ARC’TERYX opened a new store in Beidahu Ski Resort, in a day that the resort embraced its first snowfall of the season. The new store’s design is based on the brand’s DNA. Breaking away from conventional commercial designs, the design team adopted warm-toned lighting, textures and diverse spatial languages, focused on users’ natural experiences at indoor and outdoor spaces, and meanwhile emphasized functionality and a vibe that fits in with the user community, with a goal to create a “spiritual” destination for snow enthusiasts.
Concept – “A campfire in the snow”
As snow falls down, it turns everything white. Brave adventurers would get fully equipped and take it as an opportunity for starting a new journey of exploration. A warm-toned building glows gently like a campfire, brightening and warming up the snowy night. The store is envisioned as “a campfire in the snow”, which sets the tone of the spatial narratives. A large area of natural wood endows the construction with a rustic appearance, and distinguishes it from the surrounding cool-toned environment.
The store occupies a corner on the ground floor of a multi-story building, but appears to be separated from it through a protruding facade. Solid triangular structures, either with a strong presence or slightly visible through the translucent corrugated sheets, strengthen the symbolic image of “campfire”. Differentiated from traditional retail spaces that mostly adopt cool lighting, a warm yellow glow extends from its interior to the outdoor corridor and downwards to the floor. The restraining yet intimate warm lighting envelopes the store, making it appear crystal clear and ethereal in the snow.
Natural light randomly move in between wooden components, and cast a poetic scene of scattered light and shadows onto the walls. The circular veranda is a transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces, helping block out the freezing winds and snow from the outside and meanwhile bring in the varying natural views through a large area of French windows. Warmth and coolness, brightness and darkness, nature and the artificial are separated yet connected by the veranda, which blurs the boundary of space.
The veranda performs practical functions. It offers a buffer zone between the dry area and the outdoor wet snowfield, to enhance customer experience. A hanging wooden shelf is set beside the entrance, for the purpose of placing snowboards to dry off. The corridor also provides customers with a shelter from piercing cold winds when waiting at the entrance.
Art of nature – “Glacier” installation
Stepping into the store, a large eye-catching “glacier” installation comes into sight. With its crystal texture neutralizing the warm spatial tone, it becomes a visual focus. The installation builds a connection between the interior space and the outdoor natural environment, whilst also adding a gentle, artistic touch to the store. The enclosed bar counter acts as a hub for interaction.
Irregular organic lines stretch from its middle upwards to the “glacier”, revealing sophisticated craftsmanship. The “glacier” installation is made of acrylic. The design team firstly carved a model with foam, and repeatedly adjusted it and tested the light effect, to obtain a natural, authentic form. The last step was the pouring process, which needed to minimize bubbles and voids. The finished work was transported northwards from a factory in southern China to the site, where it fully integrates into the snowy setting.
The interior space continues the wooden texture of the facade. It’s also defined by neat lines and blocks, as well as contrasting materials and colors, which together produce a sense of order and blur the spatial boundaries. The warm tone generates a welcoming atmosphere for snow sports enthusiasts. The three-dimensional folding ceiling structures and the pale-hued fabric curtain that simulates the texture of camping tents soften the light in the space, and create an easeful experience like resting in a tent outdoors.
Movable cabinets – Flexible scenography
With the “glacier” installation as a boundary, the space features a smooth and clear circulation route. The area from the entrance to the foyer is a retail zone. Unlike most retail stores that seek maximized sales per square foot, the client insisted that no more than one third of the site should be used for sales, hoping to leave more space for customers to experience the brand. Acrylic partitions refract the light, creating a soft effect. The hanging racks refer to the unique design of the brand’s factory in Canada, with their industrial metallic texture balancing with the spatial tone.
The customized cabinets are movable, making it possible to adjust the spatial pattern according to light conditions and create changeable scenes flexibly. The mountain skills training zone set behind the retail area is infused with a rustic atmosphere created by dark gray stones. The irregular stone textures and the neat wooden lines contrast yet harmonize with each other. Mechanical pulleys sourced from cable cars and the hanging fireplace in the middle create an enclosed hub for communication.
A “spiritual” destination for outdoor enthusiasts
The design of the rental and storage zone centers on functionality, with full consideration into the needs and habits of skiers. It continues the mountain-like visual effect at non-retail areas, while incorporating diverse details to bring smooth experience at the store. The locker cabinets are equipped with casters, to make it easier to move them around and add extra storage space. The washing machine and dryer are set up alongside fitting rooms and lockers to create home-like convenience for users, which is a thoughtful design beyond functional considerations.
From the campfire-like appearance to the veranda that connects the indoor and outdoor spaces, the crystal clear “glacier” installation that creates a visual focus, the training zone centering around a fireplace, and elements of tents, cable cars and rocks, the design not only brings an unconventional retail space, but also creatively echoes the brand’s values of nature exploration. With respect for nature and aspirations for the better, the design expands the boundary of wilderness and lights up a glowing campfire in a boundless land, guiding every explorer to find their “spiritual” destination. Source by STILL YOUNG.
- Location: Beidahu, Jilin, China
- Architect: STILL YOUNG
- Design team: Eric Ch, Yanagi
- Client team: Only Song, Queenie Qu
- Project management: Alisa Ai, Linda Li
- Construction drawings: Jeff Wang, Nick Jiang, Tom Gong
- Floor plan: Jeff Wang, Wing Wang, Top Wang
- Project area: 224.2 sqm (interior space) + 240.6 sqm (outdoor space)
- Opening: Nov. 2022
- Photographs: SFAP, Courtesy of STILL YOUNG