CUN Design creates its own art-filled Beijing studio
Asia - China
Take the case of Cui Shu, who had decided to relocate his Beijing firm, Cun Design. “The project could not officially start,” Cui notes “until we shook off our identity as designers and saw ourselves as the clients.”
So he spent three months brainstorming with those clients, aka his 45-person staff, to determine what type of place everyone would like to work in. One wish list included a café on the ground level for regular caffeine fixes. Another designer felt that a workplace should have the feeling of a home. Cui ultimately came to the conclusion that the only way to address everyone’s bucket lists was to think of the office not as a single entity but as a series of zones, each one its own mini-universe.
He found ample space to do that at a site on one of Beijing’s outermost ring roads—a onetime factory complex now home to a creative-minded redevelopment where neighbours would include shops and offices. “We liked the fact that it’s an integrated complex, with businesses that operate 24/7,” he says. After Cun Design leased one bay of a 40-year-old building there, Cui set about transforming it. The result needed to inspire hard work yet also be a place where events are held and where visitors can immerse themselves in Cun Design’s oeuvre. “We tried our best to avoid the typical features of an office, hoping to bring in cosiness and comfort,” he says.
Myriad quirky objects play a major role in that effort, starting on the ground level. Right past the main entrance is a full bar, set beneath a partially mirrored ceiling that reflects a seemingly random assortment of motorcycle helmets, books, and framed photos. “I asked my employees to bring in their favourite personal belongings to individualize the space,” Cui explains. “During the day, we host client conferences or have internal meetings here. And sometimes we organize evening activities or gatherings.”
In his concept of distinct zones for the project, the ground level represents two important functions: to project the firm’s image, for marketing purposes, and to encourage social interaction. There is a bar, including its own pantry. Then a kitchen, a café for coffee, and a pair of cigar rooms take up the remainder of this level.
To complete the set they chosen a Nenufar suspension, beyond its uncanny levitating sense, this piece achieves diffuse lighting providing an alluring romantic sense, reminiscent of the natural beauty of nature, through the carefully crafted glass. Filled with an extraordinary vibe this studio takes us into an eclectic atmosphere, a building that brings back the memory of the old days. This creative industrial park has been transformed with the identity of the designers and where this chandelier brought to the environment a misty kind of poetry.