Huawei has built a city living room, with technology and humanities as its background

In Shanghai, a city with dense business districts, Taikoo Li Qiantan has a different kind of temperament: it does not have the crowds of tourists on Nanjing East Road, nor does it have a strong commercial atmosphere like Jing'an Temple.

The interlaced architectural layout of lanes and lanes sweeps away the hustle and bustle of the bustling city. Lawns and steps form a natural stage and seats. The sky loop that spans the entire community becomes an excellent runway for viewing the Pudong skyline.

First community, then a mall. Because of this unique atmosphere, Huawei’s flagship store decided to enter this future new landmark of Shanghai. Located in the hinterland of the intersection of three main roads, adjacent to a number of top luxury brands, Huawei is greeted by more demanding consumer aesthetics and choices.

technological romanticism

A store is not a fast fashion that is thrown out every season. It is not only the face of the brand, but also needs to match the temperament of the city and community, and must withstand the scrutiny of time.

For a long time, catering to the trend of Internet celebrities and creating check-in points has become an efficient means of acquiring customers. However, the scene without cultural support seems empty and weak, and it is easy to be quickly abandoned in the ever-changing fashion trend.

Giving a place spirit and meaning is a way of business practice, but for a company with more than 30 years of technology accumulation, brand spirit is not something that can be found, but something that has been accumulated over time and deeply rooted in its growth.

Technology is only Huawei's background, and romanticism is Huawei's core.

Romance is more than human love, it is a natural expression of wandering eyes: from the summer Populus euphratica of the Mate 40 series, to the Yachuan green of the Brahmaputra River on the Mate 60 Pro, to the Danxia orange of the Wenjie M9, they are all inspired by mountains, rivers and seas. Title. The wild spirit of the secret realm of Medog and the rushing of the plateau and rivers often remind people of Huawei's vigorous and endless vitality when facing adversity.

This natural vitality is injected into the design of the flagship store: the entire store is like a huge plant growing toward the sun. Huawei uses design elements of leaves and stems to create a 16-meter-high leaf facade, which will not belong to the flagship store. The third floor of the store is wrapped.

The 13 huge pieces of glass are presented to passers-by in a frameless manner, which not only attracts attention from a distance, but also complements the style of the curved fence of Taikoo Li Qiantan.

As the designer of Huawei's flagship store, Dutch architectural firm UNStudio has designed landmark buildings in many cities. In an interview with iFaner, Ben van Berkel, founder and chief architect of UNStudio, said that they envisioned creating an experience that connects visitors, nature, and Huawei technology. To this end, they adopted the design concept of "Harmonious Living Forest" and used organic elements of different forms of growing leaves to express the natural theme.

From ancient Egypt's architectural columns imitating lotuses, papyrus and palm trees, to ancient Greece's Corinthian capitals and god acanthus blades; from Gothic churches' pointed arches and flying buttresses imitating rattan, to Baroque architecture The emphasis on dynamic moments; from the large number of bionic elements in the Sagrada Familia to the design inspiration of the wave shells in the Sydney Opera House, advocating the expression of nature, emotion and personality has never been the patent of 19th century romanticism.

Advocating nature is an innate emotion of human beings, and imitating nature not only spans ancient and modern times, but also connects humanities and science.

Huawei's romanticism is a kind of technological romanticism : In the field of communications, where Huawei has deep accumulation, the recursive algorithm of polar codes shows a high degree of similarity with the growth of plant branches and the arrangement of leaf veins. The fractal structure allows plants to use space efficiently, as is the ability of recursive algorithms to call themselves repeatedly.

The technical romanticism of strict logic and mathematical rationality creates a kind of orderliness in disorder and rigor in fantasy. The seemingly heavy materials are naturally kneaded by algorithms to present a gentle and gentle curve.

The huge stems from the outside to the inside form supporting columns in a natural form, preventing them from overpowering the atrium. The pillars hide mysteries. By scanning the QR code, you can see the AR scene projected on the pillars. When users touch the green plants, they can also hear the trembling of water, the falling of rain and the singing of birds.

This interactive device that integrates vision, smell and hearing is like a "Hongmeng tree" and becomes the concrete expression of the Hongmeng system.

The silicon-carbon-based expression technique requires the integration of digital interaction and spatial design. Joseph, who is responsible for Huawei’s retail store design and development director, has extensive experience in online experience design. He told Aifaner:

HarmonyOS is the foundation for our smart life. We believe that one day, the HarmonyOS ecosystem will grow from a sapling to a towering tree and finally a forest. We hope that consumers will feel a complete HarmonyOS world during the entire Qiantan flagship store interaction.

In the industrial design of smartphones, CMF (color, material and craftsmanship) interact inseparably. The same applies to buildings. The materials and processes chosen not only affect its thermal and acoustic insulation performance, but also affect the appearance texture and spatial atmosphere.

In order to give the blades a sense of contour, they chose a new type of building material to make the blades – UHPC (reactive powder concrete). The compressive strength of this material is far higher than that of ordinary concrete, reaching 150-200 MPa, which makes the structure more Thin-walled blades are possible.

The natural feeling is also reflected in the avoidance of straight lines. As Gaudí said, straight lines belong to humans, curves belong to God. There are no pure straight lines in nature. Compared with unchanging straight lines, curves breed more changes. UNStudio is good at creating fluidity and dynamics. They used the gypsum material GRG on the columns and ceilings. This material maintains good plasticity while also resisting damage, deformation and cracking caused by the environment.

Influenced by modern industrial civilization, the Bauhaus "form follows function" has dominated the aesthetic orientation for more than a century. Buildings all over the world are horizontal and vertical, and smartphones are also becoming homogeneous in a single aesthetic. This flagship store continues Huawei’s exploration in industrial design, breaking the minimalist trend that is popular in the technology circle from products to architecture, and revealing Huawei’s unique technological romanticism from the inside out.

People-centered urban living room

The charm of design is not only beautiful, but also through the collision and integration with the local cultural environment, creating a comfortable and pleasant environment for customers and bringing some new experiences to local residents.

The art gallery-like facade hints that this is no ordinary store. It does not have densely packed shelves and pressing sales. Instead, it has bright and clean glass and landscape, galleries and aisles for leisurely strolling, sofas and green plants everywhere, and after-sales counters like restaurant booths.

Breaking the traditional retail layout of shelves and product lines is not a purpose, but a result.

▲Intelligent guidance system, you can find the products you need in the huge 1800-square-meter flagship store with one click

From the smallest earphones, to the largest smart cars, and even whole-house smarts, the amount of information we have to convey to consumers is too much. We can no longer design stores like the traditional 3C industry.

Ten years ago, it would have been difficult for a company that only sold mobile phones to occupy 1,800 square meters of space. But now Huawei's product line is all-inclusive to create a full-scenario smart life, and it is more like a lifestyle company.

McLuhan said that the medium is the message. Media technology is often superimposed with multiple layers of metaphors: the mobile phone is not only a communication tool, but also a recorder of time and space. Smart watches are not only accessories for accurate timekeeping, but also advocating for a healthy lifestyle. A car is not a means of transportation on four wheels, but a way of life on the road.

In the past, it was difficult for products in stores to convey emotional value, which is why TV commercials rarely talked about product functions, but often used family ties, friendships, and distance to arouse people's imagination about life. Now, Huawei has moved its product imagination directly offline.

Huawei curated a circular gallery in a corner of the retail store, which not only demonstrates the power of images, but also conveys the imagination of smartphones.

In this atmosphere, value rationality also surpasses instrumental rationality. In the smart home experience room on the second floor, customers feel more of their longing for smart life. Home appliances, sensors, lamps and hosts are just indispensable tools.

Another significant change is that Huawei combines mobile phones, notebooks, monitors and other equipment for display, showing a full range of service scenarios. The concept of Hyper Terminal is to solve all problems with one mobile phone, and to allow different devices to be freely combined in appropriate scenarios to solve different problems.

We first layer the information. Through information layering, we partition the entire store and integrate different products into different areas. Then we connect all the partitions through consumer journeys and moving lines. Between partitions, Join relevant experiences. It is similar to the steps of a Chinese garden.

"People and goods space" is an important concept in the retail industry, but merchants often pay more attention to "goods" and "place", and the needs of "people" are often put behind, so that the words "feeling at home" have become lip service but not real. Function words.

For example, for emergency charging, people need to unplug the prototype on the shelf and stand aside to wait. In women's clothing stores, you can often see male friends carrying handbags with nowhere to stay.

It’s not hard to welcome everyone; it’s hard to consider everyone’s needs, including those who don’t want to buy.

The IN REAL LIFE area is a "third space" built for these people. The curved bar counter and orange leather-wrapped stools extend to the outdoors, creating a leisurely working and social atmosphere. Wireless charging stations, sockets and even printers are all available. Everything is available.

▲The wireless charging pads all over the table turn into a lifting socket when pressed

A large part of the second floor is used for after-sales service. The reception counter is designed to look like a semi-enclosed restaurant, which not only creates a sense of ritual for exclusive service, but also protects privacy. Huawei has opened up the entire maintenance process. Through the window of the transparent maintenance room, consumers can see at a glance the maintenance process of the equipment.

Waiting for repairs is a pain point in traditional after-sales services. In-store cafes and rest areas everywhere provide customers with a place to stay.

▲A cup of coffee absorbs the energy of the universe, which is a popular saying within Huawei

Teaching people how to fish is not something that a retail store needs to do, but it has become an important part of this retail store. Through the free Huawei Academy, users can not only experience the latest Huawei equipment, but also learn some new skills, meet people with the same hobbies and interests, and talk freely.

In the entire space, perhaps less than one-third of the space is used for sales. It is not so much a store as it is a city living room.

Breaking the boundaries between public space and commercial space

In the fast-moving consumer goods industry, store design prioritizes how to promote product conversion. Square meter efficiency is a basic indicator for measuring store operating efficiency. Merchants measure store operating efficiency by turnover per square meter.

KPIs often cannot guide decision makers to do things of long-term value. In order to improve square footage efficiency, merchants may standardize the design of stores, the placement of goods, and add shelves to place more goods.

This is why chain brands mostly have thousands of stores.

One city, one store, one culture is the positioning of Huawei’s flagship store. Huawei hopes to integrate into the context and culture of the city and create a public space integrating product exploration, technology display and cultural exchange.
For example, the Tianjin Huawei flagship store was formerly a famous transportation hotel. It has been carefully restored, retaining the characteristics of the original building, and integrating cultural elements such as the Haihe River to give the century-old building a new lease of life.

▲Huawei Tianjin Binjiang Road flagship store

It integrates commercial operations and ancient building protection, but a large amount of redundant investment cannot be directly converted into sales revenue, and it is even difficult to self-finance.

Different from Huawei smart life stores and authorized stores all over the city, there are currently only 9 Huawei flagship stores, which are directly under Huawei's terminal BG business. The store manager told Ai Faner that Huawei's flagship store does not assess sales, but uses consumer satisfaction as an indicator.

Under the guidance of such values, the relationship between store clerks and customers has also changed. Store clerks are not sales and do not enjoy sales commissions.

Our clerks will not be unwilling to serve you just because you bought a cheap data cable.

When selecting store clerks, "enthusiasm" and "communication" are regarded as the most important qualities of store clerks, and this is not only reflected in personality and language expression ability, but also related to rich experience and love for products. The store manager said that there are currently about 120 clerks in the store, who come from different fields such as sports, hotels, and art. Some are outdoor sports experts, some are photographers, and can provide services in five languages.

As Huawei's largest product, the flagship store is also like a super terminal. If the store, hardware and products constitute the hardware part of this super terminal, then the store staff, and even everyone who visits, are its software. .

Unlike consumer electronics, spaces and buildings serve more people. They communicate implicitly with cities, communities and people all the time. They have unlimited growth within a limited scale.

In the 1970s, Calvino described "Sophronia" in "Invisible Cities". This light city in the book is a kind of plug-in existence: half filled with entertainment facilities, such as amusement parks and Circus; half filled with workplaces such as banks and schools.

This "semi-architectural" idea is still the best metaphor for modern urban life.

Like Sophronia City, Huawei's retail store is diverse and changing. It breaks the barriers between public space and commercial space, presenting an everyday miracle, which may herald another possibility for the evolution of modern business.

From being a bystander and recorder of technology, to becoming a practitioner of how technology affects lifestyles.

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