Located in Qikeshu in northeast Beijing, ‘Masquerade’ is located within close proximity to the city’s thriving 798 Art Zone which is home to several movie and photography studios that are housed within old brick factories. The project sees the transformation of an existing two-storey industrial building in the district, into a photography studio. Rather than merely serving as a typical atelier for the client, the upper level has been designed to host a social meeting space for VIPs, expanding the studio’s function and activities.
The design maintains the existing characteristics of the factory’s aesthetic, while incorporating materials, architectural details and design elements that contrast the original spatial qualities of the building. Collectively, the futuristic aesthetic of the new design, compliments the old industrial atmosphere, rendering a surrealistic atmosphere.
The overall scheme of the transformation has been envisioned to appear as an art gallery, that while stimulating visitors’ senses, invites them to interact with one another, offering a unique experience that encourages exploration.
Location: Qikeshu, Beijing, China
Building Area: 480sqm / 2 floors
Contractor: Beijing zhenbangyuanjing decoration engineering co., ltd.
Photos: Jin Weiqi
Drawing on the existing structural framework, the remodelled façade incorporates the materiality of brick which speaks to the building’s former life as a factory. The organic surface curves away from the original façade front, forming space for a balcony that extends from the second floor, with its arched elements creating a dialogue with the domed windows. The façade has been finished with silver paint, allowing the characteristics of the brick to be visible. In this way, the polished exterior already creates visual interest at street front, offering individuals visual cues of what they can expect on the interior.
The walls of the entrance lobby are vaulted, forming a domed space whose curved framework contrasts the existing industrial ceiling which is exposed above. Their fluted surfaces reference the architectural details of classical columns. A bespoke star-shaped pendant light hangs from the centre of the lobby, anchoring the space. It provides a soft light that gently illuminates the interior, welcoming visitors into its warm, bright interior.
The reception area is a white room that complements the orange entrance lobby. It features a more restrained design composed of right angles and functions as a lounge.
The photo studio is a more conventional design – a white double-height space that visually and spatially connects with the balcony of the workspace on the second floor through arched cut-outs. Curtains are used to divide the room offering functional flexibility that allows it to be used in tandem with the entrance lobby if required.
The dining area has been conceived to evoke the feeling of an exhibition space. Lighting and mirrors are housed within classic picture frames. They are arranged along the walls, similar to an art gallery. A makeup room with a shower is located next door featuring classical details.
2F VIP SPACE
The entire second floor is dedicated to VIPs, with the primary program being that of a circular-shaped lounge. The walls are covered in a luxurious fabric that has been cut into bold graphic shapes. Custom sofas that span the length of the room offer ample amounts of seating, while the eye is drawn upwards to an installation of convex traffic mirrors on the ceiling that form the focal point of the room.
2F VIP MAKEUP ROOM
The second-floor VIP makeup room features lighting that dots the walls, like a constellation of stars. A built-in dressing table displays a scalloped edge that is reminiscent of a cloud formation, with the lighting fixture resembling a floating star, overall expressing an ‘intergalactic minimalism’.
2F VIP BATHROOM
Next to the makeup room is a long, narrow, over-sized bathroom. The color and reflective qualities of silver serve as the inspiration for the room, with an installation of mirror balls above adding another dimension to the space.