- Architect In Charge:Christina Luk
- Design Team:Yiren Ding, Vivi Du, Coca Gao, Edoardo Nieri, Haixin Wang, Weifeng Yu
- Client:Fresh Mart
- Construction:Sendu Construction and Decoration Co., Ltd.
- Display Furniture:Foshan Xingda Shelf Co., Ltd.
- Loose Furniture:Woteng Furniture
- VI:Shanghai RONG Design and Consulting Company
Text description provided by the architects. The concept of supermarket was born as a by-product of the fast-paced lifestyle in the United States back in the 1930s. Most supermarkets in China adopt the conventional spatial model based on efficiency but often lack a memorable character. Commissioned by Fresh Mart, a new brand established in Changsha, to design its store identity, Lukstudio has reinterpreted elements from common Chinese markets and street booths, giving the familiar typology an unfamiliar facelift.
Located next to several residential compounds in the new CBD of Changsha, the given irregular site comes with two entrances, one facing the Pingsha street and the other connecting to the Hi Park Mall. Throughout the supermarket, a wooden frame is used as an infrastructure that ties all the different sections: fresh vegetables, fishmonger, butchery, dry goods, restaurant, cafe and bakery. Each section is then characterized by an assembly of relevant features or textures.
The street facade and the nearby dry goods section are marked by stacking milk crates which convey a sense of order among the busy racks and double as spectacular lanterns at night. At the fruit and vegetable section, the idea is to create the experience of walking down the aisles in a local Chinese outdoor market, a series of metal mesh canopies mimicking tarpaulin is the key feature. At the corner where the butchery turns into the fishmonger, apart from a lively wall graphic linking the sections, a material gradation along the counter intends to smooth the transition. Inspired by the sturdy chopping board often used by butchers, wooden blocks of different depths line the meat section and gradually change into waterproof stone finish surrounding the self-serviced fish tanks.
The restaurant is conceived as an open-air street food stall. Hovering over an array of refrigerated goods and seating, the wooden frame structure here transforms into an ad-hoc pitched roof with the addition of corrugated panels. Lattice screens are used as a visually permeable barrier between dining and shopping, but also a unifying texture wrapping around counters and equipment. Bamboo tables, rattan chairs and flagstone pavers together compose a Chinese vernacular, recalling the memory of having humble yet authentic dishes at an outdoor local joint.
Following the flagstone pavement, the “open-air” food stall leads to a more intimate bakery and café area. By replacing corrugated panels into purlin structure, the wooden frame gives form to a gable-roof cabin, optimizing the original low-ceiling space into a cozy hangout with terraced seating. At the bakery cabin, a grid extends from the gable-roof structure and becomes the framework of an orderly bread display. At the check-out area, molded strawboard with a weaving profile is used to line the counter front and the menu above. Its natural warm tone and rich texture help compose the overall welcoming ambience.
With the proliferation of e-commerce, ordering online grocery has become a norm in China. The purpose of a physical supermarket therefore is no longer about providing convenience but experience. It should be a platform where customers learn about new knowledge on food and preparation; it could grow a community where the elders pass on lifestyle tips to the youths; it is simply a place to be social and meet others. By creating vernacular ambience in a modern supermarket, Lukstudio wishes to reinforce the collective memory of a vivid Chinese marketplace.