Nice Rice Chongqing Concept Store: a grain of  rice in the mountain city

Nice Rice Chongqing Concept Store: a grain of rice in the mountain city

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 Chongqing Concept Store is strategically situated in the core area of MIXC Phase II

say architect designed the Nice Rice Chongqing Concept Store

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.

say architect designed the Nice Rice Chongqing Concept Store

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.

Nice Rice Chongqing Concept Store

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.

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.

Location: MIXC Phase II, Chongqing, China
Area: 290 sqm
Design Firm: say architects
Partner-in-charge: Zhang Yan, Dan Jianan
Team: Wang Jia (Project Lead), Zhou Yao, Zhang Yixuan, Jin Tiejun, Xu Xinlong
Construction Team: Shanghai Zhonggeng Decoration Design Co., Ltd.
Lighting Consultation: Lighttrace Lighting Design Co., Ltd.
UHPC Supplier: Shanghai Jialan Building Technology Co., Ltd.
Photo credit: HereSpace