Star-shaped pendant lamp for Beijing photography studio
Photographer: Jin Weiqi
Beijing-based 123 Architects has designed the Masquerade, which was to transform an existing two-storey industrial building into a photography studio.
The project lies in proximity to the city’s thriving 798 Art Zone, home to several movie and photography studios, housed within old brick factories. However, rather than serving as a typical atelier for the client, the upper level has been designed to host a social meeting space for VIPs, expanding the studio’s function and activities.
Drawing on the building’s existing structural framework, the remodeled façade incorporates brick which speaks to the building’s former life as a factory. The organic surface curves away from the original façade front, forming space for a balcony that extends from the second floor, with its arched elements creating a dialogue with the domed windows. The façade is finished with silver paint, allowing the characteristics of the brick to be visible. In this way, the polished exterior already creates visual interest at street front, offering individuals visual cues of what they can expect inside.
The design maintains the existing characteristics of the factory’s aesthetic while incorporating materials, architectural details and design elements that contrast with the original spatial qualities of the building. The overall scheme is envisioned as an art gallery that stimulates visitors’ senses, invites them to interact with one another and offers a unique experience that encourages exploration.
The walls of the entrance lobby are vaulted, forming a domed space whose curved framework contrasts with the existing exposed industrial ceiling. Their fluted surfaces reference the architectural details of classical columns. A bespoke star shaped pendant lamp in the lobby, anchors the space and provides a soft, welcoming light that gently illuminates the interior.
The photo studio is a more conventional design. However, the entire second floor is dedicated to VIPs, with the primary program being a circular lounge. The walls are covered in a luxurious fabric cut into bold graphic shapes. Custom-built furniture spans the length of the room offering ample seating, while the eye is drawn upwards to an installation of convex traffic mirrors on the ceiling that form the focal point of the room