Bloomage International Investments Group’s latest commercial development, a new, 50-acre arts district southeast of downtown Chengdu, is capitalizing on the city’s momentum as a prime destination for living, shopping, and entertainment and will offer space for residences, offices, retail, and a multi-functional media center. In addition to the goal of designing environmentally responsible public spaces,… Read more »
Bloomage International Investments Group’s latest commercial development, a new, 50-acre arts district southeast of downtown Chengdu, is capitalizing on the city’s momentum as a prime destination for living, shopping, and entertainment and will offer space for residences, offices, retail, and a multi-functional media center.
In addition to the goal of designing environmentally responsible public spaces, touring the local attractions with the client last November underscored the importance of making spaces that have the potential to become memorable expressions of the region’s history, culture, and identity. Residents of Chengdu cannot live without any of the following social catalysts that generate energy and add grace to their city; establishing a hospitable environment in urban neighborhoods should allow for economic, environmental, and social sustainability.
Tea Culture: Chengdu people rely on a number of city resorts for daytime tea drinking. Similar to the music and brunch scene in New Orleans, locals enjoy spending time with families and friends sipping and chatting. Such recreational spots are pocket resorts that add a crowning touch to the landscape and create endless design opportunities to give a full and pleasurable expression of the place.
Opera Culture: there are many places in Chengdu to watch operas while eating; signature places for hot-pot and morning dim-sum often have in-restaurant stages available for evening shows. Having a sophisticated appreciation for this profound art does not diminish the enjoyment of experiencing a show while dining and the performances inspired us to create such zones in our outdoor environments.
Food Culture: Chengdu’s cuisine is extremely unique and diverse owing to its use of spices. Two essential local options are “spicy” and “numb.” Locals attribute their love of spicy food to the climate and humidity: “It’s too hot and humid here and we have to eat spicy food to be able to sweat.” Even though the weather is not optimal, the natives still enjoy spending most of their time outside. Thus, having outdoor seating becomes crucial for many restaurants. Although food trucks were not often seen there, the culture inspired us to introduce some into urban spaces.
Understanding the needs of all area users is crucial to integrating development into a neighborhood so that it creates economic, social, and environmental benefits for its residents. The ideal environmental design combines art and ecology; it’s imperative to have an insight into the human element in sustainability, in addition to the functionality of urban spaces and how people interact with them.
Dixi Wang is a designer in the Houston studio.
Image of Kung Fu tea performance courtesy of AmiSng via Flickr Creative Commons: http://tinyurl.com/hecbuj6