Adjacent to the Old Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ 3,930m² (42,300sq.ft) scheme for this the new department store features striking, reflective stainless steel interiors which capture the colour, buzz and activity in the stores food market space and create a sense of drama which shimmers right down to the lower retail levels.
the brief: RGI International approached Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and food consultants Ford McDonald on the basis of their experience bringing life to the notoriously underperforming upper floors of department stores: they have transformed Harvey Nichols in London, Edinburgh and Manchester and the acclaimed La Rinescente in Milan, and are designers of London’s 90s icon - the OXO Tower Restaurant Bar and Brasserie.
The new Tsvetnoy Central Market, designed by Moscow-based architectural studio Project Meganom, seeks to establish a food experience new to Moscow - a retail space with high-quality local and international produce at reasonable prices in a market atmosphere. To be located on the top floors of the new store, it was crucial that the space entice shoppers to the top of the store and become a destination in itself, while at the same time the brief stipulated that the produce was to be the focal point, that the design let the produce take centre stage.
the idea: The concept of the ceiling was a response to two factors: the site’s history as a food and flower market and the geometries of the building’s exterior.
Russian architecture studio Project Meganom’s design for the envelope is complex and innovative. Conceived as a ‘mountain’ its angular planes are a striking contrast to the traditional buildings along the boulevard.
Situated on the upper floors of the store, the scheme is centred around a 1,700m² (18,300sq.ft) ‘market place’ above which a large-scale mezzanine level houses a 16m long bar, two private dining restaurants and destination outdoor terraces with views across the Moscow skyline. The building has floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, so Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands harnessed the ‘editable’ plane – the ceiling – and created a distinct feature comprised of 2,600 components made from highly-polished beaten stainless steel.
Visible from the ground floor entrance through a large full-height atrium, the ceiling provides visitors with a glimpse of the colourful produce and activities taking place in the 7m high food hall above. Sitting inside the external envelope, the reflective surfaces wrap and unify the two food retail floors, creating movement through abstract shifting patterns of colour, which make reference to the site’s history as a flower marketplace as well as the architectural innovation and geometry of the new building. Impressed by the architectural concept, the client drew the surface material down to the lower levels of the department store designed by HMKM, including the central atrium spaces. This mirrored edging unifies the retail floors, further driving footfall.
The food hall is flanked by six over-the-counter fresh food concessions, and the market retails a wide range of goods including fresh fruits and vegetables, dry groceries, frozen food and flowers. Key to the market feel is buyer and trader interface. Employees stand on the customer side of the bespoke counters, which are fabricated from wood for a warm feel to show off the produce and provide a counterbalance to the metal ceiling.
Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ architectural approach to the client’s brief, utilising space, light and technology to its maximum has resulted in a sophisticated yet accessible experience for visitors to Tsvetnoy Central Market. The ceiling works to create a distinct identity for the interior of the store which subtly references geometry of the building’s exterior, while reflecting the produce, shoppers and activities in constantly changing patterns and entice shoppers upwards through the building - creating a true destination at the top of the store.