The Origin of the River, the gateway plaza in a forest-themed retail mall

The Origin of the River is the main entry plaza in C-Mall (CIFI Shopping Center). This new development is located on the north side of Nibatuo Forest Park in Xindu District in Chengdu and is adjacent to the Sichuan Conservatory of music. With a total land area of 45,000 square meters, C-Mall is designed to bring the nature of the forest park into its multi-layered architecture complemented by beautiful music played throughout its landscape space, creating a unique retail experience.

Elements of nature and music are integrated into the entire site’s interior and exterior space. These elements unify architecture, interior, and landscape design language and are infused into various areas. With its well-rounded design, c-Mall provides a rich shopping and lifestyle experience for fashionistas, residents of nearby neighborhoods, families, students, and children.
We imagine this development as an architectural marriage of seven elements; hence seven themed zones evoke different reactions based on the retail program, layout, exterior functional space, and urban framework.

1. The Origin of the River (Gateway Plaza with landmark bridge)
2. Starlight Meadow (Green Avenue)
3. Tidal Sound Beach
4. Valley of Wind (Inner Commercial Street)
5. Green Post (Arrival Plaza)
6. Green Livingroom
7. Green Belt Garden

The Origin of the River Plaza – Gateway Plaza in the core landscape area

This plaza acts as the window facing the city and connects with nature while attracting people simultaneously. To complement the grand gesture of the architectural façade and sunken plaza by the main entrance, the paving pattern of the entire site converges from three directions towards the main entrance. One of the geometries of the paving pattern blends in with the footbridge crossing the sunken plaza. The undulating parapet wall of the footbridge creates an eye-catching “landform.” These landscape treatments make this space an Instagramable spot that attracts visitors, connects pedestrian flow from the Starlight Medow in the south, and creates an elegant experience.

The Experiences and design of “Passing Through” and “Resonating with Nature” in The Origin of the River

• Intertwined vertical green and stone walls give the illusion that you’re deep in nature. The footbridge on top of the sunken plaza allows visitors to pass through the valley and admire and photograph the experience.
• The design language of the parapet wall of the footbridge creates a sculptural yet welcoming space around the “valley.” The landscape design makes the parapet wall look like a leaf that breathes or a life form with stretching or bending. The sculptural parapet wall would become dense and tight at the turning point and loosen up like a leaf vein in the straight portion. ChromeFlair paint is applied on the parapet wall and the color of the paint changes per different light sources at other times of the day.
• The overall form of the footbridge parapet wall is carefully designed via GRASSHOPPER software. The design team repeatedly calculated and examined the design to find the best size & density of the stainless-steel tubes and the appropriate gap in between tubes. The design team also studied the connection of the parapet wall of the footbridge with the main architectural structure to find out if any structural collision occurred.
• Water fountains can be seen on both sides of the parameter wall of the footbridge, making it look like the sunken plaza’s water is extended onto the bridge And creating a dynamic effect. These dry fountains also activate the central circulation axis leading to the mall.
• We put more emphasis on the directional paving pattern in the entry area. With the paving pattern and feature lamp post, this area becomes a flexible space that could be used individually or as an integrated guiding node. The feature lamp post looks like a leaf is growing from the ground with a liner pattern. The lighting on this lamp post is programmed to have a breathing effect and becomes a light source for the area and a feature sculpture.

Vision for The Origin of the River Plaza

We expect the landscape of The Origin of the River Plaza in Cmall to be a piece of beautiful music carried by the wind to reach the exterior and interior space of the shopping mall. The elegant melody with rich layers also expresses the sound of nature.

Project location: Chengdu Xindu CIFI Cmall, No. 1088, Yuying Road, Xindu District, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, China

Design year: 2019-2021

Year Built: 2021

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