WAT’s first store on Julu Road in Shanghai was a journey from zero to one, and firmly established WAT’s direction toward microbrewery. After completing the financing, WAT opened plans for store expansion in other cities across the country. WAT’s store in Changsha will combine the retail and bar formats to explore the prototype of WAT Supermarket Bar as an anchor store.
向长沙学习/Learning from Changsha
Changsha, a city that makes magic, is known as the capital of entertainment and has incubated the birth of several celebrity brands. It is an undeniable fact that Chinese cities are beginning to evolve from sameness to valuing individuality. Changsha, one of the leading cities, has apparently developed a mature assembly line of celebrity brands thanks to government support and corporate innovation.
▼项目外观 Appearance ©肖湘
Shanghai is a mixture of East and West cultures, while Changsha is a blend of local cultures. The temperament of a city is not achieved overnight, and we need to keep our respect for the city’s culture all the time. Because of WAT, the design team also started to roam and experience Changsha, to have a drink and make friends.
▼总平面图 Master Plan ©TOPOS DESIGN
As both an old and a new industry, catering is both regional and universal. Nowadays, with the help of capital and technology, old traditions and new ideas are fiercely hedging against each other and starting all kinds of whimsical ideas. The WAT Changsha store site is located on Jiefang West Road in Tianxin District, the most lively and bustling commercial area in Changsha. There are dense restaurants and snacks, bars and nightclubs and shopping malls. Every Changsha resident has a story of Jiefang West Road, which is the collective memory of the city. Arriving at the concentration of bar culture in Changsha, WAT will come to Jiefang West Road with an aggressive attitude, introducing WAT’s brand in the ultimate collage of city symbols and conveying WAT’s brand value of “good drink, good look and good fun”.
▼项目立面 Facade ©肖湘
WAT Changsha store will be a super game park, where alcohol and games are played to the extreme.
超级材料/ Super Material
Elevation is media!
▼项目立面 Facade ©肖湘
Unlike the pedestrian scale of Julu Road in Shanghai, the site faces West Jiefang Road, a 6-lane east-west oriented traffic artery, which requires a sense of extreme speed for the first visual. In an extremely dense, collage urban interface, we needed a straightforward, declarative media façade.
The small square bottle is a classic WAT product, inspired by perfume packaging, and is now a pivotal brand memory. If we only perceive it as a product, with the traditional display and sale, the small square bottle is just a beautiful wine bottle. But what if a bunch of small square bottles becomes a transparent wall? What if thousands of small square bottles become a bright façade? Why can’t we make the small square bottle a super material unique to WAT, or even make it a super symbol of WAT?
▼立面细节 Facade Details ©TOPOS DESIGN
We planned the maximum size of 10 meters high and 6 meters wide as the outer contour line of the façade. How to design this 60 square meters façade, the only answer was the small square bottles. 6,000 small square bottles were recycled, and the bottles, without their packaging, are like crystal clear glass blocks. After structural calculations and taking into account the material characteristics of the bottles, we used 5mm thick tempered glass as a support member. 6,000 bottles were evenly arranged in 16 steel modules, with custom wall wash lights hidden above and below each module, and laminated tempered glass to ensure safety.
Super material, super façade, super symbol! Thus, we redefine the super symbol, the WAT small square bottle becomes the super material of the façade, bluntly announcing that WAT is coming!
超级游戏 / Super Game
WAT doesn’t just produce great light alcoholic beverages but is also passionate about providing fun content and experiences. The rotating bar in the first store in Shanghai was inspired by the idea of “making the bar move”, which led to a breakthrough in common knowledge. In the past year of operation, the WAT team has continued to develop many new and exciting products and games around the revolving bar. Coming to Changsha, we will implant a super game land in the 200 square meters of space along the street, which is not only good to drink but also fun.
▼旋转吧台 Rotating Bar ©肖湘
The first is the main entrance “Newbie Field”, which consists of three curved LED screens with “slot machines” embedded between the entrance on the ground floor and the folding window on the second floor. By pulling a lever located outside, the “slot machine” screen begins to rotate randomly, similar to the opening sequence in a video game, and the player is given an identity and admission ticket. In the early 20th century, the entrance to Astroland in Coney Island, New York, featured a large ship that served as a subliminal metaphor for entering the underwater world of Atlantis. Inspired by this, pulling the pull handle of the slot machine, like the gyroscope of Inception, will become the conscious key to entering WAT Super Game Land, and the fun is just beginning.
▼立面像素插画 Elevation Pixel Illustration ©TOPOS DESIGN
Continuing the “convenience store” spatial elements of the Shanghai store, the retail area on the first floor is centered on a 7-meter-long rotating bar, with two rows of functional cabinets exquisitely arranged in a space with a net width of 5 meters. The self-service cabinets are arranged side by side in a linear flow with a shopping guide, a four-door refrigerator and a gift display cabinet, and a half-circle acrylic signage menu to guide customers to easily shop for gaming equipment (drinks). The back bar meets the custom blending of pre-mixed drinks, and the equipment slot above the operation counter is reserved for the wine picker that WAT is secretly developing to reserve the memory for the game version upgrade i.e. more drinks. The folding door at the entrance can be opened all the way, and the customized robot IP for Changsha interacts with the device on the street, which is the advantage of a convenience store belonging to the street.
▼像素旋转吧台 Pixel Rotating Bar ©TOPOS DESIGN
▼机器人IP Robot IP ©肖湘
▼项目概览 Overview ©肖湘
Marquee divide the retail and seating areas. The matte stainless steel covering the top of the walls creates an interdimensional sense of volume. Seating combined with reconfigured tables and chairs to satisfy different numbers of customer groups. How to PK, WAT’s bragging series, and small square bottles of energy blocks became the new symbols of wine fighting. At the same time, the WAT maze installation became an impossible task for all micro-brewers.
▼PK区 PK Area ©TOPOS DESIGN
▼WAT迷宫 WAT Maze ©TOPOS DESIGN
▼项目概览 Overview ©肖湘
▼卡座区 Seating Area ©肖湘
▼跑马灯 Marquee ©肖湘
▼WAT迷宫装置 WAT Maze Device ©肖湘
The stairwell leading to the second floor is the “portal” to the advanced game level. The matrix of black stairwells is lined with square-shaped points of light of the same size. Customers travel from the metal punk of the ground floor to the dark rock of the second floor, from open to private. In a space of less than 100 square meters, the design team tried their best to arrange different game copies, such as the box seats enclosed by glass sliding doors, the casual seats against the wall, the U-shaped bar seats enclosing the atrium, the couple seats with RGB lighting, and the booths along the window. And through the atrium, customers can look down on the rotating bar with a constant flow of drinks and people.
▼传送门 Portal ©TOPOS DESIGN
▼WAT楼梯间 WAT Stairwell ©肖湘
▼包厢 Box Seats ©肖湘
▼卡座区 Booths ©肖湘
▼靠窗卡座 Booths along the window ©肖湘
▼中庭 Atrium ©肖湘
超级派对 / Super Party
As space designers, the design team likes to create events with form and narrate stories with space. If WAT Shanghai first store is a flowing feast, then WAT Changsha store is a super party.
Drinking is the game. The design team injected hormones into Changsha, the sleepless city.
▼WAT小方瓶 WAT Small Square Bottle ©肖湘
▼平面图 Plan ©TOPOS DESIGN
▼剖面图 Section ©TOPOS DESIGN
▼爆炸图 Exploded Diagram ©TOPOS DESIGN
施 工 方：湖南本设建筑设计有限公司
Project Name：High Street in the house / MEET&EAT @ Gubei, Shanghai
Project Location：West Jiefang Road, Changsha City, Hunan Province, China
Design：TOPOS DESIGN (www.topos-design.com)
Principle Architect: LIN Chen
Project Architect: FENG Zixiang
Design Team: WANG Lei, XU Zijie, LU Guanhua, WANG Bihu (E&M Consultant)
Visual Design: ZHUO Ba
Construction Side: Hunan Benshe Architectural Design Co.
Lighting Consultant: Hunan Guang Yu Tang Design Co.
Interactive Device: Ma He Lei (Shanghai) Digital Technology Co. (HONG Wei, YUAN Yuan, YANG Libin)
Photo Credits：XIAO Xiang
Building Area: 200m²
Design Year & Completion Year：2021.10 to 2021.12
Construction Year & Completion Year：2021.12 to 2022.03
Materials: WAT small square bottle, Washed Stone, Translucent Concrete, Matte Stainless Steel, Hot Bent Acrylic