Nanjing-Pengxin Aqua City is situated in the Confucius Temple district in the south of the ancient capital. It is a commercial complex with a construction area of 167,000 square meters that integrates shopping, catering, entertainment, and tourism functions. The B4 - B3 floors are parking garages, the B2 to 6th floors are commercial, and the floors above the 6th floor are hotels.
Pengxin Aqua City, which opened in 2008 as China's first time-consuming commercial facility, has become one of Nanjing's landmarks, with its canal image combined with popular indoor and outdoor shopping malls. Over the years, Aqua City has witnessed Nanjing's rapid development, as well as changes such as iterations of consumption scenarios and habits. With the rise of competing facilities in the surrounding area, Aqua City is confronted with issues such as aging facilities and declining visitor numbers that must be addressed. Based on this, after ten years of operation, Pengxin Group launched a comprehensive renewal of Aqua City, introducing a multi-dimensional interactive immersive consumer experience and new business formats for retail and catering to respond to modern commercial, social, and aesthetic needs for creating a "citizens' lounge" that can adapt to the new era and highlight the vitality of Nanjing!
Pengxin Aqua City features the canal and presents a consistent "water circulation" design, with living water cascading from the rooftop garden to the canal on the B1 floor in the form of a waterfall and forming a water mist at the central stage fountain, creating the illusion of dazzling waves. We added gardens and terraces to the wide waterfront area to enhance the expressiveness and experience of the canal space, transforming the single-function canal into a lively waterfront space with greenery where people can gather to rest naturally.
In addition, a multi-functional garden has been built on the rooftop, and a green and ecologically themed food hall has been set up on the B2 floor to improve customer flow to the mall's end. Since the original spatial image was disorganized, we eliminated excessive colors and forms and used earth tones to create the consistency of space. We also simplified the previous complicated shapes with the curves of the original trees to create a comfortable and pleasant commercial space.
With the addition of vertical greenery and waterfall-inspired LED screens, combined with the emergence of water froth and other design elements, we revitalize the façade of Aqua City based on the image that has been engraved in the public's memory for many years, enriching the "expression" and vitality of the facade, attracting consumers from the Confucius Temple district, and contributing to the improvement of the area's streetscape.
We created an immersive consumer experience with a boundless sense of area both inside and outside of Aqua City by increasing the opening rate at the mall's entrance and optimizing the coherence of the ceiling and floor pavement. The main indoor traffic flow incorporates the wave and foam elements representing the "expression" of the river into the design, maintaining the unity and comfort of the mall space and enhancing the vigor of the environment on a large scale.
The center stage, which is open during all business hours and has a clear view from the entire floor, is an important venue for Aqua City events and exhibitions. However, the crowds during event periods highlight the coldness on weekdays, so making efficient use of this space during rest time became one of the renewal project's challenges. We installed LED screens on the pillars, ceiling, and floor around the stage with motion sensors to connect with visitor behavior, and when people walk and touch the space, the surrounding light will ripple and make interactive changes throughout the space. During the event, smoke bubbles could be made to fall from the ceiling, combining light, sound, and fountains to form a virtual reality fusion scenario, creating the sensory pleasure of being on the waterfront and a bustling stage space at all times.
The 8,000-square-meter rooftop garden is divided into three functions: a vibrant area for children's activities, a quiet area for family relaxation, and a VIP garden area for hotel guests. The vibrant area is mostly covered with lawn, and six playgrounds are installed, as well as more humane toilets and showers, to create a kid-friendly and pet-friendly playground. Due to the design of the composite pipeline, the floor in the quiet area is partially raised; we effectively use the lower space to fill with soil and plant trees of various sizes to provide a forest feeling, adding a fresh natural oxygen bar to the city and building an urban oasis-like rooftop garden.
The food hall on the B2 floor plays an important role in connecting Aqua City's various sections. Due to the lack of natural light in the basement, the integration of Aqua City's overall ecological concept became the renovation's focal point. In order to harmonize the vertical traffic flows of internal and external areas and serve as a leisurely dining and strolling space for visitors, we optimize the composite pipeline design, increase the net height of the interior to the greatest extent possible, use double-layer ceiling technology to create the visual impact of sunlight through the forest, and adopt multi-layer leaf-shaped sculpted aluminum panels to provide the atmosphere of being in the forest.
Trends in the industry are driven by changes in the times, and the phenomenon of commercial facilities mushrooming in the past has led to the predicament of the stock of properties today. The solution is to "keep up with the times" and empower commercial facilities to meet environmental changes, introduce new consumption scenarios into commercial space, and meet the increased demands of new consumption habits.
With an experimental comprehensive design and planning methodology, the project consisted of an integrated "Planning x Design x Construction x Operation" non-closed store renewal over a three-and-a-half year period, allowing the spatial design to function at the commercial planning phase for a better realization of each innovative concept. The project employed a layered approach to maintain the mall's state of operation and profitability while also providing sufficient publicity to keep consumers expecting more. Throughout the process, we achieved both speed and quality assurance, using a flexible method to bring in more demand-driven concepts and designs, creating a more humanized immersive consumer experience, giving the retail and catering businesses a new format, building a borderless lifestyle space that fits with the social and aesthetic of our era, and fulfilling the co-prosperity of ecology, technology, and commerce for Aqua City!