When asked to totally redesign a building without demolishing the structure, Shanghai-based studio Neri & Hu injected new forms to create a sense of identity with the existing spaces.
The focal point is a geometric staircase which the designers call a ‘steel funnel,’ running through the three-storey open atrium. The stairway transitions from the entry lobby to the first-level shop and exhibition space; it then wraps further upward toward the second and third stories that house more showrooms and galleries.
As guests climb higher they are offered unique, changing views to the world below; once they've reached the top, seven large windows open to the sky above and allow natural light to flood inside.
The building is owned by Design Collective, a furniture retail initiative. It includes a 2000-sq-m showroom and shop for its brand Design Republic, which seeks to explore the relationship between people and the objects they use in everyday life.
Photos courtesy Shen Zhonghai.