x+living transforms passage into spiritual gallery + shop in china

x+living transforms passageway into gallery + shop in china

in Nanking, China, X+Living transforms a regular passageway between the Deji Art Museum and the Deji Plaza in a standalone miniature art gallery and store, injected with a rich cultural atmosphere. The circulation area now houses the contemporary BC Glacier Water Retail Store, with a minimal ‘white forest’ interior drawn on Nanjing’s nunwood trees, enlivened by vibrant geometric artwork and sculptural details. The architects create a timeless atmosphere, ‘transferring beauty of epiphanic moments in a new form’, using art and nature images, to create a distinctive conceptual retail space with a composite approach and multidimensional function and meaning. By conveying a continuous and layered experience for visitors, the casual and elegant retail space is perfectly embedded in the closed loop of the artistic journey.


BC Glacier Water Store | all images courtesy of the author

the interior of the ‘white forest’ is reminiscent of tree branches of knotwood

based in Shanghai The concept of X+Living envisions a distinctly spiritual realm from an ordinary space, while paying tribute to the Impressionist approach. Chief architect Li Xiang transforms the passage into a poignant prelude and conclusion to an artistic journey. The design spatially translates the Chinese poem: “In my sleep I heard the autumn breeze outside, but when I awoke I could find nothing but leaves of knotwood falling all over the steps, bathed in the bright moonlight.” In a minimalist, contemporary expression, the gallery contains pure white columns to mimic the growing branches of the knotwood trees, which are ubiquitous in Nanjing. A deep river of aesthetics flows silently between the prominent paintings and the pure white ‘trees’ of the interior, giving the impression of the BC Glacial Water brand. “Exploring the extraordinary in the ordinary and revealing the hidden romance of life, the space invites people to stop, rest, observe and feel,” comments from the architects.

The top end of the knotwood branch merges into the white ceiling in a gentle curve, like a splash of water on a lake, while the bottom end of the branch spreads out into a cloud-like one-piece bar and seating area. This soft visual sensation nourishes the consumer’s sense of calm and relaxation. Rich in functionality, the bar and seating area integrate discreet built-in features to maintain a clean, minimalist atmosphere without clutter. The white round bar and macaron chairs are small, elegant and flexible, making them easy to move around during use. The carefully arranged, staggered ‘branches’ of the space form a layered landscape, immersing the consumer as they meander through the space. ‘They feel as if they have stepped from snow-covered knot trees into a painter’s sketch, resonating with their passion for beauty and nature’.

bc glacier water new store 1
the minimalist white space is enlivened by vibrant geometric artworks

vibrant artworks + sculpted statues enrich the space

A non-traditional program unites inseparable factors including art, commerce, visit and leisure – creating a self-contained, semi-open miniature art museum. The space is then further divided into functional areas such as retail, lounge and warehouse. The open space is disrupted by a single wall that functions as both a shopping area and an art display. By expanding the usable space, the X+Living has an additional curved wall around the first wall, transforming the gap between them into a warehouse with ample storage space. Illustrating the beauty of order, the white display wall shows vibrant pick-up containers with puzzle-like pieces forming a giant painting. The individual colors are interwoven into the painting with individual brushstrokes, the gradient condensing from a distance into a shimmering and vibrant rendering. The higher grilles are discreetly concealed as air outlets and windows. Meanwhile, intricate sculptures of Athena and the Thinker embellish the doorway next to the washroom entrance. The light that climbs on their elegant silhouettes creates a ritual atmosphere while the intricate twists of the space maintain the privacy of the interior.

‘The masses of color swoon like flowers in the heart, and an infinitely radiant spring blooms in the silence. It is in the most ordinary moments of life that art sprouts, slumbering beneath the surface of our everyday consciousness. A special color painting on the gallery wall and the light and air in the room create a light atmosphere and deepen our feelings for the world’, concludes the X+Living team.

bc glacier water new store 3
X+Living enriches a regular passageway between the Deji Art Museum and the Deji Plaza in Nanjing, China

bc glacier water new store 6
pure white columns imitate the branches of the knotwood trees

bc glacier water new store 7
the top end of the knotwood branch merges into the white ceiling in a gentle curve

bc glacier water new store 4
the elegant retail space is perfectly embedded in the closed loop of the artistic journey

bc glacier water new store 8
the white round bar and small macaron chairs are flexible to move as needed

bc glacier water new store 10
Athena’s sculptures are illuminated by soft spotlights creating elegant silhouettes

bc glacier water new store 9
vibrant pick-up containers decorate the walls with puzzle-like pieces that form a giant painting

project info:

name: BC Glacial Water New Store
architecture: X+Living Architects

chief architect: Li Xiang

Place: Nanking, China

designboom received this project from our ‘DIY Submissions‘, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. view more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: ravail khan | design tree