Xi’an, the capital of thirteen dynasties in ancient China, while Chang’an (today’s Xian), the capital of the Tang Dynasty, represents the quintessence of Chinese traditional city planning and architecture. Though an interior design, this project gives a breathtaking twist to the restaurant, bar and events space at the top floor of the highest building (Greenland Center) in Xi’an, by overlooking the whole city and Lishan Mountains far away. Presenting from the widest possible view the transformation of the city over the dynasties, the planning of space and the heritage of culture, as well as giving the space a contemporary feel for new types of business are both challenges, propositions and opportunities for our design. The project is thus named “The Top of Cloud”.
▼餐厅航拍实景，aerial view ©如你所见
We use the revolving plane of the whole floor as an open public space. A series of abstract “installations” related to the traditional planning of space are incorporated into the circular spatial experience sequence.
▼意向图，design concept ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室
这其中涵盖了：1. 回应陕西文脉的入口处的皮影灯笼；2.回应云顶之名的开放就餐区的云层光斑吊顶；3. 作为长安城墙意向的超长吧台；4. 回应中国传统城市街道网格的幕帘吊顶；5. 作为汉唐高台宫殿基座意向的酒吧高位卡座区域；6.作为传统屏风意向的开放就餐区分隔；7. 回应宫灯意向的超大包间圆桌；这些空间体量跟随到访者的使用流线随回型的平面依次展开，试图通过实体空间原型转译而非平面符号化的方式去呈现一幅具有当代西安气象与风貌的连续空间长卷。
▼入口区域细部，entrance area detailed view ©如你所见
This includes: 1. shadow puppets lanterns at the entrance in response to Shaanxi culture; 2. Bright ceiling at the open dining area in response to the name The Top of the Cloud; 3. Super-long bar corresponding to city wall of Chang’an City; 4. Curtain ceiling in response to traditional urban street grid in China; 5. high-seat setting at the bar intended as the pedestal of palaces in the Han and Tang dynasties; 6. Partitions of open dining area intended as the traditional screens; 7. King-sized round table in response to the palace lanterns. These spatial objects greet and guide visitors on their way to wine and dine at the restaurant, in an attempt to present a continuous spatial scroll with contemporary Xi’an atmosphere and style through the translation of the physical space rather than flat symbols.
▼元素分析图，conceptual diagram ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室
Li Bai, the greatest Chinese poet a millennium ago, wrote a poem: “I raise my cup to invite the moon who blends her light with my shadow and we’re three friends.” Nowadays, contemporary people pass through the red and green Han and Tang tunnel at the entrance; trying to seek the floating lights that mirror the shadow of the cup, overlooking the ancient capital of the thirteen dynasties, or “dance with my own shadow” as if in the shadow puppets. “The maid as if real dancing under the moonlight in her concubine garment.” The installation at the entrance, in the shape of inverted cone, provides an inviting space through the superimposition of traditional color and setting. Visitors are separately ushered to open dining area, bar, and the viewing area. This corner becomes the best “viewing platform” in the city.
▼入口走廊，entry way ©如你所见
▼从入口处望向回应陕西文脉的皮影灯笼装置， shadow puppets lanterns at the entrance in response to Shaanxi culture ©如你所见
▼装置近景， lantern installation ©如你所见
▼吧台区立面图，bar elevation ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室
In the Tang Dynasty, people liked to go to high places to express their emotions. The palaces in Han and Tang dynasties had high pedestals, presenting the shape of vertical mountains. The booths in the bar are stacked and elevated, passing through the 40-meter-long No. 1 bar in Asia to allow visitors to have a bird’s eye view of the city. This horizontal interface spreading over more than 40 meters envelops the night sky with the entire Xi’an, so that visitors can imagine looking at the vast city walls and the magnificent Lishan Mountain and Weihe River, as if standing at Hanyuan Hall in the Daming Palace, even standing in this small area.
▼超长吧台呼应了长安城墙的意向，Super-long bar corresponding to city wall of Chang’an City ©如你所见
▼吧台座位区，seating area along the bar ©如你所见
大明宫若干殿宇，以切片灯箱装置的形式，漂浮于卡座区域之上 – 透过层叠的透射与光影，将壮丽凝固，将岁月凝固，将时光穿梭。而这顶上纵横交错的金属幕帘所建构的城市网格，层层叠叠；如这古城映射的周礼考工记，如“九经九纬，经涂九轨”般绵延千年，自卡座区延至端头整合酒吧及包间功能的复合型开放活动区。挑高的空间，延伸的吧台，独立的长桌，完整的沙发休息区，与入口的角部对应，这里成为这个城市最重要的“Party Room”。
Daming Palace’s halls float above the booth area in the form of sliced light boxes. The staggered transmission, light and shadow solidify what is magnificent and the time. The urban grid constructed by crisscrossing metal curtains above is superimposed; like this ancient city reflects the Records of Artisans in Rites of Zhou “nine vertical and horizontal roads allowing nine carriages to pass abreast” over a thousand years, the area from the booths to the end is an open space for events that integrates bar and booth functions. The space with a high ceiling, the extended bar, independent long table, and complete sofa area correspond to the corners of the entrance, making it the most important “Party Room” in the city.
▼切片灯箱装置漂浮于卡座区域之上，呼应大明宫殿宇的形态，Daming Palace’s halls float above the booth area in the form of sliced light boxes ©如你所见
▼纵横交错的金属幕帘回应中国传统城市街道网格，the urban grid constructed by crisscrossing metal curtains above is superimposed ©如你所见
“A floating cloud is what you want to be like, the setting sun how your old friend feels”. At dusk, the skylight shines from the clouds, as if the flowing light on top of the open dining area scattering over the “islands” horizontally. In the Tang Dynasty, people stepped to high places for a sweeping view, and worn cornel on their bodies. Nowadays, people sit down, looking heavenwards and over the city, with drinks in hand. In such a scenario, we no longer talk about the past or present, we only see “top of the cloud” unfolded by the curtain wall horizontally and the ethereal Oriental image and philosophy.
▼开放就餐区，open dining area ©如你所见
▼天光从“云层”间析出， the skylight shines from the “clouds” ©如你所见
▼厨房区域，kitchen area ©如你所见
The plain corridor zigzags to create a quiet place with trees and flowers; together with contemporary art interspersed in between forms a series of opposite scenery and borrowed views; at the same time, nine independent booths of different sizes are connected. The largest booth has a 20-person capacity, containing a sofa area for conference function and a dining table set; the axial pattern extends outwards from the city’s skyline, and the large chandeliers formed from circles of curtains look like palace lanterns, mandala, or cloud top outside the window. This is a time for gathering and farewell, a time for a “Feast”. Parallel to the other two corners, this corner also becomes the most important “Private Room” in the city.
▼素色的长廊，the plain corridor ©如你所见
▼走廊墙面装饰细部，decoration detail of the corridor wall ©如你所见
▼回应宫灯意向的超大包间圆桌，King-sized round table in response to the palace lanterns ©如你所见
Contemporary Xi’an is at the most important historical juncture in a millennium. From being the first ancient capital to the most popular city among netizens, history and contemporary collide and integrate at a fast clip. In the Han and Tang dynasties, the East and the West made successful dialogue here, and this dialogue will continue in the contemporary context. As the commanding height of this city, the project represents traditional symbols, a fusion of experience “at the top of the cloud” rather than a stacking space for traditional symbols. It nurtures the coexistence of the tradition and the contemporary, and carries the broad-mindedness, gusto and vitality of young Xi’an.
▼城市的制高点，the commanding height of this city ©如你所见
▼交通流线示意，circulation diagram ©RSAA/庄子玉工作室
Location: Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province
Project type: Interior design
Area: 1,536 square meters
Design date: 2018
Owner: Shaanxi Cloud 57 Food & Beverage Management Corporation
Interior design team: RSAA/ Büro Ziyu Zhuang
Principal Designers: Ziyu Zhuang, Na Li
Design Team: Xin Zhao, Zhenrong Guo, Milos Bojinovic, Boyang Xia, Kunyu Zhu
Partner of interior construction drawings: DAMU Design Corp.
Team members: Hai Lin, Mengwei Zhang, Lijing Wang, Weihua Guan
Home furnishing consultant: Jiatong Xu
Lighting consultant: Shanghai Gradient Lighting Design Co., Ltd.
Art consultant: Jiatong Xu
Construction and coordination team: Shaanxi Duowei Decoration Co., Ltd.
Photography: Ting Wang