MVRDV designs the NIO House showroom, taking inspiration from the city of Chongqing


Li Zhaolin,

Chongqing, China,


A special staircase, which takes inspiration from the city of Chongqing: this is the distinctive element that the MVRDV architecture studio designed for NIO House Chongqing, the new showroom created for the Chinese electric car manufacturer NIO. For this promising start-up, considered a major player in China's electric car boom, the architects designed a staircase inspired by the Chongqing skyline, with the buildings appearing to be arranged in layers on the city’s steep hills.

MVRDV designs the NIO House showroom, taking inspiration from the city of Chongqing

NIO, the promising car manufacturer specialised in the production of electric vehicles, considered the Chinese answer to Tesla, as well as one of the main players in China’s electric car sales boom, commissioned the MVRDV architecture studio with the design of its NIO House Chongqing showroom. The new showroom recently opened its doors in the city of Chongqing, the most populated city-metropolis in the world that boasts over 30 million inhabitants. The design created by the MVRDV firm is not only a showroom, but like other “NIO Houses”, it offers a series of services reserved for members of the brand: a café, meeting rooms, a library, a “forum&rdquo space for events and exhibitions and a children’s play area known as the “joy camp”. The showroom’s strong point is its position, from which a splendid panoramic view can be enjoyed over Chongqing Raffles City, the urban complex designed by Moshe Safdie, with its newly opened hotel InterContinental Chongqing Raffles City. Architects from the MVRDV firm took full advantage of the dramatic panoramic views creating the so-called "3D City Mix", a distinctive element that characterises the project, linking it to the urban experience offered by Chongqing. The special "3D City Mix " staircase, inspired by the Chongqing skyline, in fact occupies a central position in the showroom, becoming the very heart of the design. The staircase is made of panels in different types of wood that recall the buildings arranged in layers on the city’s steep hills. However, the uppermost panel is finished in blue marble, in reference to the brand’s philosophy and to the Chinese name “Nio”, meaning "blue sky coming". The panels hide the flights of the staircase behind, as well as some functional spaces reserved for the showroom’s staff. The main function of this element is obviously to connect the two floors in which the showroom is divided, which assume different functions. The lower floor is the real showroom, where the manufacturer’s cars are on display. Like objects in a photographic studio, the vehicles are showcased in an environment dominated by the white that covers the floor, ceiling and walls. The second floor, on the other hand, houses functions reserved by the NIO House for the brand’s members, with the various spaces clad in different types of wood. On both floors the architects created a pathway along the façade, also defined by wood cladding, distributed over the two floors and connected by the 3D City Mix. The pathway is free of any obstacles and has been designed to give the impression of taking a walk along the river, from where the spectacular panoramic views over Chongqing city can be admired.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Project Name: NIO House Chongqing Location: Raffles City, Chongqing, China
Year: 2019
Client: NIO Size and Programme: 1420 m2 car showroom and members’ club

Architect: MVRDV Founding Partner in charge: Jacob van Rijs Partner: Wenchian Shi Design Team: María López Calleja, Peter Chang, Javier López-Menchero Ortiz de Salazar, Irene Sapienza, Lin Xiaoying, Echo Zhai Competition design: María López Calleja, Peter Chang, Javier López-Menchero Ortiz de Salazar, Cosimo Scotucci, Lin Xiaoying, Sumio Kumagai, Xiaodong Luo Director MVRDV Asia: Marta Pozo Project coordinator: Jammy Zhu Visualisation: Antonio Luca Coco, Pavlos Ventouris, Francesco Vitale, Magda Bykowska, Kirill Emelianov Copyright: MVRDV 2019 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Frans de Witte, Fokke Moerel, Wenchian Shi, Jan Knikker)
SD&DD: Caddie Qu, Seven Shi, Kai Wang, Ethan Huang
Photographs: Li Zhaolin