In December 2010, DBRDS was invited by Lorena Gaxiola, President of KUATRO DESIGN to be part of the design team for a new competition which they had been invited for. The competition is to design an interior concept for a nine storey Government office building which is already under construction in Nanjing, China. One thing we learnt previously about the Chinese is that they move fast when it comes to building! The competition period was only six weeks, which meant that we needed to design a concept for over 700,000sqft worth of interior spaces all during the Christmas/New Year break when most offices close down! Challenge set – we got stuck right in.
The exterior of the building is very rectilinear in design. It is designed to the concept of building ‘blocks’ resting and overlapping each other in places to create interesting voids & forms throughout. The exterior skin is very linear also creating a ‘bar code’ language of vertical solid (metal) and void (windows). At key points in the interior planning a glass atrium element is exposed in the facade to bring in natural light to the interior spaces.
We took this strong exterior language as the concept for our interior design. A hierarchy was established whereby the linear language of the building exterior ‘flowed’ into the building, through the ceiling, walls, and floor. The external linear building language generated the internal ceiling linear form, which in turn generated the linear wall language which finally, in turn generated the floor linear pattern. In addition, a layering of organic shapes, curved forms, interior landscaping elements and natural materials such as local recycled cedar timber are used to contrast the strong linear language and to provide a warmer and tangible experience for the occupants of the building.
Being such a large public building, it consists of multiple entry points for the various levels of workers, executives, general public & VIP Government officials. The most challenging of these spaces to design is the 3 story glass atrium VIP entry to the building. Acknowledging the transition in Nanjing’s Governmental history to its bright future, we wanted this space to be a grand gesture of this transition – a passing through from ‘old to new’, and so the focal point of the space was a geometric form of both old & new materials represented in a combination of white marble, recycled cedar timber & electronic signage strips & large-scale vision screens. This form then sat directly in the middle of the path from entry door to lift lobby forcing entrants to pass through the tunnel. Interior of the tunnel, Chinese voices would be heard whispering ancient passages of transition & new life, heightening the experience of transition.
On either side of the central form hang two gold sculptures in the void space above. Two gymnasts captured honoring the sporting culture of Nanjing, China. These sculptures hang high above sunken lounges surrounded by reflection bodies of water & planting. A place of both contemplation & imagination for the future of this exciting progressive City.
In this blog are images for the lobby space only. As there are several great spaces I will be writing additional blogs which will focus specifically on them over the coming weeks. All renderings for this competition were completed by DSC who also worked with us on our East Village Stadium renderings.
In the end, our combined efforts awarded us 3rd place in the competition, so while we are disappointed, we are not disheartened! We enjoyed the opportunity to work on such a dynamic competition proposal for the City of Nanjing & we look forward to broadening our experiences in the exciting Chinese market.