LAAB Architects is an intuitive coalition of 40 innovators subsumed of designers, artists, engineers, fabricators, and sociologists; insistent on contriving icebreaking edifices extending from the kiosks to furniture design to facade designs to interior designs to waste management schemes to holistic architectural designs. 

The collaboration is sited in Hong Kong and treads over an influential trail of embracing innovative ingenuity impartial of its scale. They pursue the conviction of paying equivalent sensitivity towards natural elements over nearby sites and the functional requisites of any built entity. The maximal context-driven designs are acknowledged for drawing users closer to the environment, society, and traditional values.

LAAB ARCHITECTS and associates affirm collective thinking wherein an architect perceives sociologically, an engineer holds the freedom to contest design; and the team inclusively assures mutual compliance. They presume experiment is the root of innovation.

Here are the top 15 projects by an intentionally acclaimed and awarded architecture firm.

1. Garden Restroom

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Exterior View of the toilet complex _©NWD

This public toilet is situated in Salisbury Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui, a town in Hong Kong. Overcoming the challenge of modest integration of privacy in public space, a translucent screen is implanted amid a wooden panel screen running from the ground to the roof on the exterior. 

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Sectional View _©LAAB

The facade houses artificial lights for the toilet complex to behave as lanterns at night and is also a source of natural daylight. 

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Mural in Womens’ Restroom _©NWD

The interior of the public toilet complex honours historical events of the region using mosaic murals over walls. The sensible consideration of its varied users is revealed in the heights of washbasins. Extending the building language and material palette of surroundings, the Garden Restroom commendably unifies landscape and soft lines to indulge its users in a calm, refreshing, yet secluded experience.

2. T-Cafe

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Sectional View of the Cafe_©LAAB

This cafe was built in the sludge treatment facility using recycled fender wood claimed from Wan Chai pier at Tuen Mun city of Hong Kong. LAAB team was commissioned to refurbish the wooden piers immersed in the sea for more than 40 years.

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Furniture of the Cafe_©Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Based on the strength and durability, sections of wooden logs were employed for various elements in the cafe. The most compact ones have deployed as long curvilinear seatings and dining tables. Temporarily weathered ones were utilized in coffee tables and smaller seatings. And the highly eroded part of wooden logs was embedded within an oceanic blue resin to create stools referred to as ‘Ocean Cubes’. 

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Interior of T-Cafe_©LAAB

3. Hong Kong House

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Hong Kong House and Surroundings_©Hiroshi Noguchi, LAAB

Hong Kong House was commissioned to host the exhibits’ gallery-cum-residence for the artists arriving at Echigo Art Triennale, the largest art festival in Japan. Designers conceptualized the house to effortlessly blend with tranquil surroundings rather than overpowering them. A unique oblique entrance supports the traditional pitched roof adhering to native architecture in the vicinity. The roof also holds the snow to inhibit road blockage. 

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Communal dining aids constructive interactions among artists_©Art Front Gallery

Hong Kong House accommodates a double-height gallery and a communal dining space on the first floor. While the artists’ residing areas are placed on the mezzanine floor overlooking the gallery. Locally available timber and galvanized metal were used for construction.

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Materials used_ ©Yip Chun Hang

4. Oyster Wetland Park

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Oyster Pavilion at the entrance of Oyster Wetland Park_ ©Changyu

Oyster Wetland Park is located overseeing the junction of four urban rivers in Shenzhen. The park plays a crucial role to intervene in the flood and pollution in the surroundings while giving the luxury of greens and blues to the visitors. LAAB designed a pavilion inspired by the structure of oysters. 

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Diagrid Latticework_©Changyu

The diagonal latticework makes multiple skylights, while the transparent facades unite the lush green proximity with interiors. The Oyster pavilion marks the entrance of the park and sustains the frequent necessity of a cafe and restrooms for visitors. The pavilion is crafted to stand out and sparkle from far off as the pearl shines from the oyster. 

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Oyster Pavilion provides a serene experience to its guests_©LAAB

5. Restaurant and Alumni Chamber, Hong Kong University

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Interior View of the restaurant_©Henry F

LAAB was commissioned to design the restaurant cum alumni chamber at Hong Kong University. The interior design exhibits a dominant use of soft curvilinear lines and arches with lower heights to provide a familiar-homey impression. The earthy colour palette adds to one’s pleasantness. 

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Main entrance_©Henry F

The main entrance opens into a gallery which further directs to two wide-open arches with customised sliding doors leading to the restaurant and an alumni chamber respectively.

The alumni chamber is designed for its adaptive use as a seminar room, press conference, private dining room, or just an extension of the restaurant. The uninterrupted curved walls segregate the fan-shaped space into its four functions namely kitchen, restaurant, alumni chamber, and VIP space.  

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Multipurpose Alumni Chamber_©Otto Ng

6. YOHO Playscape

Yoho Playscape consists of a series of playful art installations at Yoho Mall, Yuen Long, Hong Kong. With an intent to create equal participation of kids and adults in their outdoor times. It involves four sets of playable art namely- Color Circus, Infinite Loop, Flying Roof, and Rocking Boom. 

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Color Circus_©Otto Ng

Colour Circus is a sculptural installation of four letters Y, O, H, O; which allows kids and adults to sit, lie, slide, relax, jump or play.

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Flying Roof_©Otto Ng

Flying Roof is an installation of hanging chairs from colourful canopies. The steel framework has slanted columns rooted to the ground. The shade of canopies enables an enjoyable time on the swing.

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Infinite Loop_©Otto Ng

Infinite Loop is a slide just a little wider to accommodate kids and parents, innovative design like a castle. It has a small tunnel with a child-friendly staircase. The colorful sphere on the top glows in the full moonlight at the mid-Autumn festival.

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Rocking Boom_©Otto Ng

Rocking Boom is a see-saw attached to the complex maze game at the centre. The motion of the see-saw controls the direction of the ball in the maze, which can only reach its goal when perfect coordination of forces exists. 

7. Harbour Kiosk

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Harbour Kiosk at the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong_©Otto Ng

Harbour Kiosk is the transformable food kiosk signifying action movies that Hong Kong is famous for. 

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Movement of the facade during the day and night_©LAAB

The movable arms open up the outer fins through the counter space to attain a unique shape during the daytime, while the facade closes to be just a sculptural installation at night. 

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Public Amenities at the Kiosk_©Otto Ng

The kiosk also caters to civic necessities viz. washbasin, drinking fountain, display panels, planters, and also some stereo systems for the light show. 

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Public Amenities at the Kiosk_©CK Wong, Otto Ng

The wave generator at the rear facade gives cinematic wavy motion to 49 arms imitating the harbour waves nearby. The metal arms are cladded with treated red balau wood, making it look unimposing. The first kinetic public architecture of Hong Kong utilises parametric principles and ensured its endurance for typhoon season.

8. Cotton Run

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Conceptual View of Cotton Run_©LAAB

Cotton Run is a unique installation that offers sweet in turn sweat. The treadmill is connected to a cotton candy-forming machine. As one jogs over it, the candies are produced by the associated mechanism to imitate the scene of running among the clouds. 

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Actual Installation of Cotton Run_©Otto Ng

The ext5erior screen is animated with thunder, lightning, and mist to recreate a thunderstorm, while the interior screen displays cotton clouds and comforts the user with nostalgia. Cotton Run was a collaborative effort of architects, engineers, 3d and graphic artists, and programmers. Various parts of machinery were precisely made utilising advanced CNC technology. Cotton Run symbolises the hardships one has to go through in the course of their dreams.

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The rewarding Candy_©Otto Ng

9. Recycled Christmas

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Recycling stations to collect bottles_©LAAB

Recycled Christmas is a series of art installations for a sustainable, less wasteful Christmas. Water bottles were chosen as core material and collection units were placed at Lee Garden in Causeway Bay. Collected bottles were converted to flakes and further processed into the different colored ball-like modules- Baubles. These modules were set in varying shapes at different locations.

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Baubles hung in Lee Garden I_©Otto Ng

 Thousands of brass and bronze baubles were hung from the atrium skylight of Lee Garden I, forming the shape of a teddy bear. 

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Snowy landscape at Hysan Avenue_©Otto Ng

Translucent balls with embedded luminaries were arranged to form a snowy landscape at Hysan Avenues.  After the season got over, baubles were processed into felts and carpets.

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Fab Cafe at Hysan Place_©Otto Ng

 Christmas trees in the shape of Capsule toy machines from which people could receive featured baubles designed by an art collaborator The revenue generated was given to the local charity. The series also consisted of a cafe built from a recycled shipping container at Hysan Place. 

10. Nature Discovery Park

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Nature Discovery Park at the roof of K11 Musea_©NWD

A nature conservatory is set up on the roof of K11 Musea, a mall in Hong Kong. It was designed to create an experience of coexistence with nature for the inhabitants and conclusively reduce cooling loads for the building. 

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Components of Nature Discovery Park_©LAAB

The nature exploration voyage initiates with a butterfly archive that exhibits rare species of it, followed by the aquarium that showcases marine species of the Victoria harbour. Then the greenhouse demonstrates organically grown veggies through hydroponic technique. The butterfly garden attracts splendid butterfly species across the harbour.

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The glasshouse providing dine-in experience_©Jackie Chan

 The glass house at the centre provides farm to table dine-in experience. The steel structure with aluminium cladding is panelled with glass to create a close association between interiors and exteriors. The insulated glass unit is used to reduce heat gain and consequently reduce electric loads. 

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Predominant use of sustainable timber in the interiors of Glasshouse_©Otto Ng

11. Jellyfish Fermata

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Jellyfish formation_©Otto Ng

Jellyfish Fermata is an animated art installation created for a civic movement in Hong Kong in 2014. The skeleton of the formation is constituted of thirteen umbrellas embedded with the featherlight silk fabric. The immense illumination lights up the circumscribing areas.

The robotic jellyfish formation sways independently into a choreographed ceaseless motion with color transitions and illumination following the rhythm of music; creating a comforting experience for the visitor. The cinematic movement of jellyfish draws the visitors to take a halt and meditate on the hustle of one’s life. The predominant use of purple color showcases LAAB’s intent to create a futuristic yet tranquilizing experience.

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View of the Jellyfish from the road_©Otto Ng
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View of the Jellyfish from the road_©Otto Ng

12. Hong Kong Stock Exchange

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Theatrical entrance of the complex_©Kris Provoost

The new Connect Hall of Hong Kong Stock Exchange is loaded with futuristic elements including a dramatic entrance foyer with a convex glass ceiling, a digital wall with beyond 20,000 LED pixels displaying animations, a media wall with a brand logo of HKEX providing a backdrop for interviews and photography, a gong wall with a human scale gong installation, a multifunctional room, and an auditorium. 

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New Walls in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange_©Kris Provoost, Otto Ng
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VIP Room and the Board Room_©Kris Provoost

The new Connect Hall facilitates the occurrence of multiple events simultaneously through its curved wall and highly optimized acoustic services. The origami ceiling alters from burgundy to navy blue from varying viewpoints and houses MEP services, lights, and audio-visual systems in the new Connect Hall. The same venue is employed with recycled fishing nets as carpets to upgrade the sustainability quotient.

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Origami ceiling in the new Connect Hall_©Kris Provoost

13. Hysan Reading Pavilion

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Hysan Reading Pavilion on the right_©Cafe Hopping

The Hysan Reading Pavilion is situated at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay. The structure is located at the dead end beside the Eslite bookstore. The pavilion acts as a medium for visitors to halt and read, relax, or just hang out. The trellis structure enfolds the curvilinear seatings to accommodate different-sized groups. 

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Furniture replicating the shape of Trellis_©Otto Ng

Tailor-made triangular coffee tables designed by LAAB; replicate the shape of the timber-made pavilion which can be grouped to cater to multiple necessities. The long table at the edge faces the busy alley of Causeway Bay. Hysan Reading Pavilion brings back the cheer in the underused lobby of Hysan Place.

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Long table overlooking the Causeway Bay_©Cafe Hopping

14. 99 Commons

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99 Commons standing out from the skyline of the locality_©Tugo Cheng

99 Commons is the workshop tower in Tuen Mun, which despite its contemporary outlook embraces nature in the backdrop. The building facade was systematized with quadruple tiles of green and blue shades to imitate Castle peak and the blue sky.

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Canopies replicating tree branches_©Tugo Cheng

Tree branches and lines of Light Rail were mirrored in elements like canopies, air conditioner grilles, canopies, etc. Rustic ceramic tiles furnish a sense of nature in the lobby interiors of the tower. The 18-storied tower houses 338 individual units with exposed services featuring a grand corner window with no structural interruption in the view anchored by the cantilever. 

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Earthy color palette evident in the lobby of 99 Commons_©Otto Ng

15. Mosu Restaurant, Hong Kong

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Contextual design of Mosu Restaurant_©LAAB

The restaurant is situated at the T-junction of the LED facade and podium on the roof garden of M+ Museum overlooking the city’s skyline, greenery in the vicinity, and a focus gallery. Following the context, the concept of digital nature was applied to extend the landscape in the interiors. 

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Natural materials neutralizing brutality of exposed concrete_©Kris Provoost

The team deploys walnut timber in varied forms viz. Pleated walls, sculpted walls, slat walls, and armed chairs. Glass lampshades in different forms deliver various lighting effects. In addition, limestones naturally cut and polished are also employed in various places, depicting the diverse culinary voyage of the restaurant. The naturally dried and preserved flowers with wild foliage in the flowerbed installation subtly tarnishes as the winter approaches.

Flowerbed installation adding vivacity in the interios_©Kris Provoost

Reference:

Work – LAAB architects · artists · designers · makers: Hong Kong. LAAB Architects · Artists · Designers · Makers | Hong Kong. (2022, January 29). Retrieved September 17, 2022, from https://www.laab.pro/en/work 

Author

"Yamini has an innate fanaticism toward sustainable creations with low embodied energy and carbon footprint. She affirms an architects’ apical felicitation lies in their ability to create such sustainable entities that facilitate people to be closer to their origin and mother nature."

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