THE PORCELAIN HOUSE
In the making
THE PORCELAIN HOUSE
THE PORCELAIN HOUSE
In the making
In the making
Getting to know the site
Spending precious and simple good time on site
GUD HOTPOT MUSEUM
Located in a heritage building from the 1930s in the central area of Hangzhou, GUD is a restaurant and cocktail bar specializing in hotpot cuisine and craft cocktails. STUDIO8 was commissioned to design the architecture re-use, interior and visual identity for the project.
Unfortunately, as happens with many buildings in China throughout modern history, the villa was almost “eaten up” by the city from 1939 to 2020, with only one complete façade left facing the street. The interior was also renovated, extended and changed several times, from residential to multiple commercial uses.
The site includes the villa originally built in 1939, its extension in the north and the ground floor space from the building next door to the west. The architects were given the site to turn into a hotpot restaurant. STUDIO8 believes the best way to preserve a historic building is to make it functional to meet today’s needs, giving a new life to it. The three-story villa was a residential building without any restroom or large kitchen. The re-use of it demanded a delicate and respectful renovation. Therefore, service and utility spaces such as kitchen, restroom and a vertical connection for public use were arranged into the extension and the building next door, leaving the villa for pure culinary experience.
Referencing the richness of the site’s heritage and the culinary peculiarity, the concept was strongly inspired by the food culture and atmosphere and takes a more abstract approach. To STUDIO8, it was extremely important to create, and consequently experience, a physical canvas created to highlight the continuous interaction between food and space.
Rather than showing specific local or historical characters of various hotpots from all over China, after studying the core of food culture thoroughly, the architects decided to transform hotpot’s cooking principle into a unique museum-like experience in on different levels. They named the restaurant “GUD” after the historical name for hotpot in 220 AD – “GuDong pot”, like the sound of boiling soup. The logo design was inspired by the shape of copper pots used in that period as well.
In Chinese culture, eating hotpot is a special and important moment where people gather, mostly a group of friends or family, to share food and joy. With heat (from fire or electric stove), the ingredients are deconstructed by the energy and then reconstructed in liquid (water or soup), thus being elevated, together with the time spent among people, to another level of flavor. As the three key elements in hotpot, heat (fire), medium (water) and elevation of flavor (steam) were respectively correlated to each floor as in function, materiality, textures and light.
As the first element, heat – the energy that boils the liquid – is a fundamental design factor to the first floor, where human interactions were planned out accordingly. The aim was to create a warmer and more welcoming space at the beginning of the hotpot experience, where people and friends can meet first, have a cocktail and wait for everyone to arrive. Therefore, the first floor is designed as a cocktail bar to act as an energy generator and set the mood. Red floor, fireplace extended towards the ceiling, bottom-lit boiserie, rising sculptural columns that display antique hotpots, and scattered red velvet sofas were designed to give a dynamic and energetic ambience. Metaphorically being deconstructed by “fire”, these elements create a more vivid and warm interaction amongst people. Part of the original brick wall façade was kept and exhibited in the bar to recall the building’s past. A recessed mirrored ceiling at the side of the wall and the doorway towards VIP rooms expands the space and takes the experience to the next level.
After passing through the heated cocktail bar, comes the second element, water – the medium that reunites all elements. Family and friends are seated together in groups around the round tables at on the second floor for the food experience, a process that the architects relate to water reconstructing the atoms of the ingredients. The second floor is surrounded by glass brick niches, reusing the depth of old windows on the original façade blocked by neighboring buildings. Resin blocks with different cores are displayed as an abstract hint of recomposed flavor. On this floor, an old wall with a stone window frame was preserved and used as a partition between tables. The wooden roof structure and balcony were also carefully protected and highlighted.
The old wooden stairs of the villa were very narrow, steep and badly damaged, couldn’t serve the current F&B function. For better circulation, the architects relocated the vertical connection of the building to the patio space of the existing building extension. To enhance the experience, the new staircase is covered with double glazed U-shaped glass partitions along all floors with a lighting system to represent the continuous energy flow transition, at the end of which is the terrace space and a more exclusive private VIP room. Here, the customers are reconnected with the city and able to look at it from the different heights and angles, corresponding to the last element – steam – elevation of taste. The simply designed interior shows off the geometric shape of the attic, while benches on the roof allow customers to have a more exclusive interaction with the city.
The architects also carefully designed a few other visual features. The stainless canopy on each floor to highlights the beauty of the preserved façade while hiding the gutters. The curved copper board at the entrance serves as a wayfinding sign without changing the original parapet. The stainless steel board on the terrace covers the outdoor equipment and adjacent buildings, creating contrast and solitude, while adding a contemporary touch.
Over the past few years, STUDIO8 has been working on various restoration projects such as Cloud Hotel, Charcohol Restaurant & Cocktail bar, Himalaya Yueyang (under construction) and Former residence of Xu Chongzhi (under construction). As a multidisciplinary architecture studio with mixed Chinese and European culture, STUDIO8’s has been creating story-telling spacial experiences under the principle of designing for the present and respecting history and local culture.
BEFORE AND AFTER
GUD HOTPOT MUSEUM
In the making
A PHENOMENA ODYSSEY
STUDIO8 has designed all-day entertainment venue in Beijing
Every time we encounter spaces, we always leave with a first impression in our minds. One of the things that are often communicated with us is the temperature of the space. It is not the actual room temperature, but rather the feeling and atmosphere that engaged our senses in various ways. Warm and cozy spaces invite us to slow down, while we avoid staying long in colder spaces. Consequently, temperature is one of the key features influencing our experience of spatial design.
The request for CHAMBER28 was straightforward – a new, one of a kind all-day entertainment venue in Beijing’s SanLiTun. As per the client’s wish, all the rooms should vary among each other and yet should belong to a single theme. In addition, each room should function as a business meeting venue, provide a fine dining experience and furthermore offer a private entertainment experience.
Studio8 took “temperature” as a guiding concept, allowing all the rooms to be divided into particular Celsius degrees. To strengthen the uniqueness of the space, the rooms were split into groups, to which a couple of selected natural phenomena were assigned, corresponding to the temperature of their occurrence. As a result, the wide range of temperatures, from cold to extremely hot, offers a variety of experiences, represented through peculiar materials and lighting effects.
Starting from the coldest experience of the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights are depicted by harder materials such as translucent marble and metal surfaces with matte brushed finishing, creating a blurred light reflection. Rain forest Eucalyptus – the boldest among all rooms, immerses the individual in a mixture of colors, but at the same time preserves the sense of nature. With the rising temperature, one reaches the phenomena of Fumarole and Blue Flames. Both of them, although bound to the earth, show quite different characteristics. While Fumarole stresses the texture and the tactility of its characteristic materials, Blue Flames stays humble, yet manifests warm solitude. Its origin leads back to a chemical reaction happening on a molecular level and resulting in energetic blue lava. The process of this conversation was celebrated through the transformation of digital blue bubbles into analogue blue balls, spread across the space. Blue Flames fills the second-floor bar as well as the public areas, where guests transition from the first to the second level over an emblematic staircase, extending into infinity through a mirrored reflection. The top end of the temperature scale is set by one of the hottest among all natural phenomena – Magma. Despite the use of lava stone and red marble, the spatial feeling supplies warmth and coziness, contrasting with the heaviness and sweltering character of Magma.
Additionally, the experience of each room is enhanced by custom-made lighting and abstract animated visuals curated by Studio8, so that all motion, geometry and color is aligned with the materials palette and the natural phenomenon they represent. For example, in Magma most of lighting is concentrated at the bottom of the room, reminiscent of smoldering lava and further supported by stage smoke machines. Eucalyptus impresses with its grid of laser light, giving the spatial feeling of being among the trees of a rain forest. Aurora Borealis and Blue Flames relies on laser machines, depicting various patterns, where the former creates a radiating effect on the ceiling, while the latter is projecting towards the floor, glaring burning blue patterns. Fumarole uses down lights to fill the whole space with a warm yellow and smoky ambience.
Further, the mood and peculiarities of each individual theme culminates into a totem-like piece of furniture, namely a bench, designed by Studio8’s own furniture brand CaoZiTou. Despite the harmonious and balanced shape of the bench, when crossed with the material palette of the rooms it becomes a playful and iconic element spreading across the public area.
CHAMBER28 is a place that is both universal and unique at the same time. It offers a rich variety of usage and services, yet its atmosphere and vibe leave the visitor with a memorable experience.
从最寒冷的“极光”开始体验，以半透明的大理石和亚光拉丝处理的金属等硬质材料，配合光影，营造了一个绚丽的极光环境。“彩虹桉树”——是本次设计中最大胆的一个尝试，使用各种混合的色彩，同时保留自然元素，沉浸式感受热带雨林的旖旎风光。随着“温度”的升高， 是“火山”和“蓝色火焰”。这两个主题虽然都来自地球的原始生态，但完全是不同的表达特征。“火山”使用了强调纹理和触感的材质时，“蓝焰”则保持低调，但通过幽静的深蓝色材质表现出灿烂而遗世独立的感觉。蓝焰——由火山喷发释出的熔岩与气体分子产生化学燃烧的产物，本身是一个奇妙而罕见的化学反应。我们用蓝色球形射灯来模拟蓝色分子，这一元素一直延续到了二楼的酒吧和公共区域——客人将从这里穿过楼梯来到二楼，该区域也运用大量镜面元素，通过镜面反射将空间延伸至无限。 “岩浆”——这个所有自然现象中温度的极致。空间使用了火山岩和红色大理石，巧妙的表达了岩浆的两种本质状态——极端高温的等离子体和冷却后形成的石头，与主题所表达的火红与炙热不同的是，空间带来的更多的是温暖与舒适感，这也是贯穿本次设计的一个特质。完美效果的呈现离不开灯光的加持。八荒根据每个房间的主题，特殊定制了舞台灯光及动画效果，将所有主题所代表的自然景致以更鲜活、灵动的形式呈现出来，增强每个“温度”主题的感官体验。例如，在“岩浆”中，灯光大比例的集中在房间的底部，配以舞台烟雾机，变化间让人联想到暗红的岩浆在滚滚的黑烟的裹挟里喷涌而出。“彩虹桉树”的镭射激光栅也让人印象深刻，让人有一种置身于神秘雨林的迷失感。“极光、蓝焰”中，各嵌入了可变化各种图案的激光灯，其中“极光”在空间中投射出了千变万化的电光秀，犹如划破永夜的北极光；后者则在地板上投射出蓝色的火焰，随着光影的变化呈现出蓝色的烟火。“火山”用温暖的灯光加上烟雾的配合，带来一场炙热却又舒适的体验。
When Chef Mandela Zhu first met Shirley and Andrea, he told them the food and drinks of his new bar are mostly inspired by forest and fire. Miracle chemistry of taste happens when carefully selected simple ingredients are cooked with the right temperature and right time. This is why Shirley and Andrea have named the restaurant CHARCOHOL, a combination of charcoal and alcohol, which is also the concept of CHARCOHOL’s logo.
Studio8 was commissioned to create a space, which reflects chef’s vision and eventually goes beyond it. Inspired by the charcoals as main source of creating food, the design unfolds around an axis of time, crossed by a temperature axis.
From west to east, stretching across the main entrance and the following three dining halls, conceptualizes the transformation of wood to charcoal up to ash. The notion of the dining concept is summed up at the small portico at the entrance, where a half-burnt wooden column, hanging from the ceiling and ending in a lava stone block on the floor, welcomes the guests.
Consequently, the first hall implements wood floor and preserves untouched the original walls of the building, while the main hall is converted totally to black, followed by the last one with white-grey plastered walls and the ash in glass box at the end of the space showing partially once again the original brick wall. In the orthogonal direction one can observe the temperature axis, spanning from the kitchen up to the fireplace and projected on the ground through reddish tiles.
In line with the concept, each dining hall obtain its own ambience with partially custom-made furniture, light and installation. The wooden hall opens towards the main plaza of Fengsheng Li, where sun light shades through the trees on the brick wall. In the center of Charcohol is located the main black hall, which has the highest level of intimacy and coziness. The rough texture of the black wall and floor changes with light during the day. At the cross section of time and temperature axises, above the bar, a giant installation of fan palm leaves arranged by STUDIO8 is hanged underneath the reflective stainless steel dome, celebrating the banquet of food and drink. Along the time axis in the ash area, another installation of banana leaves and eucalyptus seeds is hanged like a bouquet chandelier, representing renewal from ash.
The original building had guest rooms on the first and second floors; a lightweight extension with arched glazings had been added on top to serve as the dining space. While the architecture lacked a coherent hierarchy and style, it did have a feature that served the renovation well – it was not built directly against the mountain, providing much more room and potential for the extension. Rather than stacking upwards, STUDIO8 decided to bring life to the underused belowground levels, adding more layers into the space without increasing the height of the building or creating additional impact to the environment.
The new hotel has a total of five levels terraced alongside the mountain slope. Entering from the west corner of the premises, guests pass through the garden and arrive at the reception, a glass room enclosed by large glazings. On one side of the reception is the wine cellar and the private dining room, linked by a sunken garden designed to provide more natural light and better views; on the other side lies the steel staircase, leading to the swimming pool and the restaurant on the second level.
To achieve a consistent brand image, STUDIO8 carefully curated the interior and visual identity design of the hotel to match well with the “Cloud” concept. The ubiquitous presence of curve and arch elements akin to clouds can be seen throughout the space – the ceiling, the spiral staircase, and the openings in various expressions. All guest rooms have a white arched terrace that overlooks the swimming pool and provides a panoramic view of the valleys and gentle hills beyond, conveying a feeling of “walking in the clouds”.
Pure white finishes give a clean background to the interiors of the restaurant, while the bronze accent found in the tables and lighting adds a warm, earthy tone. The dining area boasts a cloud-like fluctuating ceiling that also hides the light strips and air vents in between the gaps. A one-off vintage cabinet from Belgium – the focal point of the dining space – is set against the whitewashed wall. The restaurant also features customised circular dining tables made of wood, local granite and rufous lacquered stone.
To avoid cliché and excessive ornaments, the interior settings are kept to a minimum for a bright and airy feel. Guest rooms have a subdued aesthetic. In the largest suite, a bespoke laurel green headboard hangs from a brass rod, echoing the green-hued Persian carpet and green walls in the bathroom. The curve element appears not only in the spiral stair but also in the bathroom partition walls. Gentle curves soften the room’s layout, re-emphasising the light and airy feeling of the “Cloud”.
Studio8 was commissioned for the visual identity, interior design and architecture of Anadu. Anadu wishes to provide to its guests with a peaceful holiday experience in nature. Keeping the local and environmental character of the location is one of the main concerns during the project development. From construction materials to design elements, and even food ingredients, Studio8 has tried to take full advantage of local resources. In terms of architecture and space design, Anadu is integrated into the surrounding landscape. The studio’s initial approach to the design concept: “Get along with nature, talk to yourself” gradually evolved into the core of the brand’s motto: “Find yourself in nature”.
The surrounding landscape of the project site is rich and unique:; however, after a first contact with the site, the studio team felt something was missing: a lack of water presence. Water itself, and especially a very calm water surface, generates immediately a sense of relax. The studio decided that this element would be the core of the hotel, a connection between the rooms that articulates the structure of the entire building. For that purpose, the roof of each floor was turned into an infinity water feature. By bringing natural elements into the architectural spaces, the design fosters a connection between the building and the outside. “Find myself in nature” becomes, then, a reality when experiencing the different rooms.
Four narratives are unfold in Studio8’s design, and become the themes of the rooms. Each room has been designed as an individual space, with its own story focused on elements that one can find within the surroundings. Each of these elements awake a different sense, or provoke a sensorial phenomenon.
1. Tea – This room faces the white tea harvest; the materials and color palette of the interior design echoes the tea theme.
2. Mountain – The room faces the mountain on the south, and the materials are natural stone and the color palette is dark grey. The water feature is designed to reflect the distant mountains.
3. Bamboo – The room faces the bamboo forest in the east, and its interior has a rice pink color palette and several objects made of bamboo wood.
4. Sky – The room is located on the third floor, which is also the top of the building. It is almost immersed by a boundless water feature, turning the room into a floating island. The studio designers challenged themselves to explore the poetic boundaries of the project’s concept. The third floor, then, was conceived as a platform able to behave like a mirror, and reflect almost the entire surroundings and the sky.