The Italian-China Association Office is located at the corner of Hepingli West Street and Hepingli South Street. Ditan Park situates west of the site, and on the south side is the stepped entrance of the Zhongguancun Yonghe Hangxing Scienceand Technology Park, leading to a sunken courtyard. This is an interior designproject with a total area of 350 square meters. Floor height 4.9 meters.Besides providing the basic office space, both the interior and exterior of the project intend to display the culture, as well as encouraging communications. At the same time, lots of Italian elements are integrated into the design and dives into the classical and the modern, which generates a micro-city in the interior. We hope it can hold everything related to Italy, including exhibitions of art, design and history related to Italy, as well as food tasting. At the same time, communication activities can also be held to reflect the Italian food culture.
A wooden display cabinet and a green wall face directly to the entrance. The door for the storage room is also hidden behind.
The entranceand building exterior use the Hammer manuscript of Leonardo, one of the three masters of the Italian Renaissance, as the starting point; the entrance halluses Italian classical aesthetic elements as the visual guide of the entrance space. The continuous arch voucher of the ancient Roman aqueduct constitutes the design inspiration, abstracting it as an excessive gallery connecting the entrance and the main interior space.
The urban planning of Italian cities follows a rigorous grid layout, which forms adistinct urban texture. However, the irregular city squares not only providevast public spaces but also break the tightly arranged grid and implants breathing outlets for the city.The overall plan for this project continues the same language of the Italian urban layout,by arranging the office space on the orthogonal axes to maximize the officeneeds. The multifunctional area, as an interpreted indoor plaza, intersects diagonally on the east side of the space. The two different orientations splitthe office space and leisure space, which also add variety to the spatial quality.
The large step space is also inspired by the urban scene in Italy. We used this as anentry point to move the "city square" into the interior space. The cascading open-air steps have already surpassed the function of connecting the inner city, and are more for providing people a place to rest, entertain, and socialize. The multi-functional area took the form of those grand stairs,together with the surrounding cafe bar, display area, and conference area,become inter changeable according to the needs of the venue at different times.The platform on the top can be used as an educational display area, and underneath “The Grand Stairs” ensures sufficient storage space.
The traditional single-use offices provide a relatively private space for some work. Open office and double-layered office space create a relaxed and active working atmosphere and open up the interior. Glass curtain walls are installed on the south side of the site, which not only provides lighting for the corresponding offices but also creates a visual communication between the indoor and the outdoor; fully embody the concept of "openness" in the office. The integrated double-layered office area adds complexity to the vertical directionof the space and corresponds to “The Grand Stair” behind it. The upper and lower office spaces are staggered on top of each other, by using ergonomics and height differences caused by sitting posture. It also ensures a comfortable user experience. Independent office spaces are carved out with a trapezoidal frame to add a geometric language to the area. Above are open desks, which canbe used as a small group discussion space.
Double-layeroffice system (patent applied), reasonable use of space height, and efficientintegration of office platforms for office, storage, rest, and communication in a customized way of furniture. After calculation, compared with the ordinary office layout, the use efficiency is increased by 25%.
Between the two offices on the south side of the site is a small open chat area. Due to the original building structure, one of the columns is exposed at the center ofthis open space, which affects both the visual aesthetics and circulation. From this we think of a giant tree called Italus in the Pollino National Park in southern Italy. We take this as the starting point and use this pillar tocreate a "big tree" as the visual end point. At the same time, it is also the interpretation of the Adam branch in Dante's Divine Comedy, which means that Italian institutions have taken root in China and thrived.
The interior adopts the Morandi color palette, to not only introduce the famous Italian printmaker and oil painter George Morandi but also creates a soft and romantic office environment. The red, white, and green color schemes taken from the Italian flag are frequently used in the office spaces, by changing the color density to match the overall style. The glass windows on the north side arecovered with pixelated vinyl prints of Leonardo da Vinci's works. Modernizingthe classics can attract pedestrians along the street. Beyond exporting Italian culture to the outside world, it creates a channel for the outsiders to renew their cognition. What’s more, the walls and door frames are designed t have atraditional European arch form with folding details learned from the Italianarchitect Carlo Scarpa. Especially for the display wall on the east side, these folds spatially decorate and divide the corridors, rendering a dramatic atmosphere to emphasize the displayed items.
Above the small chat area is a light panel with English letters -"ITALIANA",representing the Italian-China Association. As the glass curtain wall on the south side faces the sunken courtyard, the sign can be seen clearly from the outside. From the indoor view, the light of the sign is mirrored on the glass.