A world-class city deserves a world-class department store, and in Tsvetnoy (which means “colourful” in Russian), Muscovites finally have one. Our brief was for a highly sophisticated food retail experience that would occupy the store’s upper floors and entice shoppers to the store with something completely new to Moscow. We took inspiration from the geometry of the exterior building as well as the site’s former use as a food and flower market, whose souk-like appeal had been popular in Soviet times but had been derelict for some years.
Many architects don’t understand that the retailer constantly changes what happens on the floor, but from our work in previous international retail and food destinations, we knew how effective feature ceilings can be. So, for Tsvetnoy, we created a spectacular, suspended ceiling of 2,600 mirrored and hammered stainless steel panels, which sit inside the external envelope and ‘wrap’ around each level. As well as providing a response to the exterior geometry of the building, the ceiling has a dramatic effect that brings light into the building from the floor-to-ceiling windows and the skylight on the top floor, and reflects both the colourful produce from the food hall and its visitors below. Visible from the main entrance on the ground floor, it entices shoppers to ‘look up’ as they enter, and its success resulted in our client insisting on its use in the atrium and on almost every floor.
To get exactly the right effect, we carried out a great deal of 3-D computer modelling and, to maintain quality, kept up a key role during construction on site, working with the client site team and overseeing sub-contractor design development. The procurement style and multi-national site team meant that the client relied on us to manage the design development process, for which site meetings, factory visits and mock-up reviews during the contractor design period proved critical.
Time and again, our architectural approach to retail interiors in major European cities has shown our ability to deliver something new and exciting for our clients. Tsvetnoy’s photogenic design provides a unique visual identity but, more than that, it captures something quintessentially Russian about the shopping experience.