Mall afterthought for Hangzhou tower project

Hangzhou Tower 501 Plaza has opened, bringing together commercial offices and residences with a 50,000 sqm mall spanning its lower six storeys.

The mall features a mix of retail, F&B, entertainment and lifestyle stores.

Award-winning architectural firm Benoy was appointed retail interior designer for the development with a brief prioritising exploration and diversity.

In the new commercial district of Hangzhou, China, the tower was originally designed for office use. “We had to bring our repositioning experience to the project to help transform the initial gridlike configuration into a space that would be successful for retail,” says Benoy director Simon Wong.

Benoy’s conceptual design draws on the idea of a jewel box. The design team capitalised on the nature of the space to create a “box within a box” experience framed by strong lines throughout the interiors. In the department store, for example, boxes made of different materials and in different scales have been positioned across the floors to create points of interest.

hangzhou-tower-501-plaza-combined-credit-benoy

This simple intervention uses a clean design language and formsshowcase spaces that have been given over for tenant use, says Benoy. The installations frame the spaces and merchandise.

Moving upward, the atrium surrounding the main escalator is used as a merchandise gallery. Glass shelving displays and reflective stainless-steel boxes line the open area, offering glimpses to the offers that await shoppers.


One of the main feature areas is the Children and Infants’ level, which spans an entire floor within the department store. Drawing on the concept of nature, green hills, trees and small-scale colourful houses have been designed and installed across the different tenant areas. Promoting activity, fun and exploration, the area entertains and engages with children. The cashier desk, for example, mimics a large-scale piece of cheese, with crawling holes to encourage play.

“We imagined the design of the children’s area as a place where a wonderland meets retail. The idea is to promote engagement and interaction, and to set Hangzhou Tower 501 apart,” says Benoy associate director Ping Zhu.

“Designing for your audience is one of the keys to success in retail, and this project shows how we’ve diversified and targeted our design to the end-user.”

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