Main image: photography by Vincent Wu

The shopping experiences that we have come to love or loath, are dependent on factors such as aesthetics, ease of use, access, ample parking, lighting and so much more when it comes to creating a fully immersive experience. However, designers who work in this space now have much more to contend with, as the global pandemic is probably causing the largest shift in consumer behaviour out of necessity rather than choice.

As the world is slowly returning to its new normal, one thing stands out – as human beings we have the need to connect and interact with each other. If we can do so in a beautiful and relaxing environment such as a unique and well-designed shopping experience, we will keep returning to this space.

The interior design of retail chain stores, department stores, supermarkets and showrooms have catapulted new designers and experiential experts who have the ability to make the most of these spaces. This year’s category shortlist of the 2021 WIN Awards testifies to the leaps and being taken to create extraordinary spaces.

As part of our special feature on retail we invite you to be wowed with us in a sneak preview of this category’s top entries for 2021.

Retail chain stores, department stores, supermarkets and showrooms showcase


Set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this prestigious project includes a contemporary shopping mall, a luxury retail mall, a 3 500-seat auditorium and two waterfront residential condominium towers.

As the interior designer on the retail components of the project, a key challenge for Benoy was to ensure footfall through all eight levels of retail, leisure, fashion and beauty. It was essential to create a world-class contemporary shopping destination that had a strong sense of “Thai-ness” to attract both local and international visitors.

Lotus flower symbol
A narrative based on the symbolic lotus flower and the Chao Phraya River inspired the soft fluid forms of the plan, which wraps around a series of feature internal retail buildings named the ICONS.

Photographer: Raphael Olivier, image rights owned by Benoy

ICONS within ICON, a set of four triplex towers, whose geometry and design are inspired by the forms of the lotus flower, allow brands to create experience in a 360-degrees environment. Opened in December 2018, the project has become a national landmark and a new global destination. To date, it has won the Best Store Design of the Year Award at the World Retail Awards 2019 and the Best Shopping Centre Award at MAPIC 2019.


By effectively using the inherent column structure, the designer constructed two columns each into a circular arch with built-in light strips, which is fused together with the ground stone and mirrors to shape an infinitely extending “time and space tunnel”. The green spiral staircase connects the first and second floors, catching people’s eyes and enriching the space experience.

Immersive atmosphere
The designer created an immersive atmosphere with light as a modular system and experience between reality and fiction, realism, and fantasy, by extending the three-dimensional visual sense of the space. As a medium connecting reality and illusion, light perfectly connects the reflected image with light and shadow. The exchange between the imaginary and real lifecreates an infinitely extending dimension of art, allowing visitors to soar in it.

Photography by Vincent Wu


With the proliferation of e-commerce, ordering groceries online has become a norm. The purpose of a physical supermarket is no longer about providing convenience but experience.

This store has become a platform where customers gain new knowledge about food and preparation, a community where elders pass on lifestyle tips to youngsters, and a place for socialising and meeting others.

At the fresh-vegetable section, the designers created the experience of walking down the aisles in a local Chinese outdoor market. This is realised by dressing the ceiling with a series of metal mesh canopies mimicking tarpaulin. Throughout the 670m² supermarket, a wooden frame is used to tie all the different sections together: Fruit and vegetables, fishmonger, butchery, dry goods, restaurant, café and bakery.

The dining area is conceived as an open-air street food stall. Bamboo tables, rattan chairs and flagstone pavers together compose a Chinese vernacular, recalling the memory of having humble, yet authentic dishes at an outdoor local joint.

Following the flagstone pavement, the “open-air” food stall leads to a more intimate bakery and café area. The street facade, marked by stacked milk crates, provides a spectacular lighting feature at night and draws people into the shop The overall warm tone and rich texture help to compose a welcoming and appetite-inducing atmosphere.

By creating a vernacular ambience in a modern supermarket, Lukstudio strengthens the collective memory of a vivid marketplace and creates new appeal for the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

Photography by Dirk Weiblen Photography


The Winslow Presentation Gallery is the reception area and project showcase for a new contemporary residential design with meticulous attention to detail, from sophisticated warm tones and clean lines that evoke a light and airy aesthetic. The thoughtful use of materials and visual textures at every touch point speak to the quality of this development.

Photography by Gillian Jackson and Naomi Finlay


The design vision of Wuhan Greenland 606 Centre was to develop a creative social retail hub. The distinctive interior design and strategy deliver a new retail concept alongside entertainment and experiences that goes beyond shopping, appeals to the younger generation and addresses the future of retail.

The eight levels of Wuhan Greenland 606 Centre have been split into dual-design modes, with an urban stage from Basement 1 to Level 3 and an extremely large atrium void at the heart of the mall extending 46 metres up to the ceiling of Level 3.

Changing levels shift experiences
The featured escalator in the middle of the atrium brings visitors all the way up from Level 1 to an imagined Isle of Laputa on Level 4, where the retail concept shifts to lifestyle experiences and passion clusters – spaces where people can indulge in their own interests. Here they can meet and make new likeminded friends and share experiences that they are passionate about.

A rock-climbing wall and an indoor basketball court on Level 5 are another focal point of the mall. Aside from a cinema, there is a venue for arts and DIY crafts on Level 6. Level 7 is home to Yama, a magical forest-themed place to play, eat and drink that is bathed in natural light and a wealth of greenery.

Wuhan Greenland 606 Centre created a unique and enjoyable experience. The ever-changing space seeks to redefine retail by not only providing themed, interactive stores and new retail concepts, but also experiences of discovery and opportunities to connect.

The 2021 WIN Awards will be announced on Tuesday, 16 November 2021. Join us then to see who the ultimate honours will be awarded to.

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