Herschel Supply Office, Shanghai

Designed by: Linehouse
For client: Herschel Supply Co Floor area: 134.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Nominated for: 年度小型办公室

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.

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