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The Chinese studio X+Living conceptualizes immersive spaces that are playful, aesthetic, and heuristic, which also stimulate the senses.

© SFAP / Jieyi Architecture Photography
© SFAP / Jieyi Architecture Photography

X+Living, founded by Chinese architect and designer Li Xiang, has been involved in multidisciplinary interior and architectural projects for over ten years. Its field of expertise is wide: retail, office, hotel, shopping malls, parent-child. With the motto “Design creates value,” the studio has quickly distinguished itself through its theatrical spaces, bold geometries, vibrant colors, and immersive experiences. 

The new retail space, B.C. Glacial Water, is one such space. It’s actually a transient space transformed into a semi-open shop/art gallery, located between Deji Plaza and the Deji Art Museum in Nanjing. Here, the designer intertwines art and commerce to form “a prelude” where the space’s only wall is both a sales area and an art exhibit.

“In my sleep, I heard the autumn breeze outside, but when I woke up, I found nothing but leaves from a budding tree falling on the steps, bathed in moonlight,” the designer explains. As consumers stroll through the space, they feel as if they are moving under snowy trees in a winter atmosphere to master paintings, inviting them to stop, rest, observe, and feel.

Enhancing the sensory experience

X+Living has also designed numerous spaces dedicated to the family, like this unique private kindergarten in Huzhou. The studio was commissioned by Zi Ling Education Group, which wants to bring “education back to its essence” via a platform, allowing “children to grow naturally, independently and freely.” 

© SFAP / Jieyi Architecture Photography

Kindergarten remains the first important experience in a child’s life, where they begin to interact, socialize, touch, and perceive the world. X+Living thus designs a museum in the clouds where all the educational space blends together. The 12,800-square-meter structure encourages them to learn with experiential and immersive methods in customized classrooms (art, sports, reading, exploration, traditional culture, dance, psychological games…).

© SFAP / Jieyi Architecture Photography

These transform into art galleries, cultural centers, science, and technology museums. X+Living even creates “a mini simulation city” where facilities are simulated with supermarkets, hospitals, etc.

The kindergarten is shaped like a dream where the real world and the imaginary world of the children merge and influence each other, creating emotional links for lasting memories.

Nathalie Dassa