ON THE ROAD STORE, on one hand, a content creator, or, specifically, a maker of street culture. On the other hand, OTRS uses its official account on WeChat as a means to spread youth culture, which is described as ‘sub-culture’ by many. Above all these, OTRS also connects the streets of the city through small pubs, creating a niche street culture exclusively belongs to the young generation.

Name: City Band Aid, Three Designs Related to Liquors.
Design: RIGI Design
Website: www.rigi-design.com
Genre: Retail Space Design
Leader designer & team: Liu Kai, Liu Xu, Donna Mai
Photographer: Liu Xu, Wang Xiyuan
Photo credits (needs to credit each): RIGI Design
Area: 20 square meters, 30 square meters, 30 square meters
Major materials: galvanized steel sheet, neon light box, cement, metal
Design description editor: Liu Kai
Design date: July 2021
Construction date: October 2021
Construction location: NO.209 Julu Rd, SH; NO.4-2 Xiangyang Rd(N), SH; NO.42 Maoming Rd(S), SH.

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©RIGI Design

For us RIGI, it is our duty to preserve the public memory of OTRS and the common behavior of the community by creating more logical and extensional designs, which may bring an opportunity to keep the niche and sub-cultural condition of this society.

We value the diversity and freedom in this city, and what we want is to give more possibilities to these characteristics. In every store that is barely twenty square meters, in every night after nine o’clock, there could be more unexpected joy and relief in the glasses.

The world may have embraced higher level of efficiency, and may also be creating more anxiety. The city may have seen waves of economic boom, and may also become less interesting. What we are going to do is trying to heal the era or city a little bit by making it a band aid.

Alcohol, city, hormones, us. This design is about liquors.

  1. About 624&OTRS

Let’s start with a quote from the OTRS, to make sure we are on the same page when discussing the beginning of this story.

‘From the middle of 2018, there has been a real, physical On The Road Store located at 624 Changle Road. Till today, the day it closes, you would not be able to buy a drink after eleven every night, because it would have been closed on time, considering on the chance of annoying the neighbors. But you would never miss the crowd in the front of it as they were at their after party.’

‘The Lost Generation, according to Hemingway, were doing nothing in the pubs and coffee shops in Paris. These immigrant artists were making toasts in the burning ruins of the WWI, spending most their lives starving in the streets, and eventually discovered a potential artistic culture. We the generation are flatted by booming technologies, but we are too easily satisfied with information and avatars, which makes creative breakthrough a rare incident. It is our honor that OTRS has created a ferry of freedom. In fact, in change624&OTRS, people gathered here because of perceivable joy rather than tension.’

‘At this year, this moment, with mixed feelings, we are saying good bye to 624&OTRS.’

‘Once there was Huang, who was generous enough to press his shutter and bring cigarette for everyone in need.’

‘There was Aunt Ying, who played sword in the Xiangyang Park every night, brought comfort to countless heartbroken kids, and recycled every empty bottle to the store. And Jin, a guy who worked here, gave preaching to every visitor, as if God was also a customer at some time.’

‘They are 624 itself, and friends of OTRS forever.’

For us RIGI, every project represents a specific need of the society.

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©RIGI Design

That pub at 624 Changle Road, may have been visited by you, or out of your knowledge till now, did exist for real at some moment, and even was some sort of phenomenon. No matter what, we need a fresh start.

Five locations, five stores, five streets, here is where we begin the design.

  1. City Band Aid

This time OTRS has chosen four new locations, which are barely related: Julu Road, North Xiangyang Road, South Maoming Road, South Chengdu Road.

Fundamentally, all the stores will be planted in the interface of the city, much like patches in the streets. Of course we could make appealing excuses to make it sound worth it, but the fact is the designs are doing the same thing, one thing: interruption. Seems like a less valuable job this way, doesn’t it?

Thus what we need is — a constructive interruption.

We would have to stick a band aid to make up for the interruption.

And of course, as we said there would be five new stores, however, as time went on, district changed, people moved, and ideas changed. It eventually turned in to three stores at the end.

When RIGI get hands on the design, we intend to form a logic of expression exclusively used by OTRS, and wish the logic could connect more spaces throughout the city, no matter it is a barber shop, a toilet, or a pub as it is this time.

We are not, from top to bottom, designing a decoration or a design to only be talked about. We use ‘band aid’ to describe OTRS, we are trying to create a interface that links more people.

We decide on two things, colors and numbers.

There are ways people remember things, for example, through shapes, materials, or even feelings. But color, color is the most direct one, since the first element goes into eyesight is always color.

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©RIGI Design

In popular theories, color could be used to represent emotions. Red conveys passion, blue means calmness, and green represents peace. Not necessarily true. Now that we have done an interruptive action, it would be best for us to use the most straightforward and basic way to define every store. Like animals use smells to define each zone, we wish people could recognize different stores by this strong medium. Patch on the streets, divide the zones.

Red, green and blue contain immeasurable possibilities. When night comes, the RGB lights spark the three streets and naturally wakes dopamine inside young bodies.

  1. Unfinished

Design done, half way through construction, with every condition expected and unexpected, it seems that everything is still under control.

It is planned to be finished by September 28th, and open at October 1st. Then there is limited power in factories.

It is rather ironic that the stores of less than sixty square meters combined would be influenced by national economics and energy strategies, but here it comes. With only a few days left to reach its accomplishment, everything is now forgotten in the dark factories. What a tragedy. Something has to be done to make it open on time.

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©RIGI Design

With rounds of serious and meaningless discussions, we decide that now that it is unfinished, it would be best just leave it unfinished, admittedly.

So the team at RIGI designs a bunch of stickers overnight to cover the facade of the store, full of word ‘unfinished’. It is hard to be seen as a design, but it only takes three hours to be done. If OTRS represents a sort of drama to some extent, then the opening would also be the ridiculous beginning of an absurd story.

Accident being accident, the unfinished should be finished in the end. Finally, all three stores are done.

4.158&OTRS – Green Store

Pinon 4-2&OTRS – Red Store

Party Head 42&OTRS – Blue Store

158&OTRS – Green Store

Across the Julu Road is FOUND 158, a famous place where many pubs are located, this store is a must for many young people looking for fun, where they start or finish their journey of the day. The pre drink as the night begins, or the last drink before home, it always happens in the green store, which hosts every lonely people every night.

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©RIGI Design

Pinon 4-2&OTRS – Red Store

The red store is not far from the original location at 624 Changle Road, for which, to some extent, it inherits the public memory belonged to the old store. We are trying to give a more lively expression to this piece of memory, making the coincidences in the past times more of certainty, where people still meet each other just after turning around in the street.

Party Head 42&OTRS – Blue Store

It is worth pointing out that, the blue store was a very stylish barber shop in Shanghai — Party Head. The people gathering here are the most fashionable among three locations. Of course Party Head is still open in the backyard, where every head of style could get themselves better looking and grab a drink.

  1. Street Code

In fact, throughout the design, RIGI has never intended to describe it as a ‘street culture’.

This is not necessarily any sort of respect or what. What we really care about, is that through this way people could show their opinions to this city, and it is not all decadent and pointless.

We think it is important to give these points of view a more enjoyable medium that bears the behaviors, so we add many unnecessary but reasonable equipment to this block.

There are actions of things, actions by people to things, and actions to people from things. RIGI takes a lot of actions here, we are trying to spark actions with these gears. Maybe you would like to lean on something, sit somewhere, open a bottle, or toss a cap. Stories happen randomly, and that is On The Road Store. So many things might happen through night, not maybe nothing at all, both of which are reasons people come here.

The poles are always the sexiest installations in the streets, no matter what is on it, illegal flyers or graffiti. It is a billboard for young people, so as we respect the authority of the poles, we also put a functional gear on it, where you could hold a beer on it or just give it a punch. Wish it a more confident pole with this piece of equipment.

A colorful patch simply covers a corner in the city. It is not important to tell if it is harmonious design, because at least we are being honest with the nature of the color. That distinguishes us from the vulgarness and affectations found in many other projects.

Crowd in the street. Two seats. Who can sit? How to sit? When to leave? What to do? That’s how it begins.

Existence is the meaning. Repeating is power. We want to leave an evidence in the city.

It’s a store of barely twenty square meters, where everything is related to liquors, and every bottle of wine is a story or an attitude. This is a convenient shop about alcohol, that it sells is just liquor, but what you get is far more than that.

Every destination should not be the finish point, because the meaning of road is always found in the next stop. Only keeping forward could make your joy today never a painful piece of memory.

Designing these parts is rather complicated. You have to keep them wild without treating them without care, and you need to keep them real without too much realistic.

  1. Creator of Culture

There could have been more aspects other than the curbs and streets to make the project rather different to the audiences because we intend to shape the stores from more dimensions. To be honest, there would be too much for you to read if we list all the product design details and turn them into design descriptions. Many of them did not go into production eventually, but are still important parts of the project. Nothing is perfect, or, put it in another way, nothing needs to be perfect.

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©RIGI Design

Maybe the world has been more efficient, but as designer we are not slave of results. The process gives more meaning to the project.

Meet you accidently after nine

‘Every day you have the opportunity to pass by a lot of people, some of them may become your friends and confidants, so I never gave up any opportunity to rub shoulders with anyone, Sometimes I’m broken and bloody, but so be it. Just be happy. I met that woman again that day. I knew that we would not become friends or confidants, because we have had too many opportunities to meet, maybe the clothes were tired of touch each other, but there was not any spark between us. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather, that night, I thought she was familiar.’ — From Fallen Angels by Wong Kar Wei

Someday during the project, I accidentally rewatched this movie and take note on the quote.

Of course, movies of Wong are always about encounter and separation. This quote, after twenty-seven years, could be easily missed by viewers now. The one who spoke this, Kaneshiro Takeshi, is also more than fifty. Everything seems a bit old school.

Is encounter such an easy thing? At this era where algorithms are trying to lock on you, maybe the word ‘we’ is nothing more than luxury.

Simple as hell. Hope the younglings toss their smart phones and meet accidently after nine.

We spend our lives against our inability and boredom, but what is lost is always freedom and our selves.

Stories always happen randomly, change occasionally, we think this is what On The Road Store means to the young generation, and also why we design. At every fussy but energetic night, we wish it could provide people with more unexpected joy.

Joy is not a pursuit, it is an ability required in every second of our lives.

“There is a cigarette by future, would you like to have a try?”

Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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