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Drying racks divide dining zones at Lukstudio’s Noodle Diner Sanlitub SOHO

BEIJING – Dedicated to noodles, a Beijing eatery by Lukstudio offers a layering of dining zones with diverse environments framed drying racks.

Perimeter partitions and canopies of criss-crossed steel enwrap three dining areas conceived to suit the various diners whom pass through the restaurant’s rusted steel and copper plate door. An exposed cement wall and wooden tables to unify the interior, the scheme adapts its details to accommodate either speedy or leisurely eaters.

Filled with three rows of elongated tables, the first ‘rack’ offers workers the efficiency of a canteen. Just beyond a grid of rusted steel, the second section slows down the dining experience, inviting guests to savour meals amid booth-style tables and Asian decor.

Out of view concealed by an ethereal haze of silvery strands, the third section is reserved for the crème of the crop, offering intimate parties the star treatment.

A chandelier of draped ‘noodles’ invites diners to ascend a staircase towards a singular table. Situated at the pinnacle of a double-height atrium, a private platform hosts tables shrouded with an screen formed with the pendant’s steel wires.


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Screen Play Design for Van Alen Institute by Collective-LOK

Design Institute Unveils a New Veiled Space

For 120 years, New York-based, non-profit Van Alen Institute has hosted numerous awards and fellowships to promote visionaries within the fields of architecture and design – including the Chrysler Building architect himself after which it was rechristened in 1995. One of the organisation’s most recent competitions, 2013’s Ground/Work, sourced a design for its own new space on the ground floor of 30 West 22nd Street where it would relocate its full operation.Collective-LOK – a collaboration between Americans Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr (WOJR) and Michael Kubo (over,under) – designed the winning submission, selected from over 120 entries by 1000 public voters and an official competition jury. The concept is entitled Screen Play and employs sliding partitions, as well as an unusually-shaped floor plan to create a flexible space for Van Alen’s diverse functions. Jon Lott explains more about details of the design and Collective-LOK.


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Your Colour Perception by Liz West

Architectural Space Transformed into a Luminous Landscape
‘The closest thing to walking through a rainbow’ was how some visitors described the light-art installation by artist Liz West, which cloaked an entire exhibition area of a Manchester gallery in a colourful haze for a few days at the end of January.

Using the space as a laboratory, West tested the influence and perception of luminous colour within the installation and on the visitors who experienced it. This project forms part of a recent series of spatial light works based on research into colour theory and light fields. With a sequential arrangement of coloured cellulose acetate covering the pre-existing fluorescent ceiling fixtures, she transformed the architectural space into a sensory, visceral experience by overloading it with artificial, chromatic light.


 

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Musings on a Glass Box by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Architects Pay Tribute to Icon

Until 22 February 2015, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain hosts a new installation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in celebration of the organization’s 30thanniversary.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro has transformed the entire ground floor of the iconic Jean Nouvel-designed glass building into an immersive environment, complete with an audio experience by composer David Lang and sound artist Jody Elff.

The installation plays off the existing architecture to make visitors question transparency, perception and one’s relation to space. It is the intentional emptiness of ground-floor galleries that makes them the ‘art’ on display. This emptiness is heightened through a series of interventions placed in the building’s arteries: plumbing, electrical and façade systems.

Without giving away too much, expect a multisensory experience – complete with robots, giant LED screens and smart materials that rely on electrical currents – in which small gestures in the large gallery are amplified in the smaller one. The result, say the designers, makes the familiar seem uncanny and turns the banal into the grotesque.


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YME by Snøhetta

Fire Meets Ice in Oslo

Snøhetta’s YME store in Oslo mimics an ancient Norse creation myth. Aiming to do for Oslo what 10 Corso Como has done for Milan and Dover Street Market for London, the concept store is the jewel in the crown of the refurbished Paleet Mall (see Frame 102, out 1 January for our case study on the project) in a building dating from 1844.

According to founder Nicolai Schaanning Larsen, the store’s amibition is ‘to be a meeting place for fashion, art and design enthusiasts’, so as you’d expect, YME’s carefully curated selection includes everything from Wood Wood clothing to art by Jean-Paul Basquiat. The 1600-m2 store incorporates a gallery, bookshop and (due to open this spring) roof garden.

The shop takes its name from Yme, the primal being of Scandinavian legend, from whose dead body the earth was made. That was also the starting point for the design. ‘Getting a Norse myth as a brief was a new experience for us,’ says Morten Ludviksen of Snøhetta, who worked with Rikard Jaucis and Marlene Fenger Vedal on the project.

YME’s shopfront features an intricately crafted frieze representing the creation of Yme, which occurred when the elemental landscape of Niflheim (ice) met that of Muspelheim (fire). ‘That place was called Ginnungagap, and the frieze is our interpretation of its dramatic topography,’ says Ludviksen. ‘It took a good deal of effort on our part to get it right.’

The frieze was made by milling 14 sections of solid pine, the largest nearly 5 m long. Stacked one above the other, they suggest both frozen and melting forms. Inside, the story of Yme continues. The ground floor, cool and crisply detailed, again recalls Ginnungagap, but the spaces become progressively warmer, richer and darker as shoppers head upstairs. The whole process represents the mythical transformation of Yme’s body into the fertile earth.

The cool white tones and pale wood of YME’s shopfront contrast effectively with the warm, glowing Paleet Mall, but the design team also worked hard to get a separate street entrance. After all, says Ludviksen, ‘YME is a universe in itself.’


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SND Store Chongqing by 3Gatti

Computer Carves Cavernous Store Interior

‘We started thinking about a sort of elastic ceiling, being pulled down by the weight of various objects,’ says Francesco Gatti, director of 3Gatti architecture, on his firm’s latest adventure in retail for fashion label SND in Chongqing, China.

The final result is a dreamlike, undulating landscape of hovering elements – over 10,000 of them, and each one unique in shape. It’s a feat that owes much to the wonders of modern technology. ‘We used a software programme to simulate the physics of real materials,’ explains Gatti. The computer calculated the sinuous, cave-like lines of the interior and the size and shapes of the 10,000-plus elements needed to create it. The resulting file allowed contractors to cut the huge number of pieces by machine in record time. ‘Thank God for technology, it helped both designers and contractors,’ says Gatti.

The material used to sculpt the suspended ceiling was determined by fire regulations: a very thin white translucent fiberglass which, although chosen for its fire resistance rather than its visual impact, enhanced the design with its reflective quality. The individual pieces are mounted on parallel bars by means of holes which fit onto rows of nails, allowing easy removal and replacement.

Mirrors amplify the ethereal effect and maximise the compact floor area, while the rest of the space is simplicity itself: recycled timber for floor and walls and simple grey felt cubes for furniture, cash desk and product displays. Gatti points out that the mirrors and the swoopingly low curves of the ceiling create the kind of ‘uncomfortable’ space he likes – ‘it challenges visitors, wakes them up – like walking in a forest. I think city life should be more like nature.’


 

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Steirereck by PPAG

Restaurant Extension Reforms the Dining Room

When one of the best restaurants in the world hosts a design competition, the results are sure to turn heads. Two years ago, Vienna’s Rietbauer family called not only for a complete interior renovation to their restaurant, Steirereck, but for an extension as well. PPAG architects took an immersive approach to their winning entry. ‘We completed in-depth research about food from the perspectives of both the catering staff and the customers by slipping into different roles,’ say the architects. What they found was an opportunity to rethink the traditional, room-full-of-tables building type, and to address the client’s desire for a proposal both ‘timeless and innovative’. ‘In designing the new dining space,’ they say, ‘we worked outward from individual tables.’

In plan the extension reaches, finger-like, from the southeast side of the existing building into the Stadtpark. Each table is given a curved, wooden backdrop and an operable sash window. These single-table units, strung together in molecular strands, create an environment more intimate than a conventional dining room, but also significantly more open to the outdoors.

Viewed from outside, the enormous sash windows are moments of clarity amid a blur of faceted metal, an effect the architects achieved by cladding the building with a ‘slightly reflective metal façade that appears to be coated with dew’. The façade dresses Steirereck’s new building as a dense block of metal, and yet it nearly disappears behind the foggy reflections in its own surface. The extension steals the spotlight from the restaurant’s original building, whose interior underwent a massive renovation also designed by PPAG. On the roof, though, it humbly gives back in the form of fertile ground for fresh ingredients.

Photos Helmut Pierer

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