The play of volumes and strong visual impact set the tone of the work of architecture in Guangzhou in the building commissioned by the Chinese fashion brand Modern Avenue (formerly known as Canudilo Fashion), completed in December 2017.
The client had the inspiration to realize an iconic building, in the middle of the company headquarter to be used for exhibitions and special events.
The definition of an icon is the visualization of a symbol, this is how the aim was to impress with an object which is “actual”, special, unexpected and not already seen.
Duccio Grassi Architects was asked to develop a design based on a preexisting construction site, with the foundation already in place.
Such limitations became a stimulating challenge, and Grassi set out to create a unique plan shape that, in contrast with the rigid volumes of the surrounded buildings, bring a significant added value to the architectural complex.
Inspired by the bamboo forests seen along the rail line from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, and by the bamboo scaffolding of Chinese buildings under construction, the architect encloses the entire glass volume with metal tubing sunscreens that create an organic, sinuous volume.
The project is not based on decoration, the will to impress comes out first from the hidden position of the building.
Inside the brand’s headquarters, together with two towers for offices and a multipurpose building, the construction designed by DGA is composed of ground, first and second floors, for a total of 2446 square meters, plus a roof terrace of 812 sq square meters.
When you first glimpse its volume is in the shadow of two high rationalist matrix parallelepipeds it puts itself up like an organic body born in that position but not related to the towers.
It has a different function from the rest of the headquarter and wants to be remembered.
The wonder caused by this project doesn't come from a magnificent grandeur (which is not present), but from the unexpected.
The unexpected in this case is in strong relation with local traditions of this country: the facade has a strong remind to bamboo canes, which the unconscious goes immediately back to, with the straight canes naturally perceived bended an inclined by the flows of the wind and the weight of leaves.
The Modern Avenue building rises from a pivotal plan, in the center of the company already established headquarter and its sloping burnished brass tube facade recalls also the centrifugal force of an object rising among the others and pointing to the sky.
Inside the building the main staircase is not at the center of the floor, but is is a triangular lateral staircase which flows throughout the five floors above ground and characterizes each level.
The first floor layout comes with wavy walls in metal panels, whereas the second floor has spaces divided with burnished brass cones.
A glass elevator runs to the top of the building, where there is a roof terrace with leisure areas which will be enclosed by the the forest of sloping metal tubes defining once more the area of the building and the surroundings.
The exit from lift and staircase to the roof terrace has been designed to be closed during typhoon season.
The result is a light, evanescent building, with an impalpable material character, similar to the consistency of dreams.
In the mid-1980s Duccio Grassi began to work with the Max Mara group, contributing to definition and innovation of the field of retail design. Duccio Grassi developed projects and concept designs for buildings, boutiques and showrooms for Max Mara, Zara and Ray Ban among the other brands, and had a 10 years long partnership with Canali luxury menswear designing dozen of boutiques and showrooms. Since 2000 he has worked in China for italian brands and since 2006 with chinese fashion brands designing many stores and showrooms.In the Middle East DGA designed beside many stores the extension of the Wafi City Mall in Dubai (8.000m2), the interior of the Al Hamra Luxury Complex (38.000m2) and the Al Yasra Headquarters. In recent years Duccio Grassi Architects has developed several architecture and interior design projects for luxury residential and hospitality. DGA is presently working on luxury residences and commercial spaces in Thailand, China, USA and Russia for leading fashion brands.
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