The Bangkok-based architecture firm HAS design and research has reinterpreted the unique Anhui stone forest with fragmented pillars arranged in circular motions in the Inner a furniture museum in Hefei, China.
Called Casa de Zanotta, the 300 square meter museum, is used as an amuseum, gallery and a showroom enriched with light, shade and natural tones, inviting the visitor into a tranquil environment.
A unique stone forest museum space
Designed for the famous Italian furniture brand Zanotta, Casa de Zanotta is the first Zanotta furniture museum in China.
Founded by Aurelio Zanotta in 1954, Zanotta has pursued a unique yet luxurious and elegant design tone, and the brand is brimming with creativity and artistic leadership.
The space itself harmoniously brings art, design and products together, while the fluidity of the space sparks discovery within.
The exterior of the Casa de Zanotta. Image © Schran Image
On the other hand, the exterior of the building looks like a castle, which gives no indication of the function of the space.
The museum is located in the central area of Hefei, Anhui Province, the project site is surrounded by residential and office buildings, parking lots and extensive traffic arteries.
The outwardly extending oval implies a unique interior space
While linear walls in front of the facade form a secret garden on either side, a rounded inner wall protrudes within a rigid geometry. This porosity movement is a harbinger of what awaits the visitor inside.
“If you look back over the past 20 years, Hefei has been trying to become a metropolis like Shanghai or Shenzhen,” he said HAT design and research.
“The high-density concrete city is built on the premise of creating a functionally oriented urban texture, but is gradually running counter to its unique local topography and setting,” the studio added.
The ovals create a skylight and a shadow. Image © Schran Image
The existing project site contains four large pillars, each one meter wide.
Based on the studio’s analysis, these functional columns not only affected circulation, but also obstructed the visual axis of the space.
The room conveys a sense of ritual
To create a group of fragmented pillar pieces arranged in circular positions, the studio draws inspiration from the unique Stone Forest in Anhui.
The architects retained the existing large pillars on the site and “deformed” them to fit the existing pillar size to create a large expanse of Anhui Stone Forest.
Thanks to the deformed columns, visitors have the feeling of walking through the forest. The design creates natural paths, corridors and exhibition areas in a special layout.
Uneven stone wall texture
“During the day, nearly a hundred stone forests combine with sunlight at different angles of inclination, allowing visitors to experience a natural space in a high-density concrete city,” the office added.
“At night, pleasant seasonal winds blow through the gaps in the Stone Forest, allowing visitors to experience the peaceful and ritualistic atmosphere after work.”
The room creates half light and half shadow
The well-designed walking tour also becomes the focal point of the museum, according to the studio.
The uneven joints created by the stone forest pillars in the entrance corridor create impressive light and shadow effects.
The non-directional foyer follows the sloping stone forest and leads visitors to the skylight library and the multifunctional event space.
In the general layout, the studio created three circular volumes that extend outward to not only bring more natural light to the interior, but also to blur the line between indoors and outdoors for the architecture.
“The design implies the integration of an artificial stone forest and natural light to repair the city’s natural texture through architectural space and seasonal landscape,” the office continued.
The room looks like a stone forest
The studio believes that Casa de Zanotta will be a perfect interpretation of a multifunctional space.
The museum challenges the traditional typologies of furniture showrooms, combining functions with micro-libraries, art exhibitions, public events and designer salons.
A skylight creates a timeless space
“The result of the project is similar to Anhui’s unique stone forest,” according to the studio.
Offering an open respite to the high-density concrete jungle, the museum offers visitors a place to cultivate their soul through the transformation of natural elements.
A tube that is spaced into the sky and into the light
Indoor and outdoor spaces surrounded by seasonal gardens
The pillared room creates a spatial feeling of lightness
The view of the gallery from the exhibition
The space that connects man and nature
Meditation in the natural toilet
The gallery and the curved meeting room
A hundred stone forest walls
The skylight in the multifunctional event room
The floating wall and linear seasonal forest
ground floor plan
Facts about the project
Project name: Casa de Zanotta
Architects: HAT design and research
Year of completion: 2022
gross building area (m2/ ft2): 300 m2
Project location: Hefei, China
Program: Museum, gallery, exhibition space
Lead Architects: Jenchieh Hung, Kulthida Songkittipakdee
Design team: Jenchieh Hung, Kulthida Songkittipakdee, Atithan Pongpitak, and Muze Ouyang
Lightning Theme: Jenna Tsailin Liu
Lighting technology: Visual Feast (VF)
landscape consultant: Weili Yang
construction Advisor: Zaiwei song
furniture Advisor: JP concept
Constructor: Hefei Botuo Decoration Technique Co.,Ltd.
Client: Simple casa
Picture above © Schran Image.
All images © Shengliang Su unless otherwise noted.
All drawings © HAS Design and Research.
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