by Jincy IypeSep 16, 2021
Following a concept of “naturalism”, silvery stainless-steel ravines snake inside ZCMETAL Headquarters & Exhibition Hall in China, evoking nature, its beautiful patterns and variegated forms. Conceived by Foshan Topway Design, the 500sqm space reveals itself as a “magic canyon”, inspired by how the light from the sun, moon and stars hit the earth and highlights ravines, cliffs, sand, stones, and flowing water. “With this project, we intended to create a free, refreshing space where visitors would feel as though they are brought to nature and liberated from fatigue and burnout,” share chief designers Wang Zhike and Li Xiaoshui.
The 500sqm space is spread across two levels, the first one hosting the entrance, reception lobby, material selection area and a product display along with a tea room. The floor above houses offices, an exhibition hall, a bridge and a model room. The entrance passageway is canyon-like too, its stainless-steel walls manually forged and polished. The floors are paved flat with reflective stainless-steel to elevate this canyon, while the ceiling is installed with LED screens to imitate the glow of a starry sky. “The lamps are all LED, which give off comparatively less heat; the air conditioning and exhaust systems in the space are designed such that they will maintain the normal temperature and not heat up the stainless-steel arrangement,” explain Zhike and Xiaoshui.
“The cliffs, ground and sky complement and enhance each other,” shares Foshan Topway Design, who adheres to “humanising spaces” in all their work. Their oeuvre seeks to coordinate functional design with culture, tradition and modern aesthetics, presenting unique experiences to stimulate all five senses.
ZCMETAL is a metal production and customisation company based in Foshan, China, and the interiors of their headquarters seek to emulate that materiality. The brand also encompasses product design, including furniture, lighting fixtures, artworks, metal decorative materials, and art installations which emphasise “the combination of modern intelligent carving technology with traditional craftsmanship, with a human touch. For us, metal is not just a type of decorative or functional material, but fine artworks that incorporate artistic aesthetics, natural forms and humanistic spirit and meet personalised and customised needs of various clients,” shares the brand.
The designers approached ZCMETAL Headquarters & Exhibition Hall’s spatial narrative with an aim to pay tribute to nature in a poetic sense, to create an immersive aesthetic. They also sought to emulate nature’s natural beauty in the hall’s interior design, as all things, including metal, originate from nature. “As designers, we are living in an environment with cold reinforced concrete buildings and a fast-paced lifestyle. We increasingly desire a return to nature,” mention Zhike and Xiaoshui.
“Metal is extracted from ores and can be used to make iron, bronzeware and other materials and products. We hoped to return metal to its original state and simplicity of nature,” they continue. Walls on both sides of the ‘canyon’ meander with unconstrained curves, while the trenches on these walls are stacked layer upon layer “as if they have been weathered for thousands of years”.
As the customised lighting hits these turns, spectacular shadows and surreal scenes are created, while the cosmic ceiling becomes the sky that unites the world as one. Visitors stop to marvel at the workmanship that combines the creative endeavours of humans and the essence of the planet, creating tactile dialogues between humankind and nature.
A spiral staircase emerges from the floor, passes through the cliff walls and stretches toward a stainless-steel waterfall installation that cascades from the ceiling to the ground in a delightful splash. A few drops hang in limbo in front of the side walls, and all of this recreates a romantic scenery replete with mountains, flowing water, a small bridge, and roaring waterfalls.
Handmade leaves with veins hang over the lobby bar, providing visitors a sense of comfort and added organic aesthetic, presenting a relaxed atmosphere. Products become the protagonist at the display area’s large expanse, providing an artistic complementary to the space. The headquarters also highlight the process of metal forging, the free-flowing state of iron ores when melted at high temperatures and the distinctive natural textures of this material. “The recreated scenes feature the harmony of motion and stillness, hardness and softness, and perfectly reveal the charm of naturalism,” informs the design team.
Name: ZCMETAL Headquarters & Exhibition Hall
Location: Foshan, China
Area: 500 sqm
Year of completion: 2020
Design: Foshan Topway Design
Chief designers: Wang Zhike, Li Xiaoshui
Participating Designer: Lu Zhongwen<
Decoration design: Yang Shiwei