The recently completed Funmix Shopping Centre has become a benchmark commercial project highlighting a commitment in China, by many experienced developers, to the improvement of the social landscapes in and around retail zones of China.
Long gone are designs for pseudo-plaza carparks that have long scarred shopping streets and commercial centres. With them are gone the opportunities for countless vehicles to clog these spaces and make them both non-functional and unpleasant eyesores. At the Funmix Shopping Centre these are replaced by a series of open, vibrant, inviting and bold pedestrian spaces that have colour, movement, sound and vegetation. The spaces encourage social interactions not only by allowing people to enjoy them passively, but also actively.
Located just 20km from the centre of Beijing, the centre opened to huge local acclaim with residents eagerly awaiting its arrival and enthusiastically celebrating its opening. The Funmix Shopping Centre is highly valued by its creators, highlighting both Vanke and Cofco’s commitment to the environment, sustainability and innovative design.
At street level The Funmix Shopping Centre features an open commercial plaza at each of its three major entrances. Paved in a rhythmic wave pattern these extend and connect through the centre’s ground floor interior. The plazas are simple and subtle and a perfect backdrop for the playful seating dotted throughout the space. The seats – circular, yellow bubbles – subtly illuminate the spaces at night forming both highlights and intriguing objects for children to explore. Kids are often seen climbing them as though they were actually part of a playscape. Likewise in the warmer months kids can be heard screaming in joy as they jump and run and play in the water jets adjacent to the south entry.
Between the entry plazas are a series of simple gardens, featuring mounded, ornamental lawns and feature trees. Complemented by beautiful, organic, mosaic seats, shimmering brilliantly with their white and blue tones, the elements within these spaces combine effortlessly to offer a quiet, safe and relaxing respite, away from the main bustle of the entry plazas. With Beijing’s minimal rainfall in mind, raingardens are incorporated into the gardens, as are custom-designed tree pits, directing all available water towards the trees.
Upon the roof is the highlight of the development, an animated, playful playscape aimed at children and teenagers. As with most commercial roof spaces, it is dominated by exposed ducting, pipes, and plant equipment. Rather than hiding this plant equipment, the original concept* aimed to express them as part of the design thus providing a compelling canvas upon which to create a unique space. LSA Design’s revised design kept the essence of the concept and grounded it in reality, keeping the brightly coloured plant equipment mainly as a backdrop, and incorporating oversized pipes amongst the more traditional play equipment to connect visually with their surroundings. More bubble seats allow parents to sit while their kids play, and again, illuminate the space at night. ‘F’’U’’N’’M’’I’’X’ is spelt out in large illuminated red climbing boxes while the paving retains the stencilled wordplay of the original concept, with cheerful adjectives scattered all over the roof.
The Funmix Shopping Centre’s landscape is seen as one of the project’s most critical drawcards. It encapsulate and defines the ‘Funmix’ brand as one of context, energy, boldness and playfulness.
Location | Beijing China
Client | Beijing Vanke Ltd / Cofco
Date | Completed January 2015
Design Team | LSA Design – Marc Deuschle / Alex Zhang / Nicholas Pierson www.lsadesign.com.au
*The concept for Funmix Shopping Centre was originally directed by Marc Deuschle while principal of Loci Studio. LSA Design, was invited by the client to revise the design and control the design implementation.
Other Consultants |
Building Architects | Woods Bagot / CPG Architects & Planners
Local Landscape Design Institute | Miland Design
Image credits | LSA Design / Vanke Beijing