by Jincy IypeSep 09, 2022
A sunny exercise in parasitic architecture, NEOBIO in Shenzhen One Avenue by Chinese studio PIG Design is a statement of intent, a workspace swathed in bright-hued playfulness. Located at the southeast corner of One Avenue in the Futian District of Shenzhen in China, the bold and unique office design taps into childhood memories of colour and awe, wherein the lead designer, founder, and director of PIG Design, Li Wenqiang, refers to himself as a “grown-up child".
The Chinese architecture and design studio conceives spatial structures in a similar fashion to literary creations, emphasising the practical value of art within strictly architectural and design settings. Following a similar treatment for NEOBIO, the designers exactingly oppose the free breeding and prevalent aesthetic of conventional office architecture and interior typologies, forming an inimitable dialogue with the urban complex it sits within. “In the densely populated city of Shenzhen, a clever parasitic relationship is formed between the buildings of NEOBIO and this 280,000-square-foot commercial complex, and the assembly of the two forms a mutually harmonious symbiosis,” explains Wenqiang.
"The city is a system of intertwined networks within a limited area, meticulously interlocking, overlapping, and dispersed. As history advances and cities expand, the form of architecture is changing. Early architecture served religion, power and wealth, and elites. Today the form of architecture and the objects it serves are changing, more diversified, subdivided, with gradually blurring functional boundaries, and the constantly changing subjects of application,” he continues.
A riot of yellow gamut manifesto
Outlined with an impish sense of fantasy, NEOBIO has been dressed in glorious canary yellow with tinges of tessellated, silvery aluminium and glass, while its interiors follow a material palette encompassing ceramic tiles, terrazzo, stainless stone, coloured wallpaper, acrylic accents, and more aluminium. The Chinese designers chose this bright hue for it lies mid-frequency in the visible part of electromagnetic waves, and what lies underneath the large yellow gamut is a continuous humanistic exploration of “life and growth”. According to them, this welcoming colour counterpoint elicits an exploration into the social composition of family and work units within the project, bathing its human users in warmth and innocent amusement, offering them a surprising and memorable experience.
The wall installation seen at the entrance is adapted from the “I” character of NEOBIO's English logo, “a juvenile tree modeled”, indicative of garnering information and symbolising growth. The seven-metre high pacifier character that is centred on the building’s front calls to the project’s spatial core of growth. The crescent-shaped arc of the entrance topped with a reverse one creates a steady upward growth in terms of visual dynamics, opening the doors to the free-willed kingdom of the city’s children and young adults.
A set of installations outline the outdoor extension of the building that does not limit itself to the orthodox, such as a set of bright yellow water droplets in steel that represent renewal and change, as well as cellular procreation, dividing and duplicating to carry on the essence of life.
Sophisticated yet a fun-packed wonderland, the 200 sqm office architecture has areas dedicated to kids as well, replete with a tea shop straight out of a Disney film – a far cry from traditional workspace settings, it harbours features such as thick terrazzo metal tables and chairs, as well as a bow-shaped hillside grass landscape, that reinforce the freedom of the design, forming an organic dialogue with the artificial elements as well as natural greens nestled in reflective metal vessels surrounding the building. Outdoor armless furniture in the shape of half cut lemons liven the space further, along with rounded cut outs for windows and other apertures.
Basing the interior design on the actuality of time being an illusion, NEOBIO means differently for adults and kids – for the former, the space takes them back to their childhood with ultra-hued décor and interiors, whereas for children, the office becomes a playground, majestic, colourful and opening myriad vistas to learn and imbibe the outside world in all its glory. The designers relay that the space hangs delicately and sturdily in that crack in time, where children and grown-ups secure fresh healing.
"The boundary between reality and illusion becomes blurred, as if we are in a fictional story. The social nature of humans labouring to live is weakened and replaced by the immediate feeling of just existing in the moment. After temporarily forgetting the burden of social identity, the space begins to enter a purer moment in time, cut off from the drabness of the outside world,” shares the studio based in Hangzhou, China. “Children, who are supposed to be the future of the city, should feel the city's love for them here, learn to care and love their friends, and cherish the time they spend with their families,” they add.
Location: Shenzhen One Avenue, Shenzhen, China
Internal Floor Area: 200 sqm
Design and Furniture: PIG Design
Lead Designer: Li Wenqiang
Designer Team: Zhu Yiyun, Yan Junjun, Yang Zhiwei, Chien Simone, Liu Chao, Xiong Jun, Gao Ya, He Di, Tan Shijie, Wu YiCheng, Xiao Fei, Shao Xindi, Zhao Lili, Shen Taotao, Fan Kaiqi, Xiao Mengmeng, Chen Liang
Construction Firm: Shanghai Nipeier Interior Design Co., Ltd.
Lighting Design: Hangzhou Young Lighting Design