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Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Linehouse Design (Shanghai) is an architecture and interior design practice established in 2013 by (left) Alex Mok (Chinese-Swedish) and Briar Hickling (from New Zealand). Both have completed extensive work in Asia, Pacific and abroad.
The following architectural/design essay (below) is found on the excellent website of Linehouse Design, a two-woman firm based in Shanghai, China.  The recent project described by writers from the firm is an example of the niche visions of founders Alex Mok (left) and Briar Hickling.  It is creative reuse at its finest. 
See Linehouse portfolio: click here.

“...WeWork Weihai Lu is nestled in a turn of the century brick building; a former opium factory and artist residence. This building is surrounded by an old residential district in the heart of Shanghai.

“Linehouse celebrated the grandeur of the building, encapsulating the feeling of a grand hotel, transporting guests and members on an unexpected journey of whimsy, voyeurism and festivity.

“Upon arrival guests pass through an old laneway, framed by a traditional Chinese arch. The lane walls are painted pink and the floor pink concrete. Above, lights are festively suspended between the laneway walls.

“The existing site is a combination of a brick historical building with further industrial additions that have been made over the years. The reception is located in this in-between zone of the old and new. Linehouse played with this narrative in the design. The reception counter is clad in heritage wood paneling, surrounded by a concrete base. A bronze metal structure hangs lighting and creates leaners. Behind the reception, guests are greeted with a neon sign ‘Ring For Service’ contained in a cabinet of curiosities, painted in a light blue.

“The existing steel structure is painted ivy green, with a new black metal and black stained OSB handrail leaner wrapping the triple height space, allowing guests to be spectators to the activities below.

“A green steel staircase weaves through the circulation space connecting all three levels of the front of house. This is clad in “triangular pieces of oak wood, with one side painted in hues of blue. The colours alternate as you travel up the stair creating a gradient of tones, and shifting views from wood to blue.

“The staircase leads to the two pantry areas that play on the opium factory narrative, with large scale poppy wallpapers, hand painted in gold.

“The central atrium is surrounded by the heritage façade. A curved terrazzo tray was inserted to define the space, pastel diagonal strips in blue, green, pink and grey wrap the floor and wall, creating a hardscape carpet. A bronze structure is suspended above the terrazzo perimeter wall, hanging mirrors, artwork, shelving and lighting.

“A bespoke lighting installation is suspended in the triple height space. Pink and grey cabling traverses the void threaded through circular bronze rings which hang custom glass shades.

“Passing through the central atrium space to the back bar located within the heritage building, one is transported to a tropical retro oriental parlor. A gold gradient wallpaper wraps the perimeter wall, with hand painted Shanghai ladies, clothed in zebra attire and adorned in gangster bling, their era blurred between the 1920’s and the present day. A blue and pink neon in the shape of a fan frames the pantry area.

“Custom wallpapers continue to play on this festive theme, with geometric and interweaving patterns in pastel tones, these are hand painted over in gold and green.

“The bathroom walls are lined with custom printed tiles in pink and green interconnecting lines and shapes. The ceiling is painted a dusty pink, and a mint green lacquer box contains the cubicles, custom bronze light fixtures and mirrors create a parlor-like vanity.”

Linehouse is an architecture and interior design practice established in 2013 by (left) Alex Mok (Chinese-Swedish) and Briar Hickling (from New Zealand). Both have completed extensive work in Asia, Pacific and abroad.

Linehouse operates as a platform to investigate the rituals of inhabitation and how these daily moments can be celebrated through design, transforming the mundane into performative acts.

Linehouse is a collaboration of like-minded individuals from various backgrounds and cultures. The practice has international experience in design and construction, from the small scale and the intricate, to the grand and public.

The studio works on projects of varying scales and typologies that allow explorations of both the poetic idea and pragmatic solution. Projects are approached in a holistic manner combining different disciplines: architecture, interiors, product design and graphic design; and drawing on our experience to create new ideas and outputs emphasising qualities of construction, detail, materials and light.

Each brief is approached individually, creating a poetic concept for each client through research, site context, history and responding to the client’s brief. Through the process of design, each project has a strong narrative and an element of whimsy and voyeurism, creating a unique spatial experience.

Linehouse has been featured widely by the press around the world, including Wallpaper*, FRAME, AD, ELLE Décor, Dezeen, Detail, Archdaily, Designboom, Perspective Magazine and countless print and online media.

In 2016, Linehouse was awarded twice at the A&D Trophy Awards in the retail and F&B categories, and named Judges’ Choice and winner in the shopping space category at the Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards (APIDA). Named Emerging Interior Practice of the Year by World Interior News in 2015, Linehouse has also been awarded at Restaurant and Bar Design Awards and Design for Asia (DFA) Awards.

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