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Atkin's Architecture Group recently won the first prize award for an international design competition with this stunning entry. Set in a spectacular water filled quarry in Songjiang, China, the 400 bed resort hotel is uniquely constructed within the natural elements of the quarry. Underwater public areas and guest rooms add to the uniqueness, but the resort also boasts cafes, restaurants and sporting facilities.
The lowest level runs with the aquatic theme by housing a luxurious swimming pool and an extreme sports center for activities such as rock climbing and bungee jumping which will be cantilevered over the quarry and accessed by special lifts from the water. With a stunning visual presentation as shown here, it's no wonder this project took home the first prize. This is a fine example of an ultra modern facility co-existing amongst its natural environment.
by Andy G
Forget the sport..some of the most interesting things happening at the Beijing Olympics are coming from clever sponsors who have dreamt up creative ways to promote their brands at the mega global event. We're loving the offering from Mini Cooper, who have dragged traditional Chinese street transport into the 21st century with these great bike-powered Minis. Samsung has been equally creative, giving Olympics' fans a chance to view all of the action from their own "private" alien-like pods. Both of these offerings are a lesson to global brands: get creative and innovative in your marketing or risk being drowned out by the noise. - Laura Demasi
Not being big meat-eaters, we may never become regulars at Yakiniku Master Japanese barbecue, but we do love the design of the chain’s latest, its third, restaurant, opened late last year on Shanghai’s Tianyaoqiao road.
The 300 square-meter (3,230 square-foot) restaurant seats 130 people. It was designed by Beijing-based Golucci International Design, lead by the Taiwan-born, London-trained designer, Lee Hsuheng, with team members Zhao Shuang and Ji Weng.
The interior of Yakiniku Master Japanese barbecue is a harmonious combination of minimalist modern design and references to both Japanese and Southern Chinese architecture and traditions.
We love the use of the wood frame structures of traditional Japanese architecture, and in particular, the oak lattice work or screens that simultaneously divide and unite the restaurant’s various sections.
We love the half-moon shaped ceiling light fixtures designed by Golucci and referring to small, traditional Chinese boats.
The seemingly random, rectangular patches of meticulously arranged pebbles create cool interest on the floor and resemble a typical Zen-like feature in a Chinese garden.
We like the large, black-and-white mural behind the bar area that shows the beautifully curving silhouettes of typical Chinese roofs.
But most of all we love the stunning, ink-black wall of stacked traditional Japanese barbecue coal. It is absolutely beautiful.
All of these quietly elegant elements are not just beautiful to look at, but tactile and interesting, with texture and life and stories to tell.
Lee Hsuheng established Golucci International Design in 2004. Its portfolio includes a number of high-end restaurant and hospitality projects. - Tuija Seipell
The interior of the headquarters for KH Gears exudes a sense of engine power, industry and technology. One can almost hear the metallic rumble of massive machinery, toiling tirelessly in a massive engine room somewhere in the not-so-distant future.
The 855 square-meter (about 9,200 sq.ft.) first phase of the 5,300 square-meter (about 57,000 sq.ft.) industrial laboratory and office space of one of the world’s largest gear producers, opened in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, in December 2011. The remainder of the space will be developed along the same design guidelines in 2013.
Hong-Kong-based Arboit, lead by founder, Italian-trained architect, Alberto Puchetti, designed the space.
The overall goal was to refresh the brand image of the well-established company, to emphasize its strong scientific heritage and the high value of its products.
Arboit used extremely crisp and large grey-tone visuals of the actual gears sparsely yet effectively to celebrate their beauty, precision and balance.
KH Gears logo green appears strategically throughout the space.
It is used on walls and in corridors as a definer of space and as an aide to directions in the large facility where clients also frequently visit the laboratories, and on parts of furniture as an accent. The green also refers to the company’s environmentally friendly policies.
As a nod to the heritage of technology, the font used in the directionals is the typical font of the early days of computers.
The shiny, dark-gray floors, coated in epoxy resin, and the partially smoked glass walls add to the feel of meticulous, laboratory-grade orderliness and efficiency. - Tuija Seipell
Light and the absence of distractions drew us to this great little project. Absolute is an elegant 42 square-metre (42 asg.t.) florist shop on a nicely treed stretch of a boutique-lined street in Shanghai, China.
Architects Kong Rui and Fan Beilei, who founded Genarchitects in 2012, have created a peaceful, airy space by combining a small rectangular room with an adjoining front courtyard.
The design team, that included Chen Xiaoyi, Xue Zhe and You Wei as well, removed the dividing wall and covered the courtyard with a glass roof whichadds not just more room but more light to the otherwise non-descript space.
By the repeating a delicate arch motif in the white, light-weight furnishings, the designers have achieved an ethereal and somehow gamine feel as if the counters and fixtures were standing Bambi-like, erect and alert
with minimal footprints.
We love the fact that the entire floor is visible – yet another smart way to make the area seem much larger than it is.
With light reflecting from glass surfaces and creating patterns through the glass ceiling, the colourful flowers remain the main attraction as they should. - Tuija Seipell.
With a budget of more than 8 million Chinese Yuan ($1.25 million US), a time frame of two years and an existing building of 20,440 square meters (220,014.000 sq,ft), the project was a daunting one.
Add to the requirements the fact that the client is one of the major players in the highly competitive Chines digital industry – generally not known to pay much attention to branding or design – and throw in the lofty purpose of the project as a means to “translate into a figurative language the reality of the internet as a truly important agent of change in our life and society.”
His task was to create for Cloud DCS corporate headquarters that would be the workplace for about 200 staff and include offices, showrooms and space for thousands of server racks.
The main area of the project, completed in November, involves 1958 square meters (21,075 sq.ft) , half of the ground floor area of the entire building.
This space includes the entrance lobby, offices, meeting rooms, server control room, a few pavilions for multimedia installations to introduce the services of the company within a 1050 square meter (11,302 sq.ft) showroom, a 180-degree projector room, a product gallery to exhibit Cloud DCS’s accessories, 3D video screens made of plastic balls, an interactive video pavilion and two display tables to present architectural models of Cloud DCS’s future plans for its own industrial parks designed by Arboit Ltd. The rest of the building is occupied by rooms for hundreds of thousands of server racks.
The design concept of “flying through the sky” emerged from the reality of a massive battery of servers humming, a monotone sound echoing the sound of airplanes. Flying through sky became the theme through which the designers translated the idea of the digital highway as a stream of data crossing the skies to serve our lives.
The designers described this: “the aim of the project is a figurative celebration of internet seen as a stream of information crossing space, and people involved in this unearthly reality find themselves walking on clouds.”
The only colours used in the project are white and seven tones of blue. They have also become the brand colour throughout all touchpoints. The only exception are the cooling pipes that are coloured brightly in an attempt to evoke a happy and positive atmosphere to an otherwise monotonous factory setting.
In the showrooms, meeting rooms and entrance lobby, reflective, hard and transparent surfaces – stainless steel, glass, carrara marble, and spiralling shapes enhance the feel of walking in the sky, high above “normal” spaces.
In the 30 meters-long tunnel connecting the showroom to the entrance lobby, an aerial view of Guangzhou under cloud cover is projected onto the floor. When visitors walk on it, sensors react by opening the cloud cover and exposing a birds-eye view of the city.
The space-ship feel of this project is obvious, as is a sense of not quite touching the ground. We love the undulating formations that are repeated throughout and remind us of not just clouds but waves, sand, seashells and even the human ear. Definitely not your typical server-rack farm. - Tuija Seipell.
Photographer: Dennis Lo