Located in Xi’an’s Central Business District, Times Centre is a Grade-A commercial tower of 230 m with a 5 level retail podium of 24m. It is currently under construction and being developed by the Yongwei Real Estate Development Company of Zhengzhou.
The commercial tower is situated along Jinye 1st Road to the north and S 3rd Ring road to the south and Zhangba 2nd road to the west. Part of a large high tech business district masterplan, the tower is amongst several high profile commercial towers in this district that is changing Xi’an’s skyline and creating a new urban centre.
The project’s design brief consists of the interior design of the Sales Centre within the Ground floor area of the Times Centre Commercial Tower as part of the sales and marketing of the commercial spaces, a circulation connection to the visitor’s lift, three showroom offices for exhibit on the 7th floor and finally the interior planning of a Support Area offering conference- meeting rooms, leisure, social and relaxation facilities, shower and dressing rooms, massage zone and a café lounge.
An homage to the contemporary architecture of the SOM designed commercial tower, the interior design of the sales centre re-interprets the abstract expressionism of the tower and creates a sculptural volumetric play to compliment the subtle shifting volumes that comprise the tower’s overall design. Creating a dynamic play with large white pixel volumes interspersed with recessed lights, the sales centre is no longer purely a commercial space, but a hybrid space of a social gathering space, a cultural exchange space, a commercial space, an event space, and an urban public realm. It invites the public into a world stripped of all commercial – retail semantics and into a realm of transparency, simplicity and resolutely modern.
Composed of a volumetric layering strategy, the functional aspects of the sales centre are dissimulated into the pixilated feature wall. Made from “corian” finished panels over plywood substructure, the feature wall is a functional sculpture that incorporates a reception area, exhibition and display areas, a café and bar into one coherent feature wall. Corian homogenizes the overall finish into one material, one articulated pixilated block. With no seams and no joints, it is a block of pixilated volume. Pure and articulated, the white mass plays with the shadows and recessed accent lighting.
Richness of the space is exemplified by the complexity of shadow and light.
The principal space is a large loft inspired lounge composed of multiple zones for relaxation, socialization and discussions. Its transparent and overtly minimal space transcribes a subtle sophistication of the sales centre as a typology, especially in China. It removes conventional “bling-bling” and faux materials that are often associated with developer’s sales centre and rebrand the nature of the function into a blurred social interactive space. It becomes a museum-like space with the sobriety and calmness one often encounters in public cultural facilities.