山 · 石 · 场
The Mountain. The Stone. The Field.
Commissioned by an Italian sintered stone brand, PUJU Design has designed a 320-square-metre temporary structure in Shanghai as its showroom.
Sintered stone is manufactured using natural ingredient and with the technology which mimic the processes that form natural stones, which inspired us from the beginning of design. We started to look at the birth place of natural stones – the quarry. In the documentary “II Capo”, we were shocked by the beauty of the Carrara marble quarry in central Italy – the huge mountains cut with geometric shapes, the white powders of stones dancing in the air. It almost looks like a stage set. Meanwhile, the former limestone quarry in Province were used by Chanel as the runway to showcase their new collection. As the models sashayed in graphical dresses against the picturesque stony background, the idea of fashion is sparkling with the marriage between nature and man-made realities.
The quarry certainly enquires a unique aesthetics. The geometrical shapes on the mountains remind me of the suprematism works by Kazimir Malevich. If the colourful patches in his paintings were those stones in the quarry, floating, scattering, and intersecting with each other, the 2-dimensional painting seems to embody 3-dimensional possibilities. The passions and emotions are able to motivate a 3-dimensional creation.
The mountain, the stone and the quarry field, with the shaping power of suprematic aesthetic, provided the initial motives for the design of the showroom. We intended to create a series of abstract stones, which is almost like a temporary corner of the stone quarry. It responds to the DNA of the sintered stone, as well as the minimal and abstract aesthetics that we have been exploring.
居 于 山 石
Living in the Stones
Beyond the aesthetics, living-in-the-stones is a human living model which has existed since thousands of years ago and across different cultures. Ensemble Studio has renovated a former quarry to be an experimental living place, with a minimal intervention of furniture like curtains, mattress, etc. Human being are getting out of the glass and concrete boxes in the cities and getting back to the mountains and stones. The civilization process is reverted in the project and the architecture goes back to its purest form.
In the essay by Jing Qiuye, Raumplan, as coined by Aldof Loos, echoed with the method of Chinese Garden, becoming a way to create “mountains in the house”. In my reading of the project by Ensemble Studio, which locates in Menorca Island, shares the similar approaches with Chinese Gardens in deliberately creating rich possibilities of human being interacting with stones. These stones, cut to the scale of human body, become places to wander within, looking through, lying on and leaning upon. It embodies the imagination of a bigger world epitomized within a small house. We brought these reading to the design of the showroom and try to create stones that could be lived and wandered within.
层 岩 叠 影
With the idea of abstract stones and living-in-stones, the proposal develops with functional layout and structural precision. The site was divided as four showrooms and one front yard. The four rooms were defined with four huge white “stones”, which respectively exhibits four collections of products.
One of the white stones were grounded, white the others elevated by colorful stones. They intersecting with each other, creating a picturesque elevational composition.
The entrance welcomed visitors with a square water pond and stones, which echoes with the overall concept in smaller scale.
The internal spaces are free and interconnected. Different showrooms were visually linked through cracks and holes.
The internal space, because of the intersection and overlaying of white massing forms, reached a quality of “phenomenal transparency” as coined by Colin Rowe, whereas the colorful wall and glasses served as the marks for different spaces.
Customized sintered stone lights shed light upon the wall. The light were emitted through the gaps between glasses, sinter stone slabs and the white wall, creating the layered and shadowed imagery in micro scale.
“Layered World” started with the marriage between natural stones and abstract expressionism, developed through the poetic visions of living-in-stone. Because of the practical reasons, the showrooms could only realize the concept in a single floor, leaving the vertical applications of the concept for future explorations.