Design Team: Gianmaria Quarta, Michele Armando, Gu Tao, Shevaun Kasi Mistry
Clients: Home Base International Co., Ltd.
Text description provided by the architects. Home Base is a tabletop company that works with the world’s best hotels and restaurants in creating bespoke, uniquely designed ceramic tableware to enhance dining experiences. In 2019, it decided to relocate from a conventional office to a new space in Shanghai’s Xuhui district, and Quarta & Armando was given the task to make the most of the 320sqm, 8-meter-tall former industrial building, accommodate an ever-expanding team as well as create a memorable experience for visiting customers.
Office space or showroom? Quarta & Armando opted not to give preference to either, but rather set to create a single space in which the two functions act as polarized entities representing the two souls of the company: one inner-facing and research-oriented, the other outward-looking and convivial. Visitors are led from a lofty reception space to the showroom area, where a dense hive of cabinets of different heights populates the different rooms, each dedicated to a single collection and its products.
The prevailing dark-grey tones of ash wood panels and painted steel serve as a discreet background for the back-lit display shelves, making each product stand out while allowing an overview of the whole collection from the main corridor. The eye first lands on Ruyi, the company’s flagship porcelain collection, while other product series are displayed on the two sides within smaller, interconnected recesses. The common area is where office and showroom become one. Looming across the full height of the building, it is an open and flexible platform meant to be used as an accommodating space for internal meetings as well as public-facing panels, discussions and product launches.