Outlooker Design converts an ancient Hui-style home into a restaurant and café
by Jerry ElengicalDec 03, 2022
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TRI-ORANGE DESIGN's renovation of a derelict industry building in China, formerly the Hangzhou Shuangyu stainless steel factory to a photography studio is underlined by “digestion, remodelling and co-existence. Do not completely overthrow, do not retain everything; on the basis of the past and needs of the present, augment and beautify,” according to the Chinese architectural studio’s founder, Huang Chen. Located in the Binjiang District of Hangzhou, Moments Photography Base features folded white facades that resemble gently fluttering sheets of paper frozen in time.
The original Chinese architecture contained a dormitory, factory building, water tower, hand wash basin, and details where time stagnated – some traces of this industrial setting were retained, while the dormitory was divided into two independent areas to form the four key sections of the 1,800 sqm photography studio - the brand pavilion, Moments café, a boutique shop and an art pavilion to suit the new requirements.
"We repaired the preserved building fragments, cleared the irreparable parts, strengthened the foundation structure, sorted out and tried to retain the general architectural state and feel of that era,” says Chen, elaborating on the applied adaptive reuse strategy.
The transformation by TRI-ORANGE DESIGN also maintains the unity of the plant’s structure in the new building, apart from ensuring unique frames and angles, and a flowing sense of time and space. Unconventional, doughy furniture is paired with eccentric art like a massive dollar bill encased in electric blue glass, decorating the insides of the pavilions and café.
The front’s façade with its slightly pulled edges feature square glass displays and a ribbed entrance doorway, glowing tenderly with lights lining the vertical boundaries.
The former factory’s water tower has been preserved as is, an authentic remnant of the Shuangyu stainless steel plant. Pure white stairs flow like slow water between the new forms and this one, converging the old and new without forcing them to comply with each other’s aesthetic. The past and the present connect here, textured brown colliding with sleek white, where time exists as a bipolar entity, a unique chorus formed by notes of both opposition and fusion.
The rough grain of the old bricks is given a makeover by painting them a monochrome white, closer to the aesthetic themes of today’s architecture and designs. “Under a calm appearance, they are full of primitive and crude vitality,” explain the Chinese architects. “The past, the present and the future are defined by time. When the future comes, our present is the past. We have no way to prevent the disappearance of some traces of history, but we can record and preserve what we have now,” they add.
The soft, curved entrance, with fair cream walls and a curved staircase washing over the lobby to the boutique is a completely fresh element, contrasting the exposed steel systems and mottled walls of the other areas, “a unique brand tonality and space order of Moments”. The interior design, especially the café, is mostly raw with a hint of elegance and contemporaneity, with exposed services and old walls, refreshed with glass railings, marble tops and sleek furniture.
To further enhance the collision of the past, present, and become flexible for the future, the soft, flat surfaces of cement, steel, marble and glass are accompanied by hard, textured materials like exposed brick and plaster, staggered with the original reserved wood structure.
“Modern materials and old artistic concepts strike, wrap and fuse with each other in the same space, forming a dialogue interlaced in time and space,” reiterates the design firm that believes in connecting space with humans emotionally and creatively, and focuses on cultural innovation, new retail, visual media, art, business with diversified commercial activities and space display design study.
Name: Moments Photography Base
Location: No. 52 Changjiang Middle Road, Changhe Street, Binjiang Distrct, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Area: 1,800 sqm
Year of completion: 2020
Design firm: TRI-ORANGE DESIGN
Design team: He Libin, Huang Chen, Chen Chunyang, Wang Haiyang, Hu Shengxia, Zhu Bin, Wang Sijia
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