International architecture practice, 10 Design, reveals the scheme for CIFI Kunming Plaza, a retail mixed use destination in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan in China. The design for this 280,000 sqm development is rooted in the city’s natural terraced landscape and its year-round spring-like weather, aiming to provide ample outdoor spaces with an open retail street.
10 Design was appointed after winning an international competition. The project is located at the north of the old city centre in an up-and-coming neighbourhood where new residential and mixed-use developments are surging. The scheme comprises of two interconnected malls, a retail street, and three serviced apartment towers that seek to embrace the vibrancy of Kunming and provide seamless
connectivity with the nearby transport hubs.
The design team led by Design Partners, Chin Yong Ng and Lukasz Wawrzenczyk, commented: “The key driver of the design is the creation of an outdoor retail street that simulates a green valley, winding across the site between the shopping malls and the towers. This green valley is symbolic of the terraced landscape of Kunming, designed to create a dynamic retail experience by seamlessly integrating the
indoor space of the malls and towers with the outdoor retail street.”
This harmony of integration is achieved by incorporating a variety of external features into the design, blurring the distinction between interior and exterior. From external dining terraces to leafy balconies, open plazas, and a walkable rooftop, this new destination creates unique experiences by generating exceptional outdoor spaces that visitors can enjoy during the year-round temperate climate.
The retail street also interconnects the shopping malls to the residential towers across the site at multiple levels, creating multiple access points. One of the main entrances is situated at a large sunken plaza, which is also designed to hold outdoor events.
The overall design is inspired by autochthonous elements translated in a contemporary way. The silver aluminum façade of the shopping malls evokes the idea of Chinese silk wrapped around the jewel-like golden mesh window boxes that serve as key entrance points. On the other hand, the design of the retail street resembles the local weaving crafts mixed with green terraced slopes and pocket gardens that mimic the rural Kunming landscape. The rooftop of the malls serves as fully accessible green terraces with open views towards the spring city of Kunming and the sunken gardens below.
The three high-rise towers accommodate 1500 serviced apartments, which provide double-height and flexible spaces that have proven popular amongst the younger population. Two low-rise buildings host the shopping malls across 100,000 sqm of retail, leisure and food & beverage spaces. The entertainment facilities are located at the top floors of the malls to enhance footfall circulation, including a cinema, a
gym and a clubhouse with an indoor swimming pool.
CIFI Kunming Plaza brings local elements from the vibrant region of Yunnan into a contemporary development that creates a destination for the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Kunming.