height, HOPE DESIGN conceived a circulation that spirals upward and envelopes the central space. As visitors ascend the stairs, it evokes the experience of scaling a “mountain”, while enriching the spatial form. The waterscape, inspired by mountain springs, and the crunching sand and gravel underfoot in the mezzanine beckon visitors to pause.

The intangible “mountain” conveys a concept of “nothingness”, from which creation emerges. It implies that every young visitor is a cornerstone of this mountain. Here, they converge to collectively shape the utopia within their hearts, the epitome of their generation’s ideals.

Ascending to the mountain top, which is the rooftop, visitors are welcomed by an “oasis” amidst the city’s built context. Initially barren, the grass seeds sown here failed to sprout, yet within months, it flourished into a verdant urban oasis.

The “mountain” is defined by all who set foot here. HOPE DESIGN explored diverse possibilities for business operations in the space through unconventional practices. The space provides an open stage devoid of fixed roles, only opportunities.

It can transform into a fashion catwalk, which attracted renowned luxury brands for photoshoots; or it can also be a sheer bar for young people, where they gather to unwind from the secular pressure.

The meditation room nestled beneath the “valley” offers solace and introspection, yet also serves as a venue for launch events, pop-up restaurants featuring Michelin-starred chefs, or theatrical performances.

Throughout a year, the diverse activities and content of the space continuously enriched the brand’s identity. The impact of innovative practices takes time to manifest; the project, akin to an unfinished poem, will inspire and unfold further future explorations.

03 Design is more than space, it can capture the beauty of nowhere in China

In today’s commercial landscape, the operation of paces demands more than just a “landlord” mentality. Design must extend beyond the physical realm. This project exemplifies a comprehensive design approach, encompassing branding, narrative, communication, and identity. It invites individuals to commune with nature and culture, merging the smallest and grandest elements of life into a daily spiritual resonance.

HOPE DESIGN employs a holistic design approach that explores site resources, operational strategies, and humanistic symbols, seeking to forge emotional connections with nature, craft immersive scenes and experiences that captivate the public. The ultimate goal is to build diverse engaging destinations for all.

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