A booming economy, modernization, massive infrastructure programs, private real estate boom – all these factors have changed the face of architecture in China. The blend of old traditions and new technology is ever present in cities – older buildings are torn down and newer ones are built without compromising the traditional. As the trend of surrounding ourselves with comfortable, cosy products being embraced by the younger generation, an honest connection with design that really matters has come up in Chinese interior architecture market. The number of Chinese practices has increased and the architects are starting to find their own voice. Buildotech is looking at the practices of four very talented interior designers who are redefining China’s architectural and design landscape.
HAN WEN-QIANG, ARCHSTUDIO
Han Wen-Qiang, an associate professor in CAFA (China Central Academy of Fine Arts), the founder of ARCHSTUDIO, mainly researches on contemporary architectural and interior environment based on traditional cultural background, devotes to making space to be the communication medium between people and people, people and environment, and creating a livable life.
Project: Lily Nails Salon
Bright white interiors and lace walls that look enough to float, the Lily Salon designed by Wen-Qiang along with Wang Xiaoting, gives its visitors space to breathe and a break from the mall, within the mall. Main materials used are Steel plate and Terrazzo. The project was aimed to extend two dimensional floral patterns into three dimensional spaces, creating a flexible environment with feminine temperament thus improving the identity and comfort of the nails salon.
Located on the edge of Blue Harbor’s underground square, the salon is in an irregular and elongated shape. In transforming this unassuming 60-square-meter mall shop into a bright and refreshing new salon for Chinese manicure chain Lily Nails, Beijing-based Arch Studio gave the shop’s rectilinear space a gentle curve by inscribing a helix inside it, thereby creating a sense of being drawn inside. Accordingly, the design employs walls that interlace straight and curved lines to re-integrate interior interface.
Pattern of the walls adopts lace, one of typical clothing patterns with distinct feminine feature. Perforated steel was then used to abstractly transform and realize the curved walls and a concrete finish for the fixed walls behind them, while one side of the studio is completely covered with plants. Position and scale of the lace pattern have taken visual relation of clients inside the space for reference. The pattern turns all the walls translucent, overlapping and interweaving while clients move around and get multiple feelings. The storefront is enclosed by pitchy hot-rolled steel plate, only leaving a transparent entrance.
The curved walls divide various functional areas such as manicure, beauty, reception, storage, etc., meeting different spatial needs from open to private. Meanwhile, the variety of scales and shapes featured not only enriches customers’ environmental feelings, but also makes the concept visible to guests. With this project, the architects have succeeded in proposing an original translation of two-dimensional floral designs often found on nail stencils into a three-dimensional space.
Project: Fluid Walls & Playful Rooms – Rockery for Play
In Rockery for Play in Beijing (the design team also has Song Hui-Zhong, and Li Yun-Tao) is an institution which mainly teaches children music, dance, tea, cooking and craft courses in Bejing, China. So the space design needs to provide appropriate classrooms based on above needs. Inspired by rockery artificial hills in Chinese traditional garden, the Studio created multiple ranges of “artificial hills” that allow children to happily play here.
The graphic design of the original building is L-shaped, and the entrance is located in the end of one side, thus the streamline from outside to inside is relatively long. A winding corridor is squeezed out by continuous curved walls, different from traditional boring straight corridors, it stimulates children’s desire to explore. Curved walls differentiate musical classroom, reception area, cooking area, tea classroom, play area and so on. A series of up and down arch caves further change the virtualreal relationship of each area, creating layered and crossed visual interest. Children will find some rooms are dark closed valleys, some are open and transparent hills, while some are holes that hold two children only, when they are in the corridor.
The musical classroom is sealed by curved glass to ensure sound insulation and also realize an open teaching environment. The tea classroom and the cooking area are separated by reverse-arch walls, which are also tools for children to stride, rest, and play. The craft classroom is at the corner of the corridor, children can sit around the tree to do handwork. Nine private piano classrooms are arranged on both sides of the corridor, each classroom is designed as a small cave, which ensures acoustic quality as arched wall is conducive to sound mixing. Wood color is the major tune of the corridor, some walls are mirrored stainless steel, and the reflection of materials help create a deep and dazzling space to increase the enjoyment of materials experience.
The end of the corridor is dance classroom, which is positioned as an “exterior space” as a contrast to the general wood color space. The original structural pipelines of the building are all exposed, the gray glued flooring on the ground raised beside the window as a seating area. Transparent floor glass, floor dance mirror and the outdoor trees set each other off, the indoor and outdoor scenes are naturally connected.