M2 Art Centre: An Inverted Valley towards Inner Journeys by SpActrum
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All images & Videos by SFAP
SpActrum have once again demonstrated their unique prowess in design thinking by aesthetically transforming M2 Art Center in Hangzhou, China. The center is a multifunctional art space that originated from a wedding dress showroom. The initial function setting of the space triggered a reflection on women and their choices in marriage and relationships.
Hence marriage is no longer a default option for everyone in contemporary society but rather a rational choice for individuals to grasp their own lives, the design team at SpActrum led by the Chief Designer Yan Pan, and the owner of M2 embarked on an unusual exploration together to answer a few emotional questions like; can a contemporary commercial exhibition space be expanded into a mind-body journey with some psychic touch, providing an opportunity for introspection and contemplation of life before the wedding moment? Can a space imbued with profound meaning serve as a versatile venue in the city, hosting various artistic and design activities?
At the end of the initial site exploration, Yan Pan the Chief Designer of SpActrum instantly felt a strong sense of sacred calling, leading to the understanding of the strong connection with the site. This made it clear that the design of M2 should be based on respect for the power of the place, seeking to express their spatial potentials.
AESTHETIC OF TRANSFORMING CHALLENGES
Following SpActrum’s design philosophy, contemporary everyday expressions are characterized by discreteness, fragmentation, and conflicts. The firm believes that rather than avoiding these conflicts, the aesthetic of fragmentation and conflicts are the defining characteristics of our time. In non-pure cultural spaces, designers must confront the important challenge of how to appropriately adapt to the functional characteristics of the space while continuing to explore the architecture. Through its creative transformations, and multi-faceted design interventions, SpActrum solved the multiple conflicts inherent in the project.
The first challenge faced by M2 was how to transform the original spatial characteristics into new functional requirements. SpActrum chooses to maximize the potential qualities of the original site in order to create a comprehensive artistic space that could accommodate photography, future fashion exhibits, artistic events, and art exhibitions. This approach establishes a symbiotic relationship between the history of the site and the present.
Spatial narrative and the tension between the designer’s understandings of contemporary social conditions was the second challenge, and one of the important functions of the new space was to showcase wedding dresses, but in modern society, marriage is no longer a universal experience, but rather a personal choice. SpActrum hopes that the spatial experience at M2 would not be a preconceived indulgence, but rather a journey that would inspire women’s self-awareness and self-care.
The interpretation of the architectural language within a complex system of values and functions was the third challenge. Should the design strive for a pure geometric language throughout, or should it be informed by a higher-level logic and concept that integrates multiple geometric languages, while also responding and adapting to the original site? While geometric purity may at times conceal certain facts, SpActrum confronted the challenges between various systems without avoidance or evasion, in order to create a more comprehensive and adaptive design solution.
TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS
There are two aspects of design techniques explored in M2 Art Centre project: 1) how to use spatial geometry to convey emotions and create feelings, 2) how to use materials and techniques to realize the design.
SpActrum explores the potentials of space and establishes four different geometric languages: flat geometry, regular surfaces, free-form surfaces, and symmetrical free-form surfaces for the first aspect. These correspond to the cocoon (the cradle when people leave their homes), classical temples (human wisdom and rationality), nature (essentially the humanization of nature, including an understanding of chaos), and divinity (absolute grandeur), respectively. The firm understands the intentions that come with form, allowing rich associations and references to be established in the space, creating a hierarchical relationship that extends the meaning of the space beyond the built space.
The GRG and GRP shaping techniques was imbibed for the possibilities of all curved surfaces, and the use of white marble echoes classical architecture, while the extensive use of light films brings an endless sense of space on the second aspect. SpActrum establishes a connection between geometry and emotion through geometric manipulation, which originates from our deep collective memory as humans and goes beyond the original narrative, becoming our intuitive response to the space.
M2 Art Center is a place with unique spiritual characteristics and rich symbolic meanings. Through metaphorical spatial narrative and the use of different categories of geometric forms under the control of superb geometric mastery, the space is endowed with ambiguous and multiple meanings, with many metaphors and references hidden in the pure geometric forms. The result is a space that offers a concentrated and profound spiritual experience, and provides Hangzhou a platform for various new ideas, aesthetics, and arts to be communicated and promoted.
Project Name: M2 Art Centre
Project Address: Xingyao Centre, Binjiang District, Hangzhou, China
Area: 712 sqm
Completion Date: January 2023
Interior Design: SpActrum
Design Director: Yan Pan
Design Team Members: Hao Chen, Zhen Li, Yimeng Tang, Yijie Zhang, Xiao Wan, Jinyu Wan, Yiran Pan
Lighting Design: Xiaohao Guan
Special Curved Surface Construction: EGrow
Overall Contractor: Beijing Jinghui Decoration Engineering Co., Ltd.
Customized Space Music: Beijing Beibai Music Culture Co., Ltd.
Photography & Videography: SFAP
Drawings & Illustrations Copyright: SpActrum
Edited by MJ Buildace Magazine
Buildace Magazine received this project from our project submission feature. We encourage our readers to send in their projects for publication.