设计单位 Neutra Architects
Neutra Architects stepped involved with this project over half a year before the official design process began. The most striking impression of the site was the beautiful terminalia mantaly on the terrace. At that time, the main discussion among stakeholders was where the core tea bar should be placed. Our on-site proposal, which was carried through the design from beginning to end, was to place the bar as close as possible to the tree, initiating a breaking of boundaries between indoors and outdoors.
This proposal seemed in tune with the site's ambiance. Bailuzhou Park, located in the center of Xiamen, is an important recreational spot for residents. The Yundang Lake surrounding the park was originally connected to the sea and is now an inner lake. The project site is one of the ten supporting buildings in Bailuzhou Park. It's situated on a lakeside slope with two structures arranged in an L-shape, both facing the terminalia mantaly on the terrace and the lake view. Surrounded by vegetation and connected to the park's walking paths, the site offers a multi-layered space that includes landscape, architecture, and interior on an urban scale, imbuing the space with a therapeutic temperament.
▲ 项目视频 ©LightString Studio
In Neutra Architects' design philosophy, designers first proceed from intuition. On one hand, we calm down to feel the essence of the site, and on the other, we express our own emotions. In this project, we sensed a human affinity for trees, partly stemming from an admiration for such a self-sufficient and complete system. Trees evoke feelings of tranquility and inclusiveness and, in traditional culture, the space under a tree can foster a friendly social atmosphere. All these factors draw people to sit under the tree and guide us in shaping the project's core: allowing the interaction between the tree and the main bar to provide a continuous flow of attraction.
At this point, our intuitive design was further articulated into a communicable concept - boundaries. In terms of spatial experience, both the main bar and the shared long table penetrate the building's glass curtain wall, together with outdoor benches, they create a tense structure under the tree. In this design approach, we've blended our direct spatial feelings with deep contemplation on contemporary living.
The modern world is a world of work, which primarily defines people's two basic states: working and non-working. Within this dichotomy, self-reflection and the diverse evolution of work forms have driven commercial spaces to develop from solely selling products to offering aesthetic experiences. This aesthetic experience aims to satisfy people spiritually, blurring the boundaries between work and non-work. However, whether for the majority still entrenched in the traditional binary of work and non-work, or the minority practicing a "lifestyle," the mere approach of aesthetic spaces represents a passive blurring of boundaries and doesn't provide the sustainable impetus required to truly break free from a life (non-working) defined by work.
We drew inspiration from Western philosophical thoughts and attempted to address the challenge through the concept of "leisure" in this project. Aristotle mentioned in "Politics": "Play is for the sake of work, while work is for the sake of leisure." The context here is that ancient Greeks measured life by leisure; to them, work was simply non-leisure. And there's a distinction between leisure and play; play represents recreational activities to escape from work, while leisure denotes a calm state to observe and listen to the world. Various pure creations emerge as by-products of leisure. From this, one can discern that the concept of "leisure" offers a deeper understanding of the concept of "boundaries." At this juncture, the individual becomes the objective, and boundaries no longer manifest in a negative form.
Thus, in this project, by emphasizing the concept of leisure, theoretically, we aim to actively reflect on the relationship between nature, humans, and commercial spaces, intending to break the general thought confines of commercial spaces that seek to escape the mundane and create an aesthetic utopia. Practically, the design seeks to find the intersection of the site's potential, the designer's subjective emotions, and the brand's core. Starting from the concept of boundary-leisure, we aim to shape a commercial space with a richer core, attracting the public with the beauty of dynamic eternity.
" We cannot have experiences without asking questions."
Life is not an answer to a question; life itself is a question. Life opens up to potential answers, but such openness has its limits and premises. It is these premises that give meaning to the question, making it possible. In this project, we want to emphasize that leisure serves as a premise on the level of life. We hope to design a space conducive to leisure, and in such space, the events that occur are enhanced by leisure, encompassing both work and non-work, giving meaning to life as a question.
In this project, the essence of the site plays a subtle yet crucial role. In our understanding, the landscape is an integrated response to the urban texture, and correspondingly, architecture is a response to the intersection of external environments and internal functions. In design, we fully perceive the spatial potential of the landscape and architectural levels. Interior renovation starts from brand needs and is integrated into this structure. Ultimately, under the brand's operations and customer participation, the space attains a life uniquely its own.
With a space conducive to leisure as the key tone, the design began by examining the relative relationships among various spatial elements. We analyzed the macro relationship between the site and its surrounding environment, sorted out the different meanings that might arise from the site boundaries, and combined it with the brand core of the tea space that emphasizes spiritual experience to set up different levels of areas.
One is a dynamic area that connects the interior and exterior. This spot is closest to the lake, where the landscape unfolds gradually, allowing people to intuitively sense the changes in light. This feeling of full interaction between people and the landscape is brought about by the bar that penetrates indoors and outdoors, the shared long table, and the outdoor benches surrounding the terminalia mantaly tree. It's a socially vibrant space with tension that both guides people outwards to observe external changes and attracts them inwards to reflect on their inner state. Within this defined ambiance, people move freely.
Radiating from this dynamic core, the area closer to the parking lot, with a lower ceiling height and fewer views, is planned as a quiet zone. Through careful consideration of the BOH size and positioning, various smaller spaces of different orientations are created here, integrating tea experiences, product and book displays, and a reading corridor.
The mezzanine area is suitable for an in-depth experience of traditional tea brewing. It's isolated in terms of circulation, so we've established abundant visual interactions and attractions. This represents a breaking of boundaries in terms of sightlines, while preserving them in terms of movement.
At the junction of the outdoor terrace and the park landscape, we designed a low bench, a long table facing the lake, and a low wall facing the plaza, which both defines the space and invites people to break the boundaries.
We selected natural, textured materials that extend the brand's character, allowing customers to feel the brand's consistent temperament. Based on the site's natural lighting, ambiance, and in contrast with other materials, the color of the wall paint, wood finishes, etc., are all specifically chosen to suit the site's unique features and textures.
While considering materials, we also planned appropriate lighting methods, customizing some light fixtures and studying many design details that match the usage scenarios, all to convey a more complete design concept.
Inspiration for the design details comes from the curvature of tree leaves, the shimmering lake water, and the billowing sails on the sea. In terms of design language, we prefer to strike a balance based on both visual effects and user experience. For instance, the curvature of the railing handrails, door handles, and the metal mesh ceiling, among others. The design of the details is not to highlight the design itself but to leave a very comfortable feeling for the users.
For this project, we designed some specific furniture. The Arhat Bed series is composed of 6 identical modules that can be arranged in various combinations based on requirements. The triangular tables in the reading area can be freely combined, drawing inspiration from the reading tables used in the Rovaniemi Library designed by Alvar Aalto.
设计时间：2023年4月 - 2023年6月
建造时间：2023年7月 - 2023年9月