AD ARCHITECTURE Has Breathed New Life into the Retail Experience of TRONGYEE With a Strategic Upgrade of Their Brand Image and Artistic Experiential Scenes in Shantou

This outstanding commercial space has motivated the brand and design team to reinforce each other for win-win results, perfectly demonstrating the cooperation between AD ARCHITECTURE and TRONGYEE_FASHIONS

TRONGYEE_FASHIONS is a conventional clothing brand rooted in downtown Shantou for more than two decades, who entrusted AD ARCHITECTURE to design a store for its sub-brand TRONGYEE. Since completion, it has become a leading fashion store in the local market, and has helped the brand to gain a great leap in both sales and influence. This time, based on the client's new demands for upgrading TRONGYEE, AD ARCHITECTURE was once again entrusted to conceive a new retail store. Xie Peihe, the chief designer, offered a more adventurous solution for the project.

TRONGYEE's first store
Xie Peihe, chief designer at AD ARCHITECTURE

Without a doubt, it was the success of TRONGYEE’s first store that brought new inspiration to Shantou’s retail sector, and helped popularize the concept of "designer clothing boutique store" to local consumers. This time, AD ARCHITECTURE aspired to inject new artistic elements into the brand through conceiving the new store. When Ms Lu, the director of TRONGYEE, discussed with Xie the design of the store for the first time, she wanted to keep the size at 1000 square feet to control the cost of investment. As the new store’s design would determine the brand’s future position and expansion direction, the design team conducted an in-depth investigation of competing brands around the site, before boldly proposing that the new store should be at least 2,000 square feet in order for the brand to stand out among its competitors. It was also essential to activate a powerful and appealing visual identity for TRONGYEE to occupy the market and lay a solid foundation for shaping an artistic brand image.

AD ARCHITECTURE explored the spatial design strategically. The seemingly adventurous design scheme is based on the design team's rich experience and keen insight into the market, which captures the market dynamics unknown to the client. With their professional expertise, the design team created a store image for the brand to attract high calibre consumers. After determining the design direction, AD ARCHITECTURE decided to construct this 3,000 square feet commercial space by applying the expressions of art installations while incorporating modern aesthetics. 

The storefront is an important part of commercial space design as it directly presents the store's image. Commercial space design usually adopts display windows to convey the brand's identity and style. However, AD ARCHITECTURE broke these conventions, and intended to attract passer-by’s sight line into the store through the unique door form, which produces an open yet intriguing visual effect. The uniquely-designed storefront forms a contrast with other neighbouring stores. The design team expected to convey the artistry and aesthetic values of the brand to consumers by combining the space with products. Explains Xie, "The curved surfaces in the space are like silky and mellow cloth, which are unknown explorations and possibilities probing into the logic of rules in free changes, aiming to capture new strengths and surprises."

The spatial organisation and behaviours stimulated by it have always been an important medium of brand strategy and commercial deployment. The design team applied set-back forms and curves to organise the exploration area, which enriches the expressions of the space and creates visual illusions. The integration of space and products motivates one’s curiosity to enter and explore the store, revealing a vivid and diversified space. Stimulating people's snooping desire is a way of strengthening commercial space's attraction. The overall space is dominated by a light yellow tone to alleviate the three-dimensional feeling brought by colours, so as to turn the artistic space into a low-profile backdrop to highlight products. A free spatial layout provides customers with a relaxing and pleasant feeling and a shopping experience like strolling in a garden, which is the focus and purpose of the spatial design. The combination of gorgeous and plain shades generates dramatic tension, and results in a serene yet fervent spatial atmosphere that is isolated from the noisy surroundings.

The shopping experience is divided into four stages, where consumers explore curiously when entering the store, linger at the central area, enjoy a private and premium shopping experience in the VIP area, and finally proceed to the inner live streaming area. Each stage is arranged based on the thinking of the commercial sales system. The space can be shifted as a show venue as needed to provide a site for new product launches every year and promote sales most efficiently. The central area accommodates a mix of clothing, jewellery and other products, thus the design focuses on stimulating customers' desire to purchase commodities. The area is mainly used for product display, but other functions such as the cashier desk, product introduction, reception and fashion show are included to blur the functional boundary.

The arrangement of the fitting rooms is an innovative exploration of the functional layout of fashion stores. The originally centralised fitting rooms are redistributed in the whole space, which, in return, effectively improves the convenience and efficiency of shopping, offers a more joyful shopping experience for customers, and shortens the service distance. For material and colour selection, the design adopts feminine elements featuring comfort and softness. Large areas of artistic paint combined with the carpet reveals tactile, quality textures. Next to the central area is the VIP reception room with a reservation system. Open to VIP customers, this area displays separately-selected garments and has an independent fitting room. Coffee, fruit and one-on-one shopping service are offered exclusively for VIP customers to enjoy a private and noble shopping experience. Incorporating a live streaming area has become one of the new standards for retail stores. In light of the noise caused by live streaming activities and the disorder by preparation outside the camera, the design team separated the live streaming area from the sales area by locating it next to the storage room at the innermost end of the space. This enables the convenience for live streaming display without interfering with goods preparation and delivery, showing the best brand image and identity both online and offline. 

After the project is completed, TRONGYEE, as a new brand entering The Mixc, Shantou, has been the sales champion of the shopping mall since the new store's opening. The project is an exploration of sustainable value for future urban commercial spaces. AD ARCHITECTURE conceived the design solution by taking commercial value and practice as the basis, and eventually, through cooperation with the client, created a commercial space that is derived from the core of the brand TRONGYEE. 

Words: Emily Leung & Nikey Cheng
Photos: Ouyang Yun
Published on October 27, 2023