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2022 Retail Renovation of the Year: “Wushang Superlife Supermarket, Wuhan, China”

Renovation: Supermarket | Submitted by: Shenzhen Onewe Commercial Space Design & Planning Co., Shenzhen, China
📷 : Haibo Wang, Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China




FOR THE PAST COUPLE of decades, the interior of the Wushang Superlife Supermarket consisted of row-upon-row of parallel shopping shelves. That layout was an efficient money-maker, pulling in the U.S. equivalent of roughly $89 million per year.

Why mess with that success? Two interconnected reasons: operator Wuhan Wushang Supermarket Management Co. Ltd. felt the store had fallen behind the times, especially in terms of appealing to millennial shoppers. And by strengthening its appeal to that demographic, the operator believed it could up its yearly haul to about $118 million.



To make that happen, the design team at Shenzhen Onewe Commercial Space Design & Planning Co. (Shenzhen) strove to change what was “a singular retail experience into a multifaceted experience hall” that would especially appeal to younger shoppers, says Chief Designer Zhenan Qin.

So, it was out with the monotonous grid system and in with two interconnected egg-shaped main pathways with off-shooting aisles.

“In contrast to the previous straight lines that shoppers moved through, shoppers now traverse the space in a circular fashion and feel a bit like they’re playing hide-and-seek,” says Qin. “They encounter surprise offerings as they go, which makes shopping more fun.”



Helping shoppers navigate the space is a dropped ceiling that mirrors the paths of the egg-shaped main aisle. In addition, the designers added special-shaped overhead elements at key focal points. Those elements replaced a mishmash of dropped ceilings that formerly dominated the space.

“For example, a house-shaped ceiling in the deli area highlights the local traditional food culture, while the ceiling of the wheat area adopts the traditional Chinese granary shape,” Qin says.

At eye level, the designers used a contemporary material palette that included ceramic tile, natural stone, wood and aluminum veneer, glass and stainless steel.

Due to its large floor space (roughly 108,000 square feet) the store layout includes a firewall that previously divided it into two major sectors. As that wall had to stay for code reasons, the designers sought to create “a pavilion-within-a-pavilion that essentially hides the high wall,” says Qin.

The overall result, says Qin, is a space that exudes “vivid vitality” that attracts shoppers of all ages, including those coveted millennials.




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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