In recent years, OPPO - one of China’s leading mobile phone brands and the world’s leading smart device manufacturer and innovator – has been upgrading and strengthening the communication of its brand values at a fast pace. Following the development of their Shanghai and Shenzhen super flagship stores, OPPO set their sights on communicating their forward-thinking brand values in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. As a result, in 2019, UNStudio was appointed as the design architect for the OPPO Guangzhou super flagship store. UNStudio was asked to redesign the 606 m2 customer experience interior space, alongside a completely new 300 m2 facade.
Designing a technology flagship store requires a very specific approach, as the design has to reflect the philosophy of the brand, while remaining appropriate to the company’s existing design aesthetic and ethos. In this instance, it was therefore essential to create a total brand experience for the customers that was highly tailored to OPPO. The aim was to create a design that would become an integral and recognisable part of OPPO’s overall branding and a valued experience that OPPO’s customers will want to engage with and return to.
For OPPO customers, existing and new, the newly designed Guangzhou flagship store provides a venue where they can familiarise themselves with - and get excited about – OPPO’s products. For OPPO as a brand, the store represents the ‘face’ of the company in Guangzhou; a visual brand identity that goes beyond the products and a mere physical point of contact with their customer base.
UNStudio was also invited to carry over the same design DNA to the prominent new Wangfujing Avenue OPPO store in Beijing.
Design Concept - Urban Park
Guangzhou is a wonderful mix of a historical and a modern, forward-looking city. The challenge of designing an OPPO store within this city is to develop a contextual reaction and strategy that respects the qualities of the city, while also representing OPPO’s brand values. With the ambition to create a gathering space that blurs the boundaries between public space and commerce for OPPO’s new and existing customers, UNStudio introduced an ‘Uban Park’ concept. This concept creates an inclusive environment that meets the behavioral needs of the various people who visit the store. The interior is designed as a ‘borderless’ interactive environment, where meandering routes surround a central resting point, thereby creating different rhythms of motion and allowing customers to browse, take their time, pause and try out the products within the store.
The Facade – the Modular Tube
The design for the Guangzhou OPPO flagship store is approached through a keen focus on craftsmanship, alongside material choices that add a contemporary twist to the vernacular architecture of the city.
A streetside facade design was required that would provide the store with a strong and recognisable visual identity. As a result, a repeated tube form was chosen, inspired by bamboo - an important source of food, clothing, housing, and transportation for people in Guangzhou in ancient times - as the main modular element used in the facade. This metallic tube is also an interpretation of the ‘O’ in OPPO, when it is transformed from 2D into 3D. This dimensional transformation results in a cylindrical tube, into which a cut is added in order to obtain a truncated cylinder. This cylindrical form becomes the main modular element and is repeated throughout the facade, creating a reference to both the brand and to technology.
For the overall composition of the facade elements, multiple geometric strategies were studied. Following the exploration of different volumetric options, a large, sweeping folding gesture was chosen which echoes the corner curve of the OPPO brand logo, while guiding visitors towards the entrance to the store.
Lighting effects are then added to create an overall effect of dynamism and vibrancy. This results in an optical effect of rhythmic motion across the facade, representing the New OPPO Culture, new technologies and the pulse of OPPO as a company experiencing continuous growth.
At the indoor entrance, located within the mall, a ‘grey space’ space is created between the interior and the atrium. Here the materials used in the interiors and large LED screens extend from inside the store out into the atrium, minimising the store’s boundary.
The Interior – Fluid, Continuous Geometry
Achieving a fluid space in a flowing, uninterrupted yet dynamic way - where an intuitive sequence of different areas enables customers to experience and interact with the products - was one of the key aims of the interior design.
The interior space is defined by two main areas: PULSE and EVOLUTION. In the PULSE area the main phone displays act as a strong focal point, while the EVOLUTION area, in contrast, enables different experiences and accommodates a café and social zones. Throughout the store charging seats are installed around translucent pillars. Referencing social clusters around trees in a park, these seating elements provide comfortable areas for customers to relax and socialise. The store also provides customers with a playful experience zone, where they are also encouraged to discover the features of the phone’s cameras by taking photos and selfies.
Natural colours and fluid forms are applied in the interior. Anodized aluminum plate with a customised surface treatment is used alongside micro and translucent textured partitions, creating the perception of subtly layered changes of depth throughout the interior. Green granite terrazzo flooring is used to create meandering paths through the store, while integrated ‘pathways’ of lighting in the ceiling mimic this fluid flow and frame the different areas and displays from above. These pathways in the floor and ceiling further serve to guide visitors intuitively along various routes as they wander through and around the space.