Neri&Hu’s Aranya Art Center, located in China’s “Gold Coast” of Qinhuangdao, is a part of the developer Aranya’s seaside villa community. The newly built resort town is all about communal activities, with work from firms ranging from OPEN Architecture to Vector Architects that emphasize culture and education—and the newly opened Aranya Art Center is no exception, as its inscribed cylindrical design and tone of "calm drama" creates a unique opportunity for art and entertainment. The building’s heavy concrete envelope is richly textured and pierced by the occasional bronze-fitted windows and centered around an open-air pond-cum-amphitheater. When a performance is scheduled, the base of the round room becomes a descending wave of concrete steps punctuated with custom lighting. When out of use, the depression is filled with water, creating a reflective pond whose surface plays with the natural light and splashes on the surrounding concrete walls. The enclosed mass around the circular opening is filled with unexpected amounts of natural light and warm woods, and snaking corridors that choreograph the way visitors wander through the art center. The interiors were designed for peace in mind, for the maximum enjoyment of art. Despite the heavy and industrial concrete that informs the first impression of the building, the warm interiors and light-filled spaces have the ability to surprise, and Neri&Hu have said that the overall design was informed by the sea just a stone’s throw away. Accordingly, the art center is warm and calm in the summer, and iced and sharp in the winter. Although it's unfolded in the midst of China’s building boom, the art center was designed to encourage a sense of community and a slowing down. The traditional nods to Chinese architecture and history, from the presence and importance of the pond to the non-linear pathways and use of wood, encourage subtle reflection in a ready-made developer project.
Posts tagged with "Neri & Hu":
Like London-based interdisciplinary office Studio Swine's Milan Design Week installation New Spring (above), simple statements in graphic metals make a big impact without overcrowding a room. Mobile Chandelier 13 Michael Anastassiades Building on his series Mobile Chandeliers 1–10, introduced in 2008, Michael Anastassiades crafted Mobile Chandelier 13 out of black-patinaed brass to further explore the curves, lines, and delicate forms for which he is known. Yanzi Neri & Hu for Artemide Playful white glass orbs and brushed-brass lines resemble birds perched on a wire in this matte-black brass light, which comes in suspension, floor, and table variations. Miro 3 Atelier de Troupe This square-framed light is handmade in L.A. and comes in unfinished or blackened brass (shown). It holds three glass shades, two round and one oval, and is hung by customizable cloth-wrapped wire. Krane Ladies & Gentlemen Studio + Vera & Kyte for Roll & Hill Informed by the functionality of a building crane, this mounted light can be easily raised or lowered: The cord slides through the arch, balanced by its counterweight. Krane is available in a large or small ceiling mount, or wall mount. Arca chandelier Philippe Malouin for Matter Made A swooping, minimal blackened-brass chandelier is an airy option for oversize lighting. The modular system adapts to myriad spaces, and LED bulbs in blown opal glass offer soft, even light.
In observance of the 60th anniversary of the Series 7 chair, furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen enlisted seven architects to re-envision the classic Arne Jacobsen design. Explaining the impetus behind the program, Jacob Holm, CEO of Fritz Hansen, said, "If we fall asleep on top of our heritage, design becomes museum items. And if that happens, it (design) no longer adds new value to the present time." The participating firms—BIG, Snøhetta, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Neri & Hu, Jun Igarashi, and Carlos Ott in association with Carlos Ponce de Léon—certainly created some eye-opening interpretations of the chair. The architects' comments on their designs reveal their inspirations and intentions. Bjarke Ingels Group "The inspiration for the design is the materiality of the chair, the essence of the layered veneer and the functionality of the stacking. The final result is a subtle repetition of the iconic form language." Neri & Hu Design & Research Office "The idea of a replica, a re-edition, hinges on the duality between the original and the re-design. Our take on this project is to embrace this exact idea of duality and create an actual 'double'. The doubling of two original seats facing each other becomes the new version: The singular chair multiplied as the individual becomes a community. Reminding us that we are never alone, but always together." Jean Nouvel Design "Our chair is an example of Jean Nouvel's design signatures: contrasting colors and juxtapositions. Black and white mark each chair—although they still play together in a feminine and masculine flow. Creating a reinforcement of the curves of the front and of the back of the shell." Zaha Hadid "The provision for this chair was to create a harmonic transition from the existing shell and how it can effortlessly touch down on the ground. This special edition formalizes the Series 7 chair as a dynamic and seamless expression of structure and support. Formed from two continuous steel rods, the sculptural base sweeps down to the ground and reaches up to embrace the undulating shape of the iconic plywood seat." Jun Igarashi Architects "When buildings collapse during earthquakes, the building materials are wasted. Our idea is to collect the waste wood, introduce a color and process it into boards that can be used for furniture." Carlos Ott Architects in association with Carlos Ponce de Léon Architects "The chairs have been intervened the same way a vertical garden grows organically up a wall. The upholstery climbs and settles peacefully on the shell of the chair. The curved lines which compose the foundation of the different areas in the garden are mimicked and adapted to the anatomy of the chair". Snøhetta "We nurture differences. When opposites meets, they conjure an interesting dialogue. When nature meets the cultivated, when humans interact with architecture, when soft and hard co-exist—interesting things happen. "Maybe the Series 7 chair with its metal legs and wooden seat acknowledges this juxtaposition. We wanted to explore the soft side of the chair. "The wood is a representation of softness in contrast to metal. A legless construction is free and indeterminate. It is versatile and simple. And maybe it can be a symbol for social interaction and playfulness. If we add even more softness to it we might be able to create a new user experience, additional functionality. We want it to be a multifunctional social tool in both singular and plural contexts. You can sit in any formation dictated by any social scene you are in. It can be a singular, free, soft chair or a plural one in a fixed social situation." The chairs will travel to design festivals in London, Copenhagen, and Gent, Belgium before being auctioned to benefit UNICEF.