How a multi-use cultural venue in Shenzhen contemporizes traditional Chinese design

Shenzhen – Not just a bar, theatre or activity space alone, mixed-use facility Morph in Shenzhen integrates all three. Morph’s makers saw an opportunity to create a new kind of social environment to suit the rapidly evolving cityscape – nearby, there’s a sprawling business circle and urban park. Local studio Various Associates handled the development of the vibrant umbrella space, which pays homage to – and gives a modern twist to – aspects of age-old Chinese design.

Many projects completed recently in China reflect a meeting of classic and contemporary design cues. ‘We wanted to utilize some traditional and local materials to collide with the modern interior structural forms,’ explains a spokesperson for the studio, ‘and to fuse old Chinese elements with modern international design and aesthetics in an innovative manner.’

Colours best express this: highly saturated red, blue, black, yellow and gold hues – consistent with the symbolic colours of the five natural elements, wuxing – create visual highlights by way of vivid installations, surfaces and furnishings. A diversified material palette imparts a certain cinematic ambience: walls and ceilings are mostly clad in sand-coloured Italian travertine, with the exception of matte black surfaces featuring the same precious traditional tiling seen on palace floors in the Forbidden City. Additionally, the high-chroma blue material that wraps curved entranceways was hand-dyed by experienced craftsmen. ‘Through this project, Various Associates explored and worked out a solution to tackle the oblivion and disappearance of traditional Chinese materials.’

Able to accommodate 100 people, the 1,000-sq-m venue facilitates cultural interactions between visitors. Functional areas such as a bar, lounge, VIP room and cocktail kitchen are positioned around a 7-m-tall activity space. This set-up can be rearranged to suit whichever event is taking place.


Liked this article?
We've got more for you

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly updates. Or view the archive.

Latest Products