Extended Play Lab Enhances Public Space and Promotes %Arabica Coffee + Heytea Brand Image Through Pop-Up Store Design

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%Arabica + Heytea Pop-Up Store – The main goal is to design a pop-up store that does not only satisfy the basic functional needs, such as an easy assemble/disassemble process, reusability; but also enhance the quality of public space around it & promote brand image of both %Arabica coffee & Heytea.

Architizer chatted with Xiyao Wang, Founding Partner at Extended Play Lab, to learn more about this project.

Architizer: What inspired the initial concept for your design?

Xiyao Wang: Our project is inspired by the veranda (long corridor) typology in traditional Chinese gardening, which is a delicate covered open-air gallery, with seating on both sides.

Given the location & season that the pop-up shop will be situated in, we believe it’s crucial to provide ample shade and an actual place for people to rest and enjoy their freshly-made drinks. 75% of our covered area is completely open to the public, turning a typically sun-burnt shopping mall plaza into a place that people can actually chill & relax, promoting the quality of built public space.

© %Arabica

© %Arabica

© %Arabica

© %Arabica

What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?

I think it’s the reusability & adaptability. We designed a very robust modular system to achieve these goals. A set of large steel-frame modules acts as the main structure, with the largest module designed to fit into medium-sized trucks for easy transportation among cities. These modules can be configured into a variety of plan shapes to fit different site plans. Then a series of furniture-like smaller modules are designed to fit within the main structure, which accommodates various functions for different use scenarios. The different modules are all connected using an uniform & simple method for fast on-site assembly/disassembly.

© %Arabica

© %Arabica

© %Arabica

© %Arabica

What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?

The greatest challenge is to deliver the design within a very limited time and a set budget. We went over two major rounds of design options. At the same time, the factory was contacted from a very early phase, so we can be confident about our further design options and schedules.

Due to the pandemic, we were not able to visit on site. So all the communications are made through texts, emails, phone calls & video calls. We are very grateful that teams from the factory and both clients were able to communicate very efficiently. Also big shout out to the clients’ teams who helped diligently on site, so we as design team can solve any problem remotely. It sure was not the best nor easy process, but gladly we made it.

© %Arabica

© %Arabica

© Kenton Leung

© Kenton Leung

What drove the selection of materials used in the project?

The overall image we want to achieve; ease of fabrication & assembly; sustainability; availability and lastly, the market price.

© Kenton Leung

© Kenton Leung

© 软饭

© 软饭

What is your favorite detail in the project and why?

There are many smaller scale design features incorporated inside the units. It’s hard to say which one is our favorite. But the most noticeable one is definitely the “Bubble Pool”.

The idea was triggered by the product the clients are promoting as the “bubble coffee”. At first our clients want a feature that can serve as a branding key component, attracting people’s attention, and thus promoting their product. So we came up with this idea of a bubble coffee pool that people can “dive” into and interact with. It’s a dig-in pool filled with bubble-shaped plush cushions (not actual coffee!), with seating all around, and a green wall as a background where it showcases the big brand signage. We are very happy to see it become a favorite spot for kids & adults.

© 美食达人TATA

© 美食达人TATA

© 美食达人TATA

© 美食达人TATA

How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project? 

Pop up stores were mostly disposable after the event for a rather short time. While ours was designed with reusability and adaptability from the get-go. All modules can be easily transported, and then assembled into various configurations depending on different site conditions. Every module is prefabricated in factory, minimizing site waste. We choose to use aluminum, steel and plywood as the main material.

How have your clients responded to the finished project?

The clients were very happy with the finished project.

How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?

As a growing startup firm, this project showcases our expertise of working with creativity at a fast pace and within budget. We were able to work with client & consultant teams smoothly and efficiently with an innovative mind of problem solving.

Team Members

Lead designer from EP LAB (@ep_lab) JIN Qiu @pikaqiu.qiu; WANG Xiyao @ayepile. Special thanks to Team from %Arabica (@arabica.journal @arabica.cn). Special thanks to Team from Heytea (@heytea)

For more on %Arabica + Heytea Pop-Up Store, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.

%Arabica + Heytea Pop-Up Store Gallery

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