In Nanjing, China, there is a couple that rented a ground-floor two-bedroom apartment next to a small plush garden in the Xinjiekou area of the city. The couple had plans to make this location their entrepreneurial base, and turn this living unit into their own clothing design studio. In order to obtain the ideal spacious working environment, they hired a number of construction workers to knock down the wall separating the main bedroom and the living room, and simultaneously also remove other unnecessary walls and unessential components of the space.
The couple, however, did not anticipate the problems that were caused by the architectural structure and interior pipe shaft of the apartment. The ensuing issues led to a workspace that was not as regular as they originally expected. Due to a number of non-removable supporting shear wall piers and interior pipe shafts, the space the couple was left with took on a very strange and peculiar shape.
The resulting design story was born out of these troubles. In coordinating with the couple, I arranged for the protruding shear wall piers and pipe shaft to be re-cut into a perfectly shaped rectangular space. At the same time, however, a number of small random spaces outside of the rectangle became “waste” spaces.
We explored and discussed the following features of the resulting re-designed space:
a. The largest rectangular area was designed to house workbench and as previously anticipated serve as the major studio and workspace.
b. After removing the sliding doors, the balcony was partially merged with the adjacent “waste” space to become a perfectly capable small meeting room. We made a storage space to raise the overall level of the floor for this section, and through this change the scenery of the outside garden could be seen easily when people sit down appreciated from the vantage point of the newly created meeting room.
c. The “waste” space near the bay window was re-designed into a rest area. After completing a simple re-make of the window sill and its surroundings, this area now became a space where people can sit down, take a break, and enjoy the outside scenery.
d. The pipe shaft in the “bottom corner” of the space was re-finished into a fully functional clothing display area.
e. The position of the bathroom was not changed, but it was compressed into an “L-shaped” position. Inside we only did the basic interior decoration.
f. The remaining random spaces in the area outside of the balcony and bay window were transformed into a place in which mannequins can be kept and the air conditioning unit installed.
We selected a set of wood bookshelves to serve as a room divider in the main workspace, which in turn also provided a manner to store books, magazines, and other items. In addition, the view from the balcony and the display mannequins can enrich each other, while the fresh air from outdoor and the cool breeze from the air conditioner can circulate in the whole room.
▼改造前的照片 photos before renovation
项目面积： 69.2 m2
设计： 曹璞 www.archicao.com/
摄影： 张哲明 Zhangzheming.viewbook.com/
Location: Xinjiekou, Nanjing, China
Area: 69.2 m2
Year of completion: June, 2014
Designed by: CaoPu www.archicao.com/
Photographed by: Zhang Zheming Zhangzheming.viewbook.com/
Conversation between gooood and CaoPu
You are a member of QUEEN SEA BIG SHARK (a band), owns your own store and also a designer. This is very special for taking three careers at the same time. Do you mind share with us? And how do you distribute your time and energy?
其实，Trash & Diamond零售店是我妻子经营的.她在几年前就有了要经营二手循环商店的想法，我只是在设计上契合了她的理念。乐队和设计这两项都坚持下来，这对于我已经够奇迹的了，因为两个工作都需要占据不小的精力。曾经在王晖老师那里几年的助理经历对我影响最大。他给了我很大的自由空间，使我可以不用整天加班晚上可以做音乐，可以巡演一走请两个月假还可以继续工作，同时还教了我很多节省时间和精力的有效的工作方法。现在我可以做到较快地在音乐和设计两项间切换。每天散步的时候也可以琢磨旋律或方案，手机中录音笔或小黑板这类app都是不错的速记工具。
Actually, Trash & Diamond secondhand store owns by my wife. She had the idea of opening a recycled fashion shop for quite some years. I helped her with the store design concept. I insisted working on Rock Band and architecture at the same time, this has been a miracle to me, because both of the job needs a lot of effort and time. I use to work for architect Wang Hui as an assistant, which was a big influence to my work. He gave me a lot of freedom to work on my music career during that time, not so much overtime work, so that I can focus on music in the evening time. Sometimes I go on tour for two months, continued as an assistant when I come back. In addition, he taught me the methodology on how to save effort and time to work more efficiently. Now I can easily switch between music and design. When walking on street, I can think of a rhythm or a design project, and then make notes with my smartphone, record it or draw it down with a drawboard app.
What enlightenments do you get from the complex careers?
The two things in common are: at the beginning it is all about passion and impulsion, but when these all burned out, left only rational and persistence. The creative process gradually became the management process, when things accumulate in a certain degree, the return for persistence is the sparkle of inspirations.
How do you think of design?
Design is a daily trivial work, there is essential difference to Creativity and Art. Sometimes design is not readable or definable, but it is definitely able to experience by people.
Can you recommend a book you recently read and music you like?
For book I will recommend the ‘Ghost Drifting’ a graphic novel done by Bini, who is also a friend of mine.
音乐我推荐John Zorn 的 《Naked city》，这是为数不多的让我可以从中“听”出城市的音乐，他的工作方法基于纽约街区概念，指挥其他音乐家自由进退场选择性地即兴演奏，呈现出无比丰富和突然的结果。这点很像城市在一定规划下自由生长的过程。
Music, I will recommend ‘naked city’ by John Zorn, very few music let me ‘hear’ the city. His way of working on New York City Street, he directs the other musicians to play in and out freely and spontaneously, the performance result is rich and unexpected. This is very similar to a city growing freely under a certain planning structure.