YuFang Sanyi Shop


Yu Fang Foods Co., Ltd. (Yu Fang) are a major snack food brand based in Dajia District, a coastal suburban district in Taichung, Taiwan since 1986. They are a long-term client of Scandinavian Designers. We have been their branding, corporate identity, and packaging partner since 2017. Our first Architectural Design project for them was the Tongxiao Shop, Miaoli for which we created a large-scale decorative façade in 2022. This project, the Yu Fang Sanyi Shop was our first complete Retail Design project for the brand and we both created the concept, produced the design and constructed the project.


Sanyi Township in Miaoli County is one of Taiwan’s top tourist-town destinations, famous for cultural heritage including old-time wood crafts and industries, local Hakka culture and food, mountain-line railway history, heritage sites, and ruins, and a major destination for local tourism especially in the weekends. The opportunity to open a shop in a good, high-street location fit into the company’s strategy, but the challenge of fitting into the cultural heritage ecosystem required creating a new shop concept.


Apart from offering a broad selection of outstanding but affordable snack foods, Yu Fang’s business strategy and appeal centres on a traditional, small-town and tourism customer base. Before starting on the project, we identified their brand core values as ‘family, hospitality, and Taiwan ‘little happiness’ (小確幸). Finding these ‘shared little joys’ in everyday life is a prevalent life philosophy in Taiwan, especially among Millennials. These brand values create a warm connection between the traditional, older customers with the younger market through the culture of delicious but value-for-money snack food to share among family and friends.


Though Generation Z consumers are low-salary customers, they highly connected on social media. While older visitors predominantly send photos from their trips to their friends and family, younger families promote and choose their travel destinations and locations through ‘cool’ photos posted on social media. Creating attractive photo opportunities encourages more people to post and this again attracts more guests to visit and become brand fans too.


This virtuous circle was an important part of our design philosophy for the project. Apart from the usual functional requirements that were the main concern in Yu Fang’s other small-town shops, the opportunity in Sanyi allowed us to upgrade the brand image by creating a new kind of shopping experience with unique photo opportunities. The space was originally a machine workshop with many columns with concrete brackets to carry suspended tracks under the ceiling. The tracks were no longer there, but the brackets presented a visual challenge. Instead of seeing them as a problem however, we used the brackets as the starting point of the design concept and made them into an integrating feature.


We first connected all the visible columns in the space with arches with features that incorporated the brackets in their shape, built more columns to complete the space and then decorating key niches around the boudnding walls with life-size, digitally manipulated photostats of typical French shop fronts. The effect was to reverse the rather closed feeling of the interior space into an open-feeling space where the walls now appeared to be building facades around a French village square. Combined with carefully chosen materials, colours, French-style graphics and a Paris-inspired billboard and miniature garden outside, this not only gave the space a unique and integrated character but created many unique photo ops. The warm and inviting feeling of the space is reflected in an average visit time of 20 minutes and increased sales per square meter.


The many visitors on the opening day for the Yu Fang Sanyi Shop indeed gave the shop the animated and convivial feeling of a festival in a small village square in the south of France! From pictures and reviews on the internet it is evident that this project has fulfilled its goal of not only earning profits but helping Yu Fang become not just a shopping opportunity, but a tourist destination. The Yu Fang Sanyi Shop is now attracting not only the traditional older customers and families, but a broader fan base among young bloggers and influencers.

CH: 小確幸  Pinyin: xiǎo què xìng  EN: ‘a small but certain happiness’

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