In China, dining is often referred to as “eating rice.” With three meals a day, each accompanied by rice, rice has long been a staple of Eastern civilization. Just as there are numerous stylish clothing options, an essential “good meal” is irreplaceable in daily life. This is why the concept of “Grain in the Mountain City” was conceived.
The inaugural nice rice establishment in Chongqing is strategically situated in the core area of MIXC Phase II. Positioned at the entrance of the shopping center’s atrium plaza, this standalone building boasts a 360° glass facade, offering optimal views and substantial foot traffic. The intention is to transform this location into a prominent landmark, capitalizing on its geographical advantage.
The central core and utility rooms of the building naturally create a circular commercial circulation route. By ingeniously suspending a giant grain of rice from above and wrapping it around the core, this visual centerpiece emerges on the plaza. Functionally, the interior spaces are arranged around this “grain of rice.” The clothing display area and coffee zone form a cohesive indoor circulation, while discrete areas such as storage and electrical rooms are concealed within the “grain,” ensuring customers experience a spacious and uncluttered ambiance.
The coffee area features wooden round tables, exuding vitality through the natural texture of the wood. Seated around circular tables fosters inclusivity, reducing perceived distances between individuals. The outdoor seating area provides both standing round tables and bench seating for visitors to briefly pause and relax. The design eliminates excess decorations, focusing on the imaginative concept of the rice grain. Minimalism becomes the finest decoration, cultivating an open space for communal dining that is relaxed and warm.
Chongqing’s undulating urban landscape is recognizable from various viewpoints—plazas, office buildings, elevated light rail, and subway entrances. The large rice grain serves not only to shield existing rooftop equipment but also becomes a branded urban landmark, projecting the unique culture of the brand into the cityscape.
考虑到重庆的气候及雨水，室内外的米粒需要通过不同的耐候性测试及和人的感官触达。经过前期不断打样、翻模、测试，最终选择了超高性能混凝土（Ultra-High Performance Concrete）作为主要材料。室内的粗糙质肌理更接近大米质感，而室外部分为了雨水更好的滑落和清洁，光泽度会更高。由功能出发带来效果上差异，却在城市尺度被不断缩小，留给市民的反而是轻松且容易阅读的品牌形象。
Given Chongqing’s climate and precipitation, both the indoor and outdoor rice grain structures required different weather-resistant testing and tactile experiences. After extensive sampling, molding, and testing, ultra-high-performance concrete was chosen as the primary material. The interior texture resembles rice’s rough surface, while the outdoor portion, needing efficient rain runoff and cleaning, features a higher gloss. While functional considerations result in visual disparities, the effect is minimized on a city scale, leaving citizens with a light and easily recognizable brand image.
say architects aspire for this “rice grain” to become a symbol etched into Chongqing’s urban memory, demonstrating that Chinese brands draw not only from national culture but also shape a national character and belief system aligned with the new era’s environment.
Project Name:nice rice Chongqing Concept Store:
Area: 290 sqm
Location: MIXC Phase II, Chongqing, China
Project Type: Commercial Space
Design Firm: say architects
Partner-in-charge: Zhang Yan, Dan Jianan
Team: Wang Jia (Project Lead), Zhou Yao, Zhang Yixuan, Jin Tiejun, Xu Xinlong
Space Photography: HereSpace
Video Photography: DONG Architecture Imaging
Construction Team: Shanghai Zhonggeng Decoration Design Co., Ltd.
Lighting Consultation: Lighttrace Lighting Design Co., Ltd.
UHPC Supplier: Shanghai Jialan Building Technology Co., Ltd.