Design Republic Design Commune

Design Republic Design Commune

Design Republic Design Commune, located in the center of Shanghai, envisions itself as a design hub, a gathering space for designers and design patrons alike to admire, ponder, exchange, learn, and consume. It houses the new flagship store for Design Republic, a modern furniture retailer, alongside a mixture of design-focused retail concepts, including books, fashion, lighting, accessories and flowers. The Commune will also have a design gallery, an event space, a café, a restaurant by Michelin-Starred Chef Jason Atherton, and a one-bedroom Design Republic apartment.

Situated within the historic relic of the Police Headquarters built by the British in the 1910s, the project takes a surgical approach to renovation. First, gently removing the decaying wood and plaster, then carefully restoring the still vibrant red brick work, while grafting on skin, joints, and organs onto parts that needed reconstruction. And finally with the attachment of a brand new appendage which, like a prosthetic, enables the existing building to perform new functions, the nearly abandoned building begins its life again.

The hyper realistic detail in Gefeller’s photographs recalls the precision of an excavation. The way he meticulously combs surfaces and reveals minute traces of human intervention, a cigarette butt or a footprint, are similar to the way we approach an old building site. Also, the concept of stitching—Gefeller stitches together thousands of photos to create the final image—resonates with our idea of these smaller parts, details, build upon each other to form a whole new building. Andreas Gefeller, Supervisions, 2004

Replacing the rather dilapidated row-shops on the street front, Neri&Hu introduced a modern glassy insertion onto the brick façade. To accentuate the historic nature of the main building, the street level periphery is enveloped by transparent glazing to reveal the existing brick work and rough concrete structures. Breathing new life into a traditional colonial building plan, Neri&Hu strategically removed certain floor plates, walls, as well as ceiling panels, to allow a renewed experience of the existing building, one that is fitting for the new functions to which the building now needs to respond.

Various small and precise incisions have been made in the interior architecture to reveal the building’s history and integrity while creating experiential intersections for a coherent experience when moving through the building. Contrasting with the exterior which has mostly been left intact due to historic preservation guidelines, the interior has been completely transformed. The starkly modern white rooms are juxtaposed with untouched remnants of brick walls, and in some cases, exposed wood laths underneath crumbling plaster walls. The clear intentionality behind the detailing of connections between the old and the new creates a visually and spatially tectonic balance in relation to the building as a whole.

The hyper realistic detail in Gefeller’s photographs recalls the precision of an excavation. The way he meticulously combs surfaces and reveals minute traces of human intervention, a cigarette butt or a footprint, are similar to the way we approach an old building site. Also, the concept of stitching—Gefeller stitches together thousands of photos to create the final image—resonates with our idea of these smaller parts, details, build upon each other to form a whole new building. Andreas Gefeller, Supervisions, 2004

Gross Area
2,400 m²

Status
Complete

Completion Date
November 2012

Duration
September 2010 – November 2012

Address
511 Jiangning Road, Jing'an District, Shanghai, China

2017
The American Architecture Prize – AAP Design Republic Design Commune, Architectural Design - Restoration & Renovation Category, Honorable Mention
2017 Shanghai Wallpaper* City Guide, by Wallpaper* Magazine, London, UK Design Republic Design Commune, Recommended in Art/Design
2015
The Great Indoors Award 2015, by Frame Magazine, Maastricht, NetherlandsDesign Republic Design Commune, Show & Sell Category, Nomineed
Architizer A+ Awards 2015, by Architizer Website Design Republic Design Commune, Office Retail Showroom under Commercial Category, Jury Winner
2014
INSIDE: World Festival of Interiors 2014, Singapore Design Republic Design Commune, Creative Re-use, Completed Building, Highly Commended
2013
Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards 2013, by Hong Kong Interior Design Association, Hong Kong, China Design Republic Design Commune, Public Space Category, Excellence Prize
Design for Asia (DFA) Award 2013, by Hong Kong Design Center, Hong Kong, ChinaDesign Republic Design Commune, Environmental Design – Commercial Spaces Category, Grand Award
Perspective Awards 2013, by Perspective Magazine, Hong Kong, ChinaDesign Republic Design Commune, Architecture Design – Heritage Category, Trophy