Chinese studio Linehouse was commissioned to create a new branded architectural language for BAOBAO, the first of many stores to line the streets of China and the US, selling the traditional Chinese street food baozi – steamed bread buns filled with meat, vegetable or sweet stuffings.
Linehouse created a spatial narrative that married with the brands ethos: from garden to plate, using the freshest vegetables in handcrafted baozi. In doing so they played with the concept of inserting a glass greenhousebuilding for the exhibition and growth of plants.
Linehouse proposed a series of house frameworks. The chefs occupy the greenhouse and their performance of rolling, handcrafting and steaming the baozi is framed by this insertion. At high level, a shelf wraps the framework with drooping greenery and branded icons stamped on the back surface. At lower level a high leaner also wraps the structure, with hanging lights allowing guests to linger and observe the activities within the kitchen.
The greenhouse is composed of hand glazed green tiles, two tones of wood and glass. This house extends out to the street, operating as a leaner for guests, and further framing the activities within to the exterior.
The cashier/service area plays on the idea of a wheelbarrow and garden tools, allowing the menu boards to hang from above. Bluestone cobbles line the floor in the customer area creating a sense of the garden path, and the streetscape beyond. Two leaner tables sit adjacent to the greenhouse. Wood panels rest on a framework, with white metal threading through to become a mechanism for the lights to hang upon.
Linehouse was also commissioned to develop the branding and graphics for BAOBAO. Bold graphics of a wandering pig, a family of vegetables from the garden and BAOBAO are repetitively stamped on the adjacent glass. The BAOBAO logo is embossed in a darker tone of wood into a pivoting panel on the façade and a wood cut out logo is displayed on the shelf on the exterior.