Project: Riparia – Golong Offices
Architects: PINES ARCH
Location: Hangzhou, China
Area: 17,222 sf (building)
Photographs by: Breeze Image – Guozhe
Riparia – Golong Offices by PINES ARCH
Humans have settled near historic waterways since the earliest days of our existence. The Sumerians exploited the natural forces and sedimentary lands of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, creating an irrigation system that gave rise to an advanced, well-populated civilization that became the first literate society in history. Six millennia later, human civilization has moved into the virtual world, enabled by science and technology. In their latest project “rīpāria-Golong Offices”, PINES ARCH draws inspiration from one of the most emblematic origins of human society–the river valley civilizations; creating a new office environment for the quality-oriented International Beauty Group “Golong Holdings”.
Headquartered in Hangzhou, “Golong Holdings” is a multi-national, multi-brand conglomerate in the online beauty industry. Gen Z-ers are the most populous group in Golong’s employee demographic, putting forward insightful demands for their new office space to fulfill their complex and compounded vocations in the digital sphere. In the opinion of PINES ARCH, these demands herald the evolving definition of the office space in the Internet Era: it needs to expand beyond the simple work-desk arrayment, and into a more holistic reinterpretation of “work” in our civilization. PINES ARCH’s design responds Golong’s horizontal management style, with flexible spaces to ensure efficient collaboration and encourage interaction. Ideas, products and values breed and coexist here, cultivating a new understanding of “civilization” unique to Golong’s core values.
A “River” is introduced as the main path of circulation, as well as a carrier for the flow of ideas and creativity. The curvature of the path guides the new spatial order. It breaks the rigid structural grid, visually dissipating the repetitive spatial divisions from the columns. The entrance opens into a light-filled reception space, and the journey on the “river” begins to take visitors past meeting rooms, a large lounge, open workstations and other functional programs on each side, signifying the creation of settlements on the riverbanks. The semi-private spaces such as the phonebooths and work-nooks are arranged on nodal pauses of the dynamic flow of the “river”. Functionally, the office is a self-governing city, equipped with diverse spaces for production and work, as well as a gym and an outdoor roof garden.
The objective of the renovation project is suspended between creating lightness and extrapolating the future. Corrugated glass is bent to create a series of curved screens resembling cascading ripples. Through the translucent glass screens, the reception area experiences changing light effects throughout the day, creating a sense of rejuvenation, an ever-going exploration in the beauty industry. The stainless steel-cladded lounge area is the central area for communication. Concept collides, diffuses and deposits, forming a “smart island”, which brings new vitality to the company.
It was a conscious design choice for PINES ARCH to preserve and highlight the original textures of the main materials: brushed stainless steel, terrazzo, corrugated glass, and concrete. A material palette made up of low saturation colors ceremonially simulates a lab-like environment. A balance between utilitarianism and aesthetics is achieved by keeping the materials in their honest states, free of ornamentation and superfluity. Natural colors in the phonebooth and meeting rooms are carefully chosen to add warmth to the space.
Extremities can create abrupt miracles, only in balance can things endure. In “rīpāria-Golong Offices”, PINES ARCH aims to stay true to functionality, designing for current needs and the foreseeable future. By revisiting “river valley civilizations” as a design cue, the redefined office space is more open, free and human-centric, ready for new opportunities and challenges in the post-information society.
About PINES ARCH
PINES ARCH was founded in 2019 by Shuni Wu (MSAAD, Columbia University) and Evelyn Jingjie Wong (MSARCH, Illinois Institute of Technology) as an international architects’ collective. As a project, PINES ARCH operates within a spiritual order rooted in the traditions of S.R. Crown Hall. As a practice, PINES ARCH is constantly exploring the contexts presented by its zeitgeist, pursuing an ultimate mission to be concise, truthful and clear in its form of expression, interpreting and re-interpreting what it takes to make “Honest Architecture”.
PINES ARCH understands as digital natives that much of everything will eventually be “ideal”, but amorphous. Only when responding to the spirit of the times attentively can we as architects be part of it. As builders, PINES ARCH resides in its social environment with a critical mind, consciously and rationally returning much control over to the integrity of materials and tectonics. PINES ARCH avoids superfluous creation by closely observing, actively understanding and explicitly responding, so as to seek only the essentials. The establishment of this constant introspective dialogue is fundamental for PINES ARCH as architects, designers, builders and thinkers operating in our times.
PINES ARCH works in Architecture, Urbanism, and Interior Design. Projects include the 35-acre masterplan, architecture, and interior design of The Jade Huathai Resort in Huahin, Thailand; Golong Holdings Headquarters in Hangzhou with 10,000 square meters office and exhibition space; the first brick-and-mortar retail store in China for Spanish skincare brand SEPAI; Volunteer Dormitory and Tea Room for The Shanghai Flower Expo in 2021; Vailog Group Luxury Apartment Sales Room; Shanghai Galaxy Midtown Sales Department; The soft decoration design for Guizhou Baohe COSMOS Sales Center, and the third place winner in the National Maritime Museum of China-Huangpu New Wing competition.
-Project description and images provided by PINES ARCH