A symbol of space in motion, the automobile is a microcosm of design and technology – a snapshot of a society’s values at any given time. A museum of vintage BMWs in Beijing, China brings forth the exquisite nature of its cars while referencing the uniqueness of the Chinese collector with a local touch.
Entering through a bright, double-height area, horizontal strips of light punctuate the vertical surfaces of the reception, animating the space with images of speed. The accompanying luxury of the cars’ interiors are echoed in the following space, as the visitor is then absorbed into a warmer, lower, transitional lounge.
Layers of red fabric conjure images of the iconic Chinese gate and impart a sense of imperial splendor – a threshold beyond which the exhibition opens. The exhibition area is subdivided into several zones of diverse qualities for display and repose of both man and machine.
White, light and slightly transparent fabric banners hang from the open ceiling, softening the space and reducing the height to a more intimate, human scale. Abundant and varying, the white textile surfaces create a dialogue of generosity and hospitality to contrast the imperial nature of the Chinese ‘red gate.’
Horizontal lighting strips continue to dart through the main exhibition area and information walls, providing an intuitive sense of direction and motion. Integrated screens for multimedia presentations line the perimeter walls of the space, and projections can be screened onto the fabric banners in the center – where seating areas gather around exhibition pieces.
A freestanding staircase brings visitors to the key car displays on the floor above. Structured by several long platforms of white, back-painted glass and stainless steel, the space highlights the most prized cars in the collection, and echoes the lines of the space below. Stainless steel ceilings mirror these elevated platforms, expanding the volumetric space of each display to emphasize the beauty of the automobiles. Parallel in organization, the platforms offer natural routes through the space as the visitor learns the history of each car.
The Zhengtong museum provides an experience as carefully curated and utterly unique as the collection itself. Crossboundaries evokes the excitement of the driving experience in a fully integrated spatial design, highlighting the beauty of the vehicles both as independent works of art, and the magic of joining man and machine.
China Zheng Tong Auto Services Holdings Ltd.
Binke Lenhardt, DONG Hao
Maria Francesca Origa, Hayger Chan, LI Zhenyu, BMW China Design Team
Shenzhen Zhongjian Nanfang Decoration Construction Co., Ltd.
Crossboundaries contributes to a vital built and social environment through the broad field of design and the subject of architecture, from urban planning to graphic design, from teaching to consultancy, events curation and research. We create enduring products that often deal with remarkable technical processes and always have an engaging human relationship.
Founded in 2005 and organized as an international partnership, Crossboundaries has staff originating from and trained in Asia, Europe, North and South America with offices in Beijing, China and Frankfurt, Germany. We provide unique spatial solutions deriving from local cultural knowledge and transnational expertise.
After receiving their Masters Degrees in Architecture from Pratt Institute, founders DONG Hao and Binke Lenhardt worked in New York for several years before making their home in China. After working in the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD) they founded Crossboundaries in 2005.