Herschel Supply Office, Shanghai

Designed by: Linehouse
For client: Herschel Supply Co Floor area: 134.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Nominated for: Small Office of the Year

Linehouse Herschel 006 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The structure is lined with corrugated stainless steel. Through the process of revealing and stripping the lining back, parts of the framework are exposed, voids to the ceiling opened up and concrete walls beyond expressed.

About the Project

Herschel Supply commissioned Linehouse to design their first office in China, located in a residential Shanghai laneway. The site occupies an area where many old residential buildings are being demolished. Houses are stripped, revealing layers of materials, sectionally cut and voids are filled. This process of deconstruction and public vs. private was the driving narrative for the concept of the Herschel office.

Linehouse inserted a black metal framework into the space. Occupying this structure is a lounge area, pantry, meeting room, bathroom and storage. Sectionally, glass divides the different spaces, allowing transparency throughout the enclosure. The surrounding open space operates as the work area.

The structure is lined with perforated and solid corrugated stainless steel. Through the process of revealing and stripping back the lining, parts of the framework are exposed, voids to the ceiling opened up and the concrete walls beyond are expressed. This utilitarian structure is operable, with corrugated sliding doors to the meeting room and pantry that can be closed or opened depending on required privacy.

Approaching the site, half of the house framework leaves a trace on the exterior façade. The surrounding void of the frame is infilled with recycled brick. A raw metal pivoting door leads you to the interior. This operable façade opens to the laneway, blurring the exterior and interior, allowing the interior seating area to be an extension of the streetscape.

What’s unique about it

Inspiration for the project was drawn from the local community and surroundings where many traditional housing communities are being demolished. Passersby can glimpse into the interior of these deconstructed houses where private moments are exposed to the public streetscape. This was the driving concept for Linehouse, playing spatially with concepts of public vs. private, revealing and concealing, and the process of deconstruction. 

Stepping away from a traditional office typology, the space is connected to the community and encourages social interaction. On entering, the living room is an informal greeting space extending to the laneway. A large pivoting door creates an indoor/outdoor space. 

Private spaces, traditionally closed off, are opened up. The meeting room is visible on entering, as the room is sectionally divided with glass to the pantry and living area. A large sliding door allows for the room to be closed off or opened up to the main working area. 

Linehouse created bespoke corrugated stainless steel in solid and perforated finish. The black metal framework was custom designed to be inserted into the space. The corrugated metal sliding panels that move horizontally across the front elevation of the structure allow for the reading of the framework to change pending on their location; containing and exposing different moments and programs within. Bricks and blocks were handpicked from a local salvage yard, creating an eclectic infill for the front façade.

Linehouse Herschel 001 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The house framework leaves a trace on the exterior facade. Recycled brick and concrete blocks fill the void surrounding the frame.

Linehouse Herschel 002 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The raw metal pivoting door opens the interior up to the laneway, blurring the exterior and interior.

Linehouse Herschel 003 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The living room forms an informal greeting space, and becomes an extension of the streetscape.

Linehouse Herschel 004 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The open workspace is adjacent to the black metal enclosure that holds the living room, pantry, meeting room, and bathroom.

Linehouse Herschel 005 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Corrugated metal sliding doors move horizontally across the front elevation of the metal structure, containing and exposing moments and programs within.

Linehouse Herschel 009 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The living room looks through to the open work area and is a casual greeting space. The office is furnished with local brands such as ZZ Studio, Bentu and Why Knot, alongside pieces from Hay and Jean Prouve. Lighting includes custom items as well as Bentu and Bocci. All metalwork is bespoke.

Linehouse Herschel 010 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

View from the living room through to the open workspace.

Linehouse Herschel 011 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

There is transparency through the house structure, with glass dividing various programs. Here, from the meeting room, the pantry and living room are visible.

Linehouse Herschel 012 Hi
© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Bespoke corrugated stainless steel panels, with solid and perforated finish, line the metal structure.

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