Architect In Charge: Ying Wang
Design Team: Ying Wang, Zhifeng He, Chenghui Lin, Yuxin Ni
Text description provided by the architects. CAIUS is a fashion business consulting firm founded by former media fashion professionals. The office is situated in Huangpu District, Shanghai in a lane house with unique Long Tang atmosphere. In contrast to the traditional building façade, the designers have created a contemporary interior space, applying modern gestures that are minimalist and transitional, along with the finishing touch of raw elegance.
The first step to the transformation was structural redesign. After tearing down all the partitions, the designer reinforced the structural foundation with two I-beams, extending to the corner of the second-floor terrace, in order to maximise the capacity of the space. Due to the recycled nature of the I-beams, it comes pre-weathered to exude a unique patina.
The space is divided into a northern and a southern section with the workspace located in the south. Sunlight filters through the glass roof top filling the entire room. Tearing down the original staircase to the rooftop, the designers substituted the old structure with a sculpted concrete spiral staircase that has become the focal point of the whole space. The blocky staircase with staggered vertical railings ensures light transparency, while maintaining the rhythm and fluidity of the space.
The relaxation/meeting area is placed In the northern section. Within just 3sqm dedicated to the restroom the designers installed two full height windows to compensate for the absence of natural light. The window on the south side is slender as if a sharp incision has been opened on the wall, allowing daylight to generously travel through the glass rooftop. The marble wall situated right next to the slender window divides the space, once again, to ensure absolute privacy.
Inside the restroom, the designer used a beige marble material to create the partition, sink, and shelving. Marble forms natural fractures when they were quarried from the ground, thus each piece has its own characteristics. Such originality is preserved by the designers in the design strategy to infiltrates the space, from partition walls to door sign. The natural display of these marble slabs is heavy and rough, but the simplicity, delicacy, and strength hidden within have infused the space with vitality and elevated energy from mother nature.
A completely new atmosphere has been created by blending the old and new natural materials within a simple spatial condition. The designers played with orientations and openings to create kinetic architecture with daylight. Spatial configurations are carefully re-considered to achieve a more flexible space. An unexpected encounter with the peaceful historical house is awaited within the bustle and hustle street.