Arcade Offices / Architecture Overlay
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Manufacturers: Da Gu, 斯卡洛建材, 泥度硅藻泥, 科定, 萧氏地毯
Text description provided by the architects. How do you transform a dark basement of a mixed-use shopping complex into a warm and pleasant conference center that appeals to a young and avant-garde clientele? Creating this interior design project in Hangzhou presented Superimpose with this as its main design challenge. To solve the impending daylight problem of the conference center, Superimpose Architecture incorporated key features of a traditional shopping arcade; a once successful architectural typology of retail and public spaces that flourished in Europe from the 18th to the 20th century. These arcades consist of a series of arches supported by a colonnade with retail storefronts on both sides. Natural daylight streams in through the glass skylights, creating a pleasant and protected indoor retail environment and social gathering space.
In the conference center, two long linear acrylic ceiling boxes “floating” with artificial light resemble the canopies of the shopping mall and mimic the color and intensity of natural light along the two main circulation axes. The light boxes also have an immediate visual impact in the basement and serve as a clear traffic indicator. Both axes can also be used as exhibition space.
The basement’s concrete columns are deliberately exposed, revealing Superimpose’s initial inspiration for selecting the archway as a design concept. Façade-like white modules are inserted between structural columns and along two main axes to create entrance portals to functions such as meeting rooms and auditoriums. Each modular gate comes with its own respective functionality. The auditorium portal can be fully opened, allowing the auditorium to expand and become part of the entrance area for events.
Each conference room has a distinct spatial concept and character, which is achieved through color selection, fixtures or materialization. Seating in the large auditorium is arranged in a semi-circle that runs the length of the space to create a forum-like setting. Linear light boxes follow the layout of the seats and give character to the space. Wooden louvers and red carpeting help improve the acoustics and create a warm atmosphere in the auditorium.
Upon entering the conference center, visitors will instantly notice another element designed as a practical solution to the dark character of the basement. A large oval-shaped floating frame incorporates different types of light that help make the transition from outdoors to indoors more pleasing to the eye. Keeping the ceiling open and exposed allows daylight to enter the basement from the adjacent courtyard below. The entrance area and the “living room” with a café and a lounge area are designed to be pleasant and green. They are places where visitors can stay for a long period of time to relax between activities or work.
With the design of the conference center, Superimpose achieved its goal of using the inconvenience of the basement as inspiration, resulting in the transformation of a dark and unpleasant space into a welcoming work environment and social place.