Design Scope: Interior and Architectural Design
Designer: Honglei Liu
Text: Cathy Chou
Budget: 11 Million Chinese Yuan Renminbi (USD 1.75 Million approx.)
Contractor: Hangzhou Dayu Adorn Co., Ltd
Lighting: Toryo International Lighting Design Center
Engineering: Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University
Landscape: Earth Asia Design Group
Hangzhou, a core city in the Yangtze River Delta, and one of China’s most famous and picturesque cities, abundant with spectacular natural scenery and the majestic West Lake is the enviable location for this small Sales Gallery and Showroom. Listed as one of the seven Ancient Capitals of China, Hangzhou’s culture and haunting beauty have been an inspiration to a multitude of famous Chinese poets such as Bai Juyi and Su Shi amongst others. Also famous for originating Longjing, a notable variety of green tea of which Xi Hu Long Jing is the most renown, Hangzhou’s economy and culture is still dependant on the tea trade.
Hangzhou Heda Yuguandi, the Chinese name for the project, literally has the deep and profound meaning of “a home filled with water and culture”, itself reflecting the history and ethos of the city. Inspired by this chronicle and the location, our concept for this project was the notion of “Shadow in Water” for which the integration of the local history, tea culture and the meaning of eastern water was of utmost importance.
From a functional point of view all of the standard public spaces necessary for a Sales Gallery, such as the primary sales area, discussion space, display zones, meeting rooms, VIP rooms, lounge spaces and general staff areas such as workspaces and meeting areas are provided.
The space planning has been conceived as an uninterrupted flowing journey, light and crystal clear as water, imbuing a sense of weightlessness and freedom, all contributing towards an interesting user experience. The traditional definition of space with the use of floor, wall and door have been eliminated by creating a three dimensional collage of surfaces and planes all seamlessly inter-connecting with each other. The boundaries have been blurred and one’s senses united to create a singular all encompassing space that does not depend on the traditional, constrained yet comfortable language of spatial narrative.
A gentle and slow ramp guides the guest effortlessly to an intermediate level lounge floating above water and offering wonderful views to the landscaped gardens while a sculptural spiral stair transports the VIP’s to their own elegant meeting rooms on the second floor which seems to defy gravity and hover above the sales area. The pure, white and minimal interior is given a further dream like resonance with a ‘cloud sculpture chandelier’ that hangs above the sales gallery.
From the entrance to the building the guests are guided into the main sales gallery and the central display area with the centerpiece model by an undulating full height water feature wall on the right. Immediately behind models, the floating glass clad boxes of the VIP rooms create a protective canopy above the primary lounge space with its luxurious two tone leather seating. The Water Bar and the striking, earthy red wall of the Media Room form an appropriate backdrop to the lounge space. The water feature wall conceals all of the back-of-house spaces from the visitors.
The architectural design concept, also a BLVD creation, wraps the entire Sales Pavilion in pristine double height glazing epitomizing the modernist concept of the entire project. A custom designed silhouette pattern of tea leaves, drawing inspiration from the tea culture of Hangzhou, adorns the glazed façade of the building. The graded pattern, dense at the top to provide shading from direct sunlight and create beautiful shadows and permit mild, diffused daylight during the daytime gradually disappears on the lower half of the facade to offer views through the clear glass to the landscaped gardens surrounding the gallery. As the night wraps the gallery in its velvet cloak, the jewel like, illuminated glass box floats above the water to create a striking piece of sculpture that you can inhabit.
The design concept blurs the definition of the interior and the exterior by stretching the mezzanine platform above the water and into the garden taking complete advantage of the fact that the pavilion is located in a community surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens with vibrant flower beds, mature trees, decorative water bodies and sculptural Chinese mountain rocks.
A new Chinese modernist luxury concept, for both interior design and architecture, has been created by BLVD by manipulating and molding the architectural language with a deep understanding and respect of Hangzhou culture. When the guests enter the gallery they do not simply see Hangzhou, but they feel Hangzhou.