In the bustling cityscape of Beijing’s Baiziwan district, a serene sanctuary exists that pays tribute to both contemporary and traditional Chinese culture. This ethereal haven, known as “Shui Zui Zhong Guo,” is a 1000-square-meter space split into two segments: an office for the brand’s creative team and an enigmatic cultural arena named “Shui Yuan.” It serves as the epitome of a delicate blend of design sensibilities and philosophical aspirations that transcends beyond a mere fashion trend.
Shui Zui Zhong Guo Technical Information
- Architects: CUN DESIGN
- Location: Dongchaoshidai, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
- Area: 1000 m2
- Project Year: 2021 – 2022
- Photographs: Courtesy of CUN DESIGN
The ultimate goal of design is not architecture or space, but rather the ‘state’ of people in space and architecture, the unconsciousness of people in space and architecture, and the spiritual pleasure in unconsciousness.
– CUN DESIGN Architects
Shui Zui Zhong Guo Photographs
Crafting The Eastern Ethereal in Contemporary Spaces
At first glance, one might consider the Shui Yuan and the Shui Zui Zhong Guo office as two separate enterprises, given their distinct entrances. However, the spaces share a concealed corridor, reminiscent of an authentic Chinese courtyard, that bridges the two realms both physically and conceptually.
While Shui Yuan dons a stripped-down, primitive architectural canvas, the office area embraces contemporary design elements. This harmonious contradiction evokes an intriguing intertextual dialogue between modern methods and traditional philosophies. It is an essay in dichotomies, reflecting the dualities that often characterize Eastern wisdom: yin and yang, emptiness and form, ancient and modern.
The design approach taken for the Shui Yuan space is a masterful reinterpretation of the Bauhaus style, one that infuses it with Eastern spiritual essence. The 6-meter-high space features stripped plaster walls and only a few rounded gray columns, exuding a palpable sense of openness. This approach to space and materiality is not just architectural; it’s experiential and spiritual. It manifests the most primitive, sophisticated, and celestial aspects of Eastern culture, making Shui Yuan a stage where art forms like furniture design, tea art, and flower arrangements interact and evolve with time and nature.
The Shui Zui Zhong Guo office is designed to serve a functional purpose while also exploring and expressing Eastern sensibilities. Reminiscent of a traditional Chinese garden, the plan capitalizes on meandering paths and ever-changing perspectives. Steel columns once considered for abandonment now hold up functional zones, adding layers of meaning and materiality to the overall spatial experience.
Lighting plays a key role in altering the mood. As the day comes to an end, orange lights inspired by the Forbidden City illuminate the grey brick floors, giving the space a uniquely Eastern ambiance.
According to Haifeng, the host of Shui Zui Zhong Guo, the final goal of design transcends architecture or space. It is, instead, the ‘state’ of people within these settings—the emotional and spiritual experiences they gather.
“Shui Zui Zhong Guo” is more than a physical space; it’s a philosophical endeavor, a meditative retreat, and a cultural narrative. Through its meticulous design, it becomes a conduit to explore the “intangible Eastern essence,” offering an experience that goes beyond mere visual or functional appeal.
Shui Zui Zhong Guo Plans
Shui Zui Zhong Guo Image Gallery
About CUN DESIGN
CUN DESIGN is a pioneering Chinese design firm that specializes in enterprise operation spaces, merging artistic creativity, technological innovation, and eco-friendly design to enhance corporate efficiency. The firm places equal emphasis on operational efficiency and aesthetic appeal, using systematic thinking and multi-dimensional design to redefine spatial experiences within controlled budgets, thereby setting industry standards.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Chief Designer: Cui Shu & Li Hui