I\'m Fan Beilei, an architect from Shanghai. Three years ago, in order to find a workplace for our studio, we moved to Xinhua Road. It is a piece of enclave outside the orthodox concession area. Although it’s in the center of the city, all the main roads, pitched roofs, balconies and yards here present a gorgeous suburb landscape. This brick-wood building was built in 1929, and architect Laszlo Hudec called it “British Villa.”
We rented the third floor of this building. We felt very repressed when we first came here, because the ceiling was very low and the lighting was dim. The strong contrast between the inside and outside space triggered our instinct to remold this loft. We divided the space into four areas. The west area close to the entrance consists of an open workplace, a discussion area and a balcony. The east area is for independent offices. We demolished the gypsum plank ceiling, so the wood roof frames that were originally hidden can be exposed. The entire room turns out to have a pinnacled structure.
We plastered cob lime on the wall. The surface doesn\'t look smooth and clean, but it’s compatible with the wood roof frames. After demolishing the ceiling, we exhausted ourselves to install pipes and wires within the walls. Our cabinets and tables were made from recycled wooden materials. We also demolished the winter garden on the balcony.
Standing on the balcony, you\'ll see a shabby roof in front. These traces from the past weren\'t abandoned, as they continue to play new roles in the new interspace. To me, discovering the hidden beauty within objects and being able to present it is the soul of remolding.
I sometimes work at the big table in the meeting room. The fishbone shaped roof frame on top and the curly walls on both sides make the room look like a wooden boat. There’s a large stretch of forest on the south side. And you can see sycamore leaves swaying outside the window on the north. Though it\'s just a corner of Shanghai, you can feel the beauty of the city from this corner.