Anji, China – Yakafu is a DIY bakery – that is, a spot where people can buy ready-made bread and pastries on the ground floor, along with a do-it-yourself area on the first floor where visitors can learn how to make them on their own. The space, designed by Shanghai-based studio KCA, is part of the growing trend of experiential retail/hospitality spaces in China, where the workshop is king and is allotted a permanent location within the layout.
We spoke with KCA founder Kostas Chatzigiannis to discuss the three key takeaways this project can reveal about the changing Chinese hospitality market.
[+] KEEP BETTING ON DAIRY
Let’s put it this way: if it’s got butter, it’s better. Or, in the words of Greek-born Chatzigiannis, ‘the dairy industry is rapidly growing in China, mainly because of Western dietary habits entering the daily life of the Chinese, such as a morning or afternoon coffee, a dessert break or ice creams,’ he explained.
That means that the novelty of dairy still hasn’t wore off: the country’s proverbial lactose intolerance is slowly giving way, and consumers are interested in finding novel ways to consume ice cream, chocolate, coffee drinks and pastries. ‘That explains why there’s a process in preparing coffee similar to the tea ceremony, where you actually have your beverage made in front of you by an appointed barista.’
If it’s got butter, it’s better
[+] DIDACTIC FANTASTIC
The first floor of Yakafu is a Do It Yourself area, where adults or children can learn how to bake their own bread, cake or pastries, and decorate them. Take note: that means the 300-sq-m bakery basically has a space specifically and permanently devoted to workshops.
‘That is another growing trend in China, the DIY – any experience basically based on teaching something in a creative way,’ said the architect, who has worked with the Asian market for more than a decade. ‘And also, it is often a team-building activity for company employees and various other teams.’
We’ve been advocating for didactic elements in Instagram-friendly experiences, and this confirms that one of the largest consumer markets in the world is indeed hungry for them.