The Ring in Chongqing is a ground-breaking ecological retail destination designed around one of China’s largest indoor botanic gardens.
Rethinking The Future Awards 2022
First Award | Interiors Retail (Built)
Project Name: The Ring
Studio Name: Lead8
Design Team: Lead8 Design Team
Area: 154,000 sqm
Location: Chongqing, China
Photography Credits: Lead8
The development is a first-of-its-kind for the city – a place that intertwines retail, nature, culture and experience. Coming to life with a 42-metre-tall botanical garden, interactive sports and culture, and a creative tenant mix, The Ring provides attractions not yet seen before in Chongqing.
The scheme aims to set a new benchmark for experiential destinations in China. Truly innovative, the vision seeks to deliver a new-generation social destination, an urban natural community, and a landmark regional commercial centre. The power of biophilia is front and centre, pushing the agenda forward for future commercial developments.
Located in the Jinzhou Business District, the scheme is set within the Chongqing’s residential centre, next to the picturesque Zhaomushan Forest Park.
The development features approximately 154,000 sqm dedicated to the seven-level mall, 14,000 sqm to the retail street and 6,000 sqm to the indoor botanical garden. Direct connections to Chongqing Metro Line 5 (completed) and Line 15 (in planning) bring a transit-oriented approach for convenient access across the city.
The innovative concept centres on a ‘Mountain City’; bringing together natural environments with enriched engagement and experiential opportunities to create a diversified lifestyle offer. Cutting-edge and environmental protection technologies were used to construct the green ecological experience, producing an oasis for the city.
Complementing the indoor gardens, specialty activity hubs such as the ‘Free+’ dynamic sporting facility and ‘Open Lab’, a calm public space for reading and gathering, help meet the diverse and changing consumer preferences.
Retail Ecology and Biophilia
The biophilic design for The Ring showcases the indoor botanical garden as the centrepiece of the interiors. With thousands of plants covering a wide range of species, the garden offers a living environment to enhance the interior experience.
Allowing visitors to feel as though they have walked into a rainforest, the indoor botanical garden features three distinct themes – the Soul Tree, the Aerial Forest and the Riverside Hills. The garden has a 24-metre airborne waterfall and also features a changing and innovative light show designed as a further spectacle to engage visitors.
The garden connects with each of the mall’s seven levels, with the interior design blending in the natural atmosphere by way of the material palette and open-space planning. Elevated walkways, public seating and hanging fixtures create intimacy with nature and extend the gardens upwards. The design creates nodal spaces for rest, events and social opportunity, while immersing the surrounding retail activities in an ecological setting.
The botanic garden is not a stand-alone feature but an integrated experience that brings the benefits of biophilia, exploration, natural beauty and healthy indoor environments to The Ring. With many discussing the effects of the pandemic on built environments, one strong demand that has emerged is the integration and connection with nature. The Ring has answered this call and placed itself ahead of the curve – showcasing the attitude towards placemaking and the evolution of ‘development’ to ‘ecosystem’.