R&F Center by Benoy


Inspired by Harbin’s signature winter season, the retail was conceptualized as a cluster of sculpted ice forms, creating a mix of glass volumes with the towers rising overhead as shards of ice. As retail specialists with over 70 years of experience, we have curated a series of unique retail experiences which create a vibrant and memorable journey for every visitor.

Integrated into the landscape between the river and podium, we have introduced an external sunken plaza, offering a multi-purpose event space with seasonal opportunities including the wintertime ice and snow sculpture festivals. The plaza offers strong connections into the basement retail level, where a series of express escalators form a key element of the vertical journey through the mall. Situated along the glazed north-west façade, visitors can enjoy 270-degree panoramic views over the Songhua River.

The journey creates an exciting connection to the first and only winter garden in Harbin; stimulating the upper levels of retail and outdoor thematic retail street on the green roof. This new vertical urban district including offices and a Ritz Carlton hotel tower will house a vibrant retail streetscape, premium entertainment, a selection of the world’s top luxury international brands, dining, and live events—redefining the idea of a neighborhood and community hub to create a 24⁄7 landmark destination in the city of Harbin.

The design proposal for R&F Plaza aims to shape more than the built form; shaping a vibrant community where arts and culture blend with bustling business, shopping, and entertainment districts to create desirable places to live, work and play. This leading business district inspires and connects inhabitants, while promoting the healthy lifestyles that make them places where people enjoy spending time, both for business and leisure.

Interior Design
The interior design of R&F Plaza shares its vision with the architectural narrative, inspired by the winter city and the sculptural forms of the ice and crystalline forms that permeate the interior. The design approach has subtle contrasts in tone and materiality, and plays with the light and colour and reflection. This aesthetic language extends to the retail planning where the form of the shop fronts, the void edges and the arcades also connect with that aesthetic of the crystalline forms.

There are a series of special feature ceiling zones which are formed again by this dynamic geometry of the crystals and ice and these are expressed in three-dimensional panels surrounded by cove lighting which offer spectacular dynamic ceiling features. As you look up through the void, through those atriums you see those ceilings and it really signals that something special is happening on those upper levels.

There is a series of dynamic feature ceilings which are again formed by these crystalline forms, a series of three-dimensional panels tessellating and coming together and surrounded by cove lighting, very dynamic forms which we can see as we look up through the atriums. As you take that journey through the shopping mall there is a seamless transition into the double height space which is the winter garden.

This is a fantastic interior space with sculptural ceiling panels which is reflected in the floor and integrated with softer areas of green landscaping and open seating, and then this amazing double-height view out to the city and over the river. This is a unique interior design with a deep connection to the architectural narrative and to the special place of this project in Harbin Winter City. Source by Benoy

  • Location: Harbin, China
  • Architect: Benoy
  • Design Director: Jonas Sin (Architecture), Steve Barnes (Interior Design)
  • Design team: Jonas Sin, Axl Yan, Sunny Yu, Thomas Cahill and Marsh Chung
  • Customer: R&F Properties
  • Total floor area: Retail podium: 105,000 sq m (above+ below ground)
  • Year: 2020
  • Images: Courtesy of Benoy

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