The new EMG Shanghai Design Centre occupies a 40-metre-long and 7.5-metre-deep rectangular space on the north side of the ground floor of a six-floor industrial building belonging to Shanghai Automobile Corporation in north suburb of Shanghai.
One could hardly associate the tedious row buildings to their current name “industrial design centre”. New spatial possibility came within the existing walled structure. The architect introduced here a natural conversation between old and new, between virtual and real, filling in the dreary space with emotions and polysemy, and allowing free wandering and thoughts in the space. And, eventually, all these are being displayed to the exterior through a large glazing show window, which covers the renovated facade of the space.
The practical function of SDC is composed of two zones: the public showroom on the ground floor and the private office on the mezzanine. The showroom is a six-metre high by 30-metre long exhibition hall, which is offset by the large show window, plus a reception bar area under the mezzanine floor office. A solid curved black wall is set between the public and the private zones, separating, but as well interweaving, the two. Its upper part curves outward where it reaches the bar area, and forms a meeting room hanging above the sitting area, accessible both from the bar and the office.
The surface of the curved wall swells in and out, sculpturing several show desks and giving dynamics to the exhibition space. Confronting the black solid wall is a curve soft light curtain, made up of 413 translucent PVC tubes, winding next to the glazed facade and inadvertently forming two showcases appealing to outsiders. The dialogue between the solid and the void, between black and white, and between active and the static, plays theatre within the neutral grey scenic background. Colors and textures of natural stone artworks sing the ultimate high note for the show.
The slightly elevated show window on the facade again displays a meaningful scene on the inner street of the site. The glazed facade appears like a large mirror projecting the surroundings under the sun, and the deformed picture becomes a special painting hung on the building; while when it is getting dark, the mirror shifts to a transparent showcase, showing off the interiors and activity inside to the external audience.
Project: EMG Shanghai Design Centre
Location: Wujiaochang, Baoshan, Shanghai, China
Architects: O-Office Architects, Shanghai, China
Technical info: PVC satin tubes
Picture credits: Likyfoto