INTERIOR DESIGN; 2018-2020; CHENGDU, CHINA
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province in Southwest China, is seeing a revolution in its metro station system, with the city’s first fully-automatic unmanned metro line officially opening on the 18th December 2020. Chengdu Metro Line 9 Phase I is approximately 22 km long, runs southeast to northwest of the city and consists of 13 underground stations.
The project’s construction started at the end of 2016 and is the first unmanned subway line in the west China. The metro line will also be the world’s first fully automated, unmanned line in a city area that operates with high-capacity Type 8A trains.
In 2018, London-based studio, Sepanta Design, collaborated with Shenzhen-based Jiang & Associates Design (J&A) to develop the conceptual interior design of the stations. The team won the bid for the design of all the 13 stations and the project went under construction in 2019.
“As one of the leading firms in the transportation design field, we are keen to provide our clients with a high-quality design service. By building a long-term relationship with talented design partners from all over the world, we and our partners will keep bringing high quality design services to our clients. We really enjoyed designing together with our partner Sepanta Design from London on Chengdu line 9 and look forward to the next collaborations.” Frank Jiang, J&A chairman / state department special allowance specialist.
The two clients for this project were Chengdu Metro, and China Railway City Development and Investment Group. Supported by their great ambitions for the project, the interior designers decided to take the same bold approach that the construction and operation of the metro line was taking, and create spaces that would entirely change people’s expectations of what metro stations can offer them.
“Our main aim in the design of Chengdu metro stations was to `provoke emotions`. There are some metro stations around the world that do that, but not many. Metro stations in central Moscow are a great example of how to take the design to another level and go beyond the functional and regulatory requirements. Chengdu metro stations are not going to be merely points of transit. They are going to be memorable spaces that offer their passengers an artistic and futuristic expression of their own culture”, Reza Esmaeeli, founder of Sepanta Design and Design Director at Chetwoods Architects.
Chengdu Metro Line 9 passes through the birthplace of Sichuan Silk Culture and Sichuan Embroidery Culture, as well as many urban ecological parks. The designers wanted to express this culture and the artistry of Sichuan silk and embroidery in the interior design, and let the design reflect Chengdu city’s progressive and creative culture.
THE INTERIOR DESIGN
The 13 stations were divided into two categories. Four stations of Incubation Park, Jincheng Avenue, Cuqiao and Jitouqiao were selected as 4 ‘Feature Stations’ that would each have a unique concept, reflecting their local environment. The other 9 stations were designed as ‘Standard Artistic Stations’ that would generally follow the same design, but each would have some local elements to differentiate it from the others.
Studying the rich culture of embroidery and silk weaving in Chengdu, the team created a formal language for all the stations that is based on an abstract interpretation of the embroidery techniques. The continuous movements of the lines, their interweaving, creation of nodes and pattern generation was reinterpreted with forms and texture in the space.
Each Feature Station has a different subtheme based on its location, which is explored and defined by use of its own colour palette, featured zones, bespoke furniture, special activities and choice of materials. Lighting is the key tool in the creation of the desired feeling in all the stations, and is achieved by use of various techniques in each station. Above all, what was most important for Sepanta and J&A design teams was to create design concepts that were fully inclusive and that all the conceptual and functional elements would come together under one organizational form.
“We are happy to have had this opportunity to contribute to the exciting, dynamic and historic culture of Chengdu. The client’s great ambitions, J&A’s unparalleled experience in design of metro stations and SOHOVita’s support in creating the desired communication line among different parties were all crucial elements of the successful delivery of this project. Despite all the restrictions that the pandemic is currently imposing on us, I hope we all get to enjoy a ride on the metro in Chengdu very soon!” Yevgeniya Pozigun, Sepanta Design
Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, Jiang & Associates Design (J&A) is one of the biggest interior design firms in Asia. J&A has been honored as “the most influential design team in China” for 10 successive years. The design of rail transport spaces is one of the firm’s key specialisms.
Sepanta Design is an architectural and interior design studio based in London that focuses on the design and realization of spaces and buildings that are functional, conceptual and contextual.
SOHOVita is a global design and management platform that connects overseas designers with Chinese architectural projects. SOHOVita’s vision is to make it easier for designers around the world to work on Chinese projects, regardless of geographical and cultural barriers.
Currently, Reza Esmaeeli is Design Director for Chetwoods Architects, where the collaboration between London-based and Shenzhen-based companies is continuing and a handful of new metro stations are under development.
“Chengdu Line 9 was the start of a fruitful collaboration that is ongoing. Working together with our Chinese partners, we are determined to keep China’s new generation of metro stations at the frontline of design in the world’s transportation sector”, Laurie Chetwood, Chairman of Chetwoods Architects