DRC is a governmental company related with design and 3D printing. For their new headquarters they asked us to renovate an existing building: a beautiful old factory in the heart of Beijng.
This time around our creative process couldn’t start from a blank page: we had in front a former metal factory, a building full of history that we had to honor in some ways. For this reason we decided to maintain the main skeleton, while we started the renovation by focusing on the concept of sustainability.
The result is a massive structure composed by three different buildings all connected through the internal part. The materials we chose are mainly brick and glass.
The first one wants to highlight the local history of this area and the industrial vibe coming from the old factory, while the glass shows the contemporary side of the building, light and sophisticated. The materials’ choice becomes here a visual bridge between past and present, between the old factory and the new offices.
Hainan Airlines is an airline headquartered in Haikou, China. It is the largest civilian-run air transport company and the fourth-largest airline in terms of fleet size in China. The idea was to build a customhouse next to the Airport area.
We began this project by focusing on the main feature that one of the biggest airlines company could possibly boast: the dynamism. For this reason we designed a structure made out of different volumes that play with each other and create an innovative dialogue with the existing area.
The result is a partition of the area in two main units: on the right side there is the office building owned by the Airline company. Here we decided to pay homage to the Airlines’ colors: indeed, the warm tonality that covers up the building is the same present in the HNA logo.
The material we used consists in an original combination between glass and a double glazing film produced by M3. This colored film has an essential role in the architectonic project since it helps to create and maintain a cold and refreshing environment in an area where the weather is usually very warm.
The structure on the left side is based on different levels and, thanks to the lush greenery at the top of each layer, it gives the feeling of a vertical forest.
Built in 1939, this steel-frame, four-story building, set in a crowded area in the outskirt of Shanghai, served as the long-time home to one of city oldest environmental department. After the former tenant moved out in 2008, the building remained vacant for several years until OMD Corporation acquired the building in 2015 and redeveloped the structure into a mixed use complex to revive the entire residential neighbor.
After being without maintenance for many years, the existing building was heavily damaged and in a poor state. The property had sustained considerable water leak during the vacancy with a consequent state of dereliction. Due to its location, strong sun and driving rain, most of the exterior and interior finishes had been badly damaged, with particular deterioration of the facade that required urgent replacement.
The main aim of the reconstruction project was to bring this unique property back to life and to create a bridge between past and present of the area, enabling visitors to appreciate the history and local atmosphere, while providing a beautiful environment to explore its vast range of activities.
Before any scheme or design had been drafted, the first task was to evaluate the state of the main structure and instructing preliminary repairs for the damaged beams of the facade to prevent the entire building to collapse. During this process of demolition and maintenance the building remained "naked" with only the bare structure of columns and beams to stand along with the floors slab. Once this phase had been completed the creative team evaluated the available space to establish the type and quantity of facilities that would suit best the size and location of the building.
One of the crucial point during this phase was the critical observation and research of local cultures and various ways of living, in order to understand the area's socio-economic condition and heritage, which represents the primary source that inform the design of architecture and interior space. Understanding the existing social and architectural context was a pivotal moment of the project that intended to "renew" the urban fabric and to reinvigorate urban life.
The final result was the creation of a mixed use complex that house different functions on each of the four levels. On the ground floor a generous public area enriched by shops and a restaurant with live music performance, creates the perfect gathering point for people to enter in contact with the building new identity. On the first floor a more private area was settle, with a spacious recording room and numerous flexible spaces related to the music school, while on the upper level several offices owned by different companies gives an additional value to the already rich functional layout. On the top level a residential area with ten private contemporary apartments provides shelter where to live for the students while attending the music school.
By maintaining the existing basic structure of the building, a linear and clean facade based on a regular grid was designed with natural materials. The combination of natural and transparent materials for the main elevation, such us natural stone and glass, leads to a general feeling of lightness and purity that reflects the neighbor environment and recall the previous design of the property. The massive use of glass provides an additional element of connection with the context by increasing the visual sight from the main street as well as helping natural light to pass through the building, which leads to a consequent remarkable cut of the electricity costs and it finalizes the transformation of the building from an old office to a renewed and sustainable concept.
One Music Dream is a place where culture, leisure and education smoothly blends together to create a new experience as well as a new landmark for the entire community while bridging a connection with the history and heritage of the area.
The Chinese company Yarun asked us to build a shopping mall in the heart of Beijing. The idea was to create a retail area that could offer all kind of services, shops and public spaces for the community of the city.
Starting from the renovation of an existing building, we proposed a project composed of three main points. First of all, we focused on the concept of accessibility at the ground level by adding several entries to the architectural complex. The result is a huge public space available for the community.
Then we designed the shape of the building itself, composed by many cubic units covered with translucent glass. These modules give more volume and dynamism to the building and they can also be used as advertisement spaces for the shops inside the complex.
Another important issue of this project was the landscape of the public area. We decided to design a plaza in front of the building, while, at the top of the structure, the flat roof becomes another huge public space, filled with bars, shops and art exhibitions. An escalator connects this area with the ground floor.
Extension of an existing building. Mixed use project in Tongzhou, new center developed outside the capital Beijing. Public functions and exterior areas connected together to create a new dynamic icon in the city's skyline.
Developing in the outskirt of Beijing, Tongzhou is a city very rich in water resources. In Tongzhou, heaven and earth, water and nature, classic and fashion all perfectly blend together, showing a green, waterside, livable and sound sub-civic center of the capital. Tongzhou has 13 rivers with total length of 240 kilometers, including North Canal, Chaobai River, Wenyu River and others.
The project consists into an extension of an existing public building. The client asked for mixed use that could create a new point of interest for the people living in the city. Very important also the new volume balance with the context. Public facilities such us parking, Museum and all the circulation area is housed underground in order to increase the gross area and minimize the volumes above ground. The theater, which is the biggest volume above ground is located next to the existing public building and create a clear connection in terms of shape with the context. This part of the building is housing a big opera house of 1000 seats and 2 rehearsal rooms on top. The main entrances of the theater are on the two opposite sides of the building in order to increase the permeability and create a more fluent flow. The senior center and the children art center are connected with the theater but creates a different block that will differentiate for the different type of facade more open and transparent.
By lifting part of the volume of the senior and children center we aim to create a public space which is connected through several skylight to the museum underneath. The senior and children center has a roof garden which allow the people to enjoy the view toward the river and surrounding areas
This theatre is located in the outskirts of Beijing. For this project we started from an existing building: the exterior part was already commissioned to a Japanese architect, who entirely designed it, while the interior part was assigned to our care. The building is divided into three main parts: the theatre itself, the public home and a huge external plaza.
The theatre can be considered the main focus of this project and it’s inspired by the figure of Marco Polo and the Silk Road: we chose this interesting character and his story because we wanted to create a connection between the Western and Eastern cultures. This whole historical approach was then combined with a contemporary touch visible in the minimalistic design coming from the Western tradition, while we opted for soft and delicate colors inspired by the Asian taste.
The main theatre is divided into three levels and it has in total 1500 seats. Three are the main accesses on each floor. We decided to propose a light design that is not direct but, instead, carved into the ceiling. The result is a delicate diffusion of the light in the whole space. The interior pattern is created for acoustic reason in fact it helps to diffuse better the sounds around the space.
The curves of the interior structure want to imitate in some ways the sinuous waves of the sea as well as of the desert: all the different settings Marco Polo experienced during his famous travel.
The second theatre, smaller than the first one, has in total 500 seats and it’s developed in two floors. As well as the main theatre, this area has been inspired by the Silk Road: indeed this structure imitates the internal part of the Pipa, a music instrument imported from Syria during the period of the Silk Road. For the interior structure we chose the wooden material in order to remain loyal to the musical topic.
The whole theatre is divided into several horizontal layers: we did that in order to integrate the lightening and the resulting dynamism, but also in order to improve the acustic performance within this space. The horizontal wall is divided into 6 layers and it also has a special platform for the VIP area.
Mercure Hotel is a French company that develops hotels all around the world at the highest standars of quality. For this specific project they asked us to curate the interior design of their new hotel in Xi’an, China.
As common for Mercure's value the client required for this project a luxury interior design with deep connection into the context and traditional culture.
This building is composed by 24 floors. Our task was to focus especially on the interior design of the entrance, first floor, and the floors from the 12° floor to the 24°. This includes also a lobby, a restaurant and several different bedrooms types.
For this project, we decided to select high end and minimal materials inspired by the Chinese culture and local taste for contemporary design. We chose three different marbles for, respectively, the floor, the reception and the wall giving the entire lobby a luxury but clean appearance.
We also integrated the whole environment with golden elements, followings the texture and pattern of the traditional Chinese design.
The lighting of the building takes on great importance: it can actually be considered the fil rouge of this project, the main element that builds the identity of the hotel. We wanted a clean and geometric lighting system, that could fit within the elegant vibe of this company and local taste for pure lines of design.
Here the light creates an interesting dialogue with the rest of the architecture thanks to its special futuristic vibe. The result is a clean, refined space that we decided to enrich with contemporary sculptures and other decorative elements designed by local artist.
This project started from the renovation of an historical building that used to house the Japanese Embassy in Shanghai. The position of the building is highly strategic since it is located in a very important area of the city: the Bond. This complex faces the river and the district of Pudong, offering a stunning view of the Shanghainese skyline.
The main goal was to convert all the 4 floors of the building into office space and particularly the client asked us to convert the top floor of the building into a private space, an entertaining area for family and friends.
Due to the high value and strict regulations we decided to keep the history behind these walls by maintaining the original central doom and the two sides canopies. At the same time, we wanted to give a new identity to the building, a different aspect that could fit better within the new owner’s requests and expectations.
We decided to create a big open space without walls and barriers and to define the different areas of it by using different materials for the floor such us wood, concrete and natural stone. This contrast of colors marks the limits that are usually circumscribed by the walls and, at the same time, it improves the luminosity of the whole floor. We wanted to define different areas without partitions.
In order to protect the area from the direct sun we designed a structure of ceramic roof tiles that, with their blue color, give a general feeling of peace and relaxation and at the same time connect with the surrounding roof texture.
In terms of functions, part of the area is dedicated to host a private art gallery; in that space we installed special sun-shading screens that protect the artworks from the direct sun and give an extra privacy to the interior users. The space is also enriched by an "artificial river" symbolized by a 10 cm wide floor channel of water passing through the entire space that symbolizes luck in the Chinese culture. Last but not least is the presence of an inner greenery that connects the internal area with the terrace, giving a natural vibe to the building.
This project has been commissioned by the High Tech International school in Xi’an. This institition is considered one of the leading schools in China, since kids are followed from Primary school and through High schoolas well.
For this ambitious collaboration, we decided to divide the building into different areas: first of all we designed a space exclusively for young kids, by integrating several elements –such as a wooden deck and a metal net, together with some colorful pillows. The result is a cheerful space where children can read and play.
Another important element of this area is the library which is carved into the wall. Here the light design wants to imitate the relaxing pattern of the clouds in the sky.
Then we focused on the high school area: this time more clean and serious than the previous project, willing to meet the necessities of an older range of students.
For this area we chose a young and contemporary style and we placed several tables and chairs in order to help students to interact and to create a community within this open space. The whole room is filled with sinuous elements: there are curves in the lights, in the shape of the tables and the chairs, as well as in the partition of the floor.
Last -but not least-is the project related with the main entrance and reception of the school. In this area we maintained the main idea with clouds and curvy elements: the result is a combination between the two previous projects. It’s like primary and high school have been mixed together in the common ground of the reception. We decided to add to it a final American touch inspired by the common areas you can find in a classic USA college.
Welcome to a battle of two worlds
A state in which two distinctively different worlds are put interconnected to each other. Guests enter a world in decay but are constantly reminded of the ‘other’ world which is visually present within eye sight. As the guests enter and progress throughout the journey they seamlessly transition between worlds and enter a state of perfection.
• Dark, chaotic and mysterious are words that define world 1: A Crumbling World.
• Visual, organized and bright are words that define world 2: A Perfected World.
In the Main Hall, there is a clear contrast between the two worlds. The models and Peacebird fashion traverse between the two worlds on a catwalk which is seemingly falling apart. Guests take place on islands floating above the world which is in destruction. A framework of light floating above the catwalks gives a sense of organization and orientation leading towards the gates in which the fashion models and enter/exit the space. A continuous light strip notifies the guests a Perfected World is overtaking them.
2016 Peacebird fashion show is a journey. A process from a disorganized world into a perfected world. Spaces are designed successively and strengthen the story. The show brings you towards perfection.