Besides using bamboo in unexpected, exceptional ways at the Beijing office of Elephant-Parade, Cun Design likewise explored and elevated simple materials at nearby Blue Moon Films. In this case, founder Cui Shu took on the conversion of a 1990’s house, excavating to expose bare brick and raw concrete. Cui says that the once-pristine surfaces of the walls, doorways, and windowsills had been showing the traces of time—only 20 years, to be sure, but Chinese construction of the ’90’s is not known for its craftsmanship. So he proceeded to hack away. He removed walls to open up the interior and improve views of surrounding gardens as well as cutting out part of a floor slab to bring sunlight down to the basement. With all those subtractions, he also added a volume in weathering steel, yielding a total square footage of 4,500.
Fully transformed, space once dedicated to domestic uses now serves office functions. Reception, a conference room, a library, and office areas fill the ground level. More offices and workstations occupy the second. The result, although obviously contemporary, nevertheless does not try to hide its history. “It’s more like a time line,” he says, “recalling the past and spying on the future with a current design language.”
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