The inspiration for the project comes from both the location being close to the bay and from the needs of the program, a surreal space for design exhibitions. The Oct design museum focuses mainly on fashion shows, product design, and conceptual automotive shows.
The goal was to create a space that is surreal to the subject matter but also transcendental in surrounding and feeling. The design of the interior relies on a continuous white curving surface that casts no shadows and has no depth. The result is a surreal borderless space that seems to go on into the infinite, similar to the feeling of a James Turrell installation. The effect is like being in a cloud or dense fog. The building becomes a blank surreal background, with only small triangular windows scattered randomly, as if they were birds in flight. Typically an automobile looks very heavy but in this limitless space it becomes weightless, letting its curves, shadows, and intense colors become the focal point of the show. The first floor of the building holds the entry lobby and café, while the second and third is mainly exhibition space. Storage space is spread out evenly through the floors, with movable walls allow the exhibition spaces to be very flexible in scale and function.
The exterior form of the building is a direct reflection of the continuous curving space inside. The smooth organic form has a similar surreal yet transcendental effect when seen outside in its urban setting. Set into its landscape, the building’s form seems to float above the ground, as if it was not from this planet. Being 300 meters from the ocean, we took inspiration in the smooth stones found along the beach. It is like a purely smooth stone cast into an overly saturated urban setting.
Architect: Studio Zhu-Pei
Architect/principal: Zhu Pei
Design team: Xiaoming Zeng（lead designer）, Fan He, Jun Ke, Chongxia Jiao,
Xiao Yin, Si Li
Structure consultant: Xueyi Fu