Both Sukhothai and the ancient city of Nanjing are places of peace that make people feel at ease and relaxed. Either for Nanjing, an ancient capital of six dynasties, or for Siam, mystery is the common term in the oriental world that originates from belief and habit of people. The special unrestrained style of Sukhothai echoes with the ambience of streets and lanes in Nanjing.
Project name: TaiOursea Laomendong SPA Shop
Location: Nanjing, China
Address: No. 18-1, Zhangjiayan, Laomendong, Taojia Lane, Qinhuai District, Nanjing, China
Base area: 450 square meters
Architectural and interior design: Roarc Renew (roarc.cn)
Principal architect: Bai Zhenqi
Photo credits: Freeman
Design team members: Lin Yan, Xu Leqian, Lu Huiqin, Wu Yejing, Yang Junyi, Gu Qian
Structural engineer: Wu Chuanyi
Lighting Design: Jiang Zhaolong
Construction consultant: Zhang Chenghua from Shanghai Jielu Decoration Design Engineering Co., Ltd. ；Tang Yuanhua from Taizhou Aoyo Building Decoration Engineering Co., Ltd.
Constructor: Taizhou Aoyo Building Decoration Engineering Co., Ltd.
Client: TaiOursea Health Technology Co., Ltd.
Main building materials: Red bricks, high-tech wood veneer, Harmerhome fabrics, copper plated stainless steel panel
Date of design (start and completed date): 2018.09-2018.11
Date of construction (start and completed date): 2018.12-2019.04
The oriental world is located in the east in position but its cultivation mainly remains in the south of China. Nanjing in the south resonates with north Thailand in cultivation. The same cultural origin bonds us closely in our derections, while Erawan can also find its One World ideology in Confucianism.
According to topic of this design plan, designers find a starting point from common characters of two cultivations, i.e. Place Mapping. Place Mapping is a design methodology gradually summarized by Roarc Renew in design of numberless projects. This is the first time that Place Mapping is put into practice directly in a project.
The essence of Place Mapping lies in precise grasp of spirit, specifically appropriate hints and certain imaginary space. It is an approach that certain blank space is left in spiritual world. Object of the allusion is Thai culture or Thai culture symbols. Client of this design plan is an evangelist expecting to disseminate Thai massage skills and Thai culture in China.
Black bricks in Nanjing: The project is located in a commercial street to the east of China Gate in Qinhuai District of Nanjing. After undergoing warfare, the remaining buildings in Men Dong were protected and rebuilt by the government. Traditional Chinese style wooden architecture and Ma Tau Wall were rebuilt to demonstrate traditional culture and make original style of the south part of the ancient Nanjing relived.
For the commercial cluster of Men Dong, black bricks are representative building materials. Most of the buildings are monomer buildings, which aims at inheritance of traditional buildings. Concrete expression of these two cultures needs a form echoed mutually.
Red bricks in the north part of Thailand: Overlooking the ancient city of Chiengmai, we find vermilion is a representative color of this city. Relics of Tha Phae Gate, red roofing of classic royal palace and foundation of Siamese buildings match with the green fence in color. Red bricks are classic and commonly used building materials, which relates to existence of local red clay in Thailand.
Black and red bricks
Identifying architecturally symbolic significance of bricks, Roarc Renew considers bricks as the “soul” of a space. Black and red bricks are the same form of material, but they represent different cultures. Gaps between bricks give people a sense of hidden order. Via an extreme control, Roarc Renew intensifies such a sense of order.
All functional contents, e.g. air-conditioner air vents, furniture, compartments, glass bricks, house number plate, direct at an orderly space, which expresses a sense of religious ceremony. The quality reflected by the clay texture of bricks is similar to a pleasant feeling that we have when walking in the soil barefoot. This feeling is unique in South Asia and it also reflects our perfectionism to the details.
Orderly arrangement of red bricks reflects the relation between space and material, while lamp wall totally alludes to cultural and visual signs. Pray and meditation is a religious behavior, which normally embodies a sense of ceremony. The “sense of place” emphasized in architecture is a sort of “divinity” formed through space construction. When night falls, thousands of lamps light up. It represents not only one-to-one blessing but also field spirit. The field spirit takes night sky as a background. For Roarc Renew, the heartshaking effect brought by lighting-up of thousands of lamps is appealing. Hence, Roarc Renew takes the thousands of lamps as a design point of this plan. Actually, without being restrained by form, the “divinity” and “field spirit” of religion are completely inherited in this design. In the aspect of craftsmanship, there is a special elevated and water-proof design for lamp boxes, which guarantees its usage and weather resistance in outdoor space. The lamp boxes are especially designed in square to echo with orderly gaps left in red bricks.
An unusual effect in an orderly space
Roarc Renew processes red bricks differently. Based on different closing processes, the red bricks are classified into five different sizes to conform to different requirements for Details Joints. As for some details, Roarc Renew intaglios Thai characters which symbolize good fortune on the surface of red bricks. These characters are spread in the space to create a surprise effect in an orderly space. This is a punchline showing respect and emphasis toward the value of Thai characters.
Roarc Renew takes charge of design of Hotel-scale projects from design plan to soft decoration and lighting. Roarc Renew would never like excessive use of decorative articles, e.g. overcomplicated patterns. Instead, it prefers to us decorative articles as punchlines.
Arrangement of each article originates from Roarc Renew’s understanding of space. All the five countries of Southeast Asia are developed by relying on agriculture and handicraft industry. They still maintain various traditional handicrafts to this day, such as basketry, carpentry, textile, printing and dyeing and some other traditional handicraft industries. Brilliant cultivation of Southeast Asia is exactly originating from historical accumulation. For this reason, Roarc Renew pays a special attention to handicrafts when picking decorative articles. Although they are not antiques, each of them has its function and significance.
Articles hanging in the compartments are unique printing moulds from Burmese textile workshops. Patterns on clothes are made with these moulds. There is even some printing fuel remaining on most of these moulds. There are golden chanting plates with ancient Thai characters. People believe that chanting everyday may bring luck. This is also an important lucky symbol in local culture.
Bronze mirror at the entrance, square hood over the table, bronze lotus leaf-shaped disks all come from India and Burma. We can see the respect of Southeast Asian people toward their traditional culture from these handcrafts from different places. In this era, all can be reproduced except for time, which is the most valuable thing and also a thing we should discover and maintain. Cultivation continues as stories are passed down successively. Nanjing is featured in dark sky and misty rain while Chiengmai is featured in monks, robes and red walls. Isn’t it more anticipated if these two are combined?
RoarcRenew, founded by Robben Bai in 2016, an architectural atelier focusing on urban renovation, space transformation, remodeling of old districts, trying to create a sustainable urban space.Team members and consultants come from Shanghai, Hong Kong, New York, Tel Aviv and other places. Projects cover urban renovation, architecture, interior design and industrial design, etc. The projects are distributed in Shanghai, Beijing, Jakarta, Nanjing, Suzhou, Qingdao, Jiaxing, Jingdezhen, Zhangjiajie and other places.
Each project of RoarcRenew respects and insists on the order of aesthetics in architecture and tries to preserve the unique sense of ritual and field spirit of each space. The design focuses on the balance between function and form, through the harmony of the spatial distribution, geometric form and field spirit, we seek to create “a fabulous glimpse of the order.”
The launch of our renovation project Mixpace-Mandela gained world-wide attention, has been reported by renowned media such as FRAME magazine, Domus China, AD Magazine, ELLE DECORATION, Gooood and Archdaily, etc. Mixpace-Mandela was selected as one of the“top 100 Most Popular Co-working Space” by AD Magazine and the “ Most Popular Co-working Space” by China Interior Design&Decoration Association. Carlowitzs & Co., another renovation project of RoarcRenew, won the iF “ 2019 DESIGN AWARD ”(Workplace design), and it was covered by Time Architecture Magazine.Poly Lighting Up-Joints Pavilion, was reported by the World Architecture Magazine. Meanwhile, Robben Bai was selected as one of the“Top 100 Young Designer Award in 2017”by Domus China;and he was selected as the 2019 Forbes China 30 Under 30 list of fashion and art.