- Design Team: Shuhei Aoyama, Yuyuan Chen, Zheng Dou, Lingzi Liu
- City: Hangzhou
- Country: China
Text description provided by the architects. Lost & Found’s OōEli store in Hangzhou is B.L.U.E.’s second cooperation with the furniture brand ‘Lost & Found’ after the renovation project for the brand at Guozijian Street in Beijing. Designed by Renzo Piano, OōEli in Hangzhou is a comprehensive art park incorporating offices, art spaces, retail, design hotels and show fields. Lost & Found is a lifestyle brand that provides not only solid wood furniture but also ceramics, utensils, fabrics and plants for daily life. During this collaboration, we continues to bring the concept and sense of ‘home’ into the store, echoing a way of life that cherishes things in daily life. The spatial design revolves around materiality of the interior, natural texture and artisan craftsmanship, reflecting Lost & Found’s philosophy of art and daily life.
The whole retail space is mainly divided into furniture display area and an event space. The three scattered washed stone boxes together form the display space: each box area exhibits a living scene with carefully selected furniture collection. We intend to enrich the spatial experience in the long display space by inserting semi-enclosed box spaces with different wall heights and therefore making people to explore and wander in and between the boxes. The natural and rough texture of the washed stone walls provides a soft and warm atmosphere.
When customers pass through the display space, the cabin with a pitched roof can be seen. The cabin is to accommodate store events and temporary exhibition projects. Inspired by the tea fields in Hangzhou, we intend to create a sense of harmonious symbiosis between human and nature. The two stone steps connect the cabin and the display space, presenting a cozy and relaxed scene: people gather inside the cabin while others take a rest under the eaves in nature. The facade of the cabin provides a sense of openness since the wood-frame sliding doors visually separate the cabin lightly from the display space.
Flooring, walls and ceiling of the cabin feature five different kinds of wood(beech, walnut, white oak, cherry and ash); all are of the materials which the brand use in their furniture making. The blend of different wood types extends to the detailed design of the wood sliding doors and the entrance of the store. Through the practice of solid wood materials, we attempt to form a dialogue with the brand’s furniture collection. The natural texture of the wood imparts a sense of warmth and tenderness for the space.
Another feature of the store is the wall of timber at one side of the display space. Covered by stacked natural timber, the entire wall is a visual focus in the store, while functioning as a display area for small objects. In terms of materials, the wood we choose is old poplar wood remained from the production of the furniture factory. The old remaining poplar are stored in the warehouse for years before we reclaim them. The unique texture of the aged wood reflects a trace of time and a sense of familiarity. Because of the uniqueness of every single piece of the wood, we use them to build small-scale experiments at our studio to test its visual effect before we finally stack and build the wood together with the workers at the construction site in OōEli.
The wall-making process in an improvisational and experimental way is a method relying on the interaction between time, wood and handcraft. The wood is endowed with emotions due to the design and making process, bringing a unique strength to its final presentation. The volume of the timber brings natural smell into the space, and the smell will change with time. We believe that the unique sensual experience has the power to bring people back to physical retail space in an age of booming e-commerce platforms.
The beauty of the interaction between time, human and objects is a soft power that helps people to explore the beauty and meaning of daily life. The design philosophy responds to the lifestyle of cherishing things in everyday life advocated by the brand. In the context of rapid urban development and fast pace of life today, Lost & Found OōEli gives us a possibility of retrieving the lost daily life and emotions.