The adaptive reuse of defunct warehouses and factories has provided fertile fodder for China’s creative-industry park boom. That was certainly the case with this conversion of a 1960’s garment factory in Shantou into a new 9,100-square-foot headquarters for AD Architecture. In addition to the draw of likeminded neighbors, founder and chief designer Xie Peihe fell for the fifth-floor unit’s 18-foot-high ceiling. “We were attracted by its sense of scale,” he recalls.
Xie defined the lobby and partitioned the design studio via faceted planes of welded, weathering steel corroded to a rusty patina and lit by concealed LEDs. Their shape was inspired by photographs of split icebergs, with the flow of foot traffic around them evoking water currents. Xie kept the concrete flooring as is and painted the ceiling black. The overall effect is of majestic, abstracted mountains in a nighttime landscape.
For additional peekaboo spatial division, silvery steel cables were strung from the floor and desktops to the ceiling. “An open workplace is great,” Xie explains, “but sometimes privacy is needed between staff and clients.” And if employees need even more seclusion, they can head up to the newly built mezzanine level, dedicated to a meditation/leisure room with an adjacent rooftop terrace.