A gift shop and events space lie inside this post office in Zhejiang, China, which design studio Yatofu has decked out in red, green and white.
Bund Post Office – which is shortlisted in the small retail interior category of this year’s Dezeen Awards – is situated in Ningbo, a city in northeast Zhejiang.
When Yatofu was tasked with designing the interiors, it first examined the duties of post offices and the ways in which different communities use them.
“Initial research led to the realization that post offices are often seen as most necessary during times of celebration – this means holidays, festivals, birthdays, and of course the culturally significant, Chinese New Year,” said the studio, which is based in Helsinki.
This encouraged Yatofu to make Bund Post Office more than a destination where Ningbo residents can simply send mail – the building also includes a gift shop, as well as an events space that doubles up as a children’s play area.
Postal facilities are in a double-height room on the ground floor, which is illuminated by a series of spherical pendant lights suspended from the ceiling.
On one side of the room is a fluted timber service counter that backs onto a wall lined in the same light-hued wood.
The remaining walls feature in-built shelves and are painted a deep shade of red, while white and green terrazzo has been used to create the scallop-print flooring.
Together the colours are meant to form what Yatufo describes as a “festive palette” that references the often celebratory occasions that require a trip to the post office.
A staircase with a perforated white-metal balustrade leads up to the shop on the first floor. Here there is more crimson-coloured shelving where gifts and souvenirs can be presented.
The same metal from the stair balustrade has also been used to contruct full-height display columns; each one curves inwards to form an arched shape that echoes the pattern on the floor.
Finally, on the second floor is the events room that can be used to host seasonal parties, workshops, kids play sessions and more.
In keeping with the colour theme of the post office’s lower levels, the upper half of this room has been rendered green.
The lower half is lined with timber and fitted with tiered seating, which is inset with boxy red cushions.
Additional floor cushions and cylindrical wooden stools have been scattered throughout.
“In its completed form, the Bund Post Office delivers a fresh perspective on the role of the post office in the modern setting,” the studio explained.
“It reaches beyond its founding purpose of sending and receiving mail, and offers a hub where visitors can connect with one another through the sharing of gifts, memories, and events.”
Yatofu was established in 2017 and is led by Angela Lindahl and Yihan Xiang.
The studio’s Bund Post Office will compete head-to-head against four other projects in the 2021 Dezeen Awards. Among them is the Flamingo Estate Harvest Shop, a pop-up in LA which features rammed-earth display fixtures, and Rookies, a children’s opticians in Munich covered in geometric patterns.
Photography is by Wen Studio.
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