Yizheng Experience Centre, China

22nd February 2017

In pursuit of creating a corporate brand experience that intrigues its visitors, United Design Practice has delivered a visual spectacle at Yizheng Stationery’s new Zhejiang Province experience centre that utilises experimental lighting design from Light Collab to achieve impressive results.

Yizheng Stationery is a market leader in children’s erasers in China. Its new Zhejiang Province experience centre is situated in Yizheng’s factory so that the experience becomes a part of the entire sales journey. In doing so, it allows business partners to understand the company’s diversified product range.

With this project, the aim was to bring the brand to life, making it relevant to both partners and consumers. Traditionally, corporate brand experience centres are targeted at business partners with many exhibition boards and lengthy paragraphs talking about manufacturing prowess and production capabilities. This type of execution is often uninteresting, and delivers the brands messaging on the wrong level.

Interior designers United Design Practice’s approach was to deliver a visual spectacle and to impress and intrigue, leaving visitors wanting to know more.

The practice’s branding concept of ‘things that can be erased and things that cannot be erased’ is reminiscent of good and bad memories we all share from our childhood. As we grow older, the bad ones tend to fade, leaving the good ones behind. This is the empowering message behind the idea.

The start of the brand experience centre leads visitors into a concept tunnel. The five key posters developed by United Design Practice, have been placed along the tunnel walls at a 15° angle (consistent with the incline in the logo). A line that shifts from black to shining white cuts the posters in half, emphasising the two sides of the same story. This line is the spatial embodiment of the idea of what is erased away and what is not. Turning the corner the line ends at opposite sides of the tunnel, cutting across a black painting and a white painting. Looking forward and backward in the tunnel is like looking into the future and back at the past. With the right encouragement, visitors walk towards the white painting, and see the growth they have attained, only to turn back to realise they have overcome the obstacles that are on the black painting. Light Collab illuminated the concept tunnel while highlighting the posters and keeping the light levels low, as the experience was to condition visitors to enter a different zone, which will then set the mood entering the main experience zone.

Entering the experience zone, the guests will arrive at the acrylic product wall, where the impressive range of products that Yizheng has produced are featured.

Visitors will also have a chance to experience the Scent Library, where scented erasers made of food shapes are placed in jars, inviting guests to open them and smell.

In addition to the overall illumination of the experience centre, Light Collab was given the challenge to investigate the uniqueness of the eraser products and their possible interaction with light as a major experiential and branding element. The design process started with a series of investigations, in which Light Collab tested the reflectivity, refraction quality and translucency of the rubber with light. It took about two months of rigorous experiments before a conclusion was made. One outcome was ‘Rubber Pendant Light + Podium’ – where tests with translucency of the rubber material in both black and white colours were used to make bespoke pendants to complete the podiums below. It took a while to get the right mix of both rigidity and translucency in the white and black rubber tubes. The team found that when the rubber material increases in transparency, it also becomes too soft and unable to stay in its square profile. It should have the right translucency, so that the internal light source will not be seen while the light can filter out from the rubber material. The black version also proved tricky as when it becomes too transparent, it will not be solid black but will appear to be more grey.

Three sets of these rubber pendants were conceived, which were configured differently on the side view. In addition, when looked at from the bottom, the pendants spell the Chinese characters of Yizheng, a mirror image of the wooden blocks of the podium below.

More experiments were conducted to investigate the further potential of the erasers and their interaction with light. As a result, two more bespoke lighting fixtures were created for the experience centre, both of which were dramatised by the before and after effect of storytelling with light.

Firstly, ‘Footsteps of Light’, made of white rubber blocks that protrude from the wall in a seemingly random fashion were created. With this fixture, only when the light is turned on, are the Yizheng chinese characters revealed. These experiments started with a series of small pieces of eraser from the factory. Finding the right dimensions of the solid blocks of rubber/erasers in relation to the distance and angle of light was key in achieving the correct shadow. In the end, the size of the final installation was magnified to the actual proportions of the space.

Secondly was the use of reflected light from coloured rubber blocks to compose a painting with light called ‘Speckles’. This installation was inspired by the beauty of the translucent jelly erasers that are manufactured and sold by the client. This sparked the thoughts of showing off the beauty of the coloured jelly erasers using reflected light. Thus, United Design Practice  made the inner sides of the blocks using specially customised pieces of coloured erasers, while the exterior side of the blocks were left white, so that people appreciate the simplicity of the white blocks when the lights are off, and are surprised by the other side of the erasers that create the reflections.

United Design Practice has delivered a visual spectacle at Yizheng Stationery’s new Zhejiang Province experience centre that utilises  experimental lighting design from Light Collab to achieve impressive results.