Flourishing Grandbuy: Renovation of a Department Store

Reconstructing the Consumers' Route for Success

The renovation of a department store is a complex endeavor that requires careful consideration of various aspects. Among these, the consumers' route, akin to the "blood vessels" of commercial spaces, plays a crucial role in the overall system. This inspired Hu Chen, the design director of Grandbuy, to focus on reconstructing the consumers' route using spatial design techniques. The goal was to enhance the flow of consumers, attract more visitors, and elevate the brands within the store to improve revenues.

Grandbuy, an old department store located on a famous pedestrian street in Guangzhou, China, consisted of two buildings constructed at different times. This led to a spatial misalignment that hindered the consumers' experience and affected their revenues. To address this, Hu Chen's design team embarked on a renovation project that aimed to connect the buildings both spatially and commercially.

The design team implemented a four-step approach to achieve their vision. First, they formed a central axis and a core atrium to improve the holistic relationship between the new and old buildings, ensuring a seamless flow for consumers and enhancing the visibility and accessibility of the shops. Second, they added sightseeing elevators and escalators to improve vertical accessibility, eliminating cold business areas and attracting more visitors. Third, they employed visual design techniques, incorporating innovative expressions of cultural elements and commercial lighting, to highlight the presence of Grandbuy and attract more consumers. Finally, they optimized the first-floor brands according to the new consumers' route, creating a comprehensive cosmetic aggregation that became the most influential in South China.

The renovation project involved a wide range of materials and construction techniques. One notable example is the use of lightweight aluminum plates with a changeable color system. These plates were cast into the shape of Guangzhou architecture tiles, complemented by illusion lighting and computer imaging RGB color LED lamp bead matrix. This design element allowed the department store to stand out among the neighboring buildings, creating a visually striking entrance. The chosen materials were cost-effective, easy to maintain, and sustainable, combining practicality and aesthetics.

The Grandbuy renovation project spanned a total volume of 66,300 square meters. It was designed in March 2018 and completed in September 2020. Since its reopening, the department store has experienced a significant boost in sales, surpassing 32.5 million RMB on the first day alone. This success can be attributed to the optimized consumers' route, improved cultural and aesthetic expressions, and enhanced integrality and accessibility of the space. The renovation has not only revitalized an old property but also contributed to the local economy and enriched the lives of consumers.

The Grandbuy renovation project faced several challenges, including the lack of connection between the old and new buildings, weak outdoor image, unclear indoor guidance, and low passenger flow through rate. By addressing these challenges and focusing on connecting the buildings to attract and guide consumer consumption, the design team successfully transformed the department store into a cohesive, fashionable, and recognizable space.

This renovation project has garnered recognition and accolades, including the Bronze A' Design Award in the Interior Space, Retail, and Exhibition Design category in 2023. The award recognizes the outstanding creativity and ingenuity of the design, which incorporates best practices in art, science, design, and technology. It exemplifies the strong technical and creative skills of the design team and contributes to improving the quality of life for consumers.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Hu Chen
Image Credits: Image #1: Photographer IVY Photography & Production,On-site Photo of the Interior1,2021. Image #2: Photographer IVY Photography & Production, On-site Photo of the South Entrance,2021. Image #3 Photographer IVY Photography & Production,On-site Photo of the East Entrance,2021. Image #4: Photographer IVY Photography & Production, On-site Photo of the Interior2,2021. Image #5: Photographer IVY Photography & Production, On-site Photo of the Interior3,2021. Video Credits: Brief Introduction Video of GRANDBUY, Guangzhou Harber Architectural Design Co., Ltd, 2022.
Project Team Members: Design Director: Hu Chen
Project Name: Flourishing Grandbuy
Project Client: Hu Chen

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