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The sky’s the limit

August 1st, 2015 / By: / Projects

Kengo Kuma has been making headlines since the 1990s with designs that describe “an architecture of relations, respecting its surroundings instead of dominating them,” including the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo, Bamboo Wall House in China and Besançon Art Center in France. Photo: ©Masao Nishikawa
Kengo Kuma has been making headlines since the 1990s with designs that describe “an architecture of relations, respecting its surroundings instead of dominating them,” including the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo, Bamboo Wall House in China and Besançon Art Center in France. Photo: ©Masao Nishikawa

Shang Xia, a high-end retailer purveying the best of Chinese design and craftsmanship, wanted its boutique in Shanghai, China, to reflect the light and simplicity of its clothing, furniture and household products. The 1909 red-brick building housing the boutique posed a challenge for Kengo Kuma and Associates, Tokyo, Japan, the architect commissioned to redesign the interior of the older building, located in the midst of Shanghai skyscrapers that epitomize modern design.

Kengo Kuma created a cloud of semi-transparent fabric cubes, curving from the ceiling to the walls of an open space in the boutique. “Some people compare it to a cloud and others to a cave of Taihu stone,” says a news release from the architect. “The space represents the unique power of nature in China, described by its people as ten, or the heavens.” The white, light and floating ambiance of the installation works beautifully with the clean and finely crafted products.
An estimated 4,000 sheets of fabric formed the semi-transparent cubes, created via heat welding and tied with plastic catches to stainless steel wires that stretch from the floor to the curving ceiling. The entire permanent installation covers 3,300 square feet of ceiling space, punctuated with lighting to give it the flowing variation of a cumulus cloud on a sunny day. See more of the Kengo Kuma approach to design.

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