Known as “Ceramic Capital in South China”, Foshan boasts a culture of ceramics for thousands of years. VIRG casa, is a brand that sells upscale Italian tiles and also provides bespoke Italian-style full-house furnishing solutions with its own supply chain.
The brand entrusted Topway Design to create its headquarters situated in Foshan. From architecture to landscape and interior space, Topway Design offered all-round design solutions. Based on the concept of “Home of the Future”, the design team created a unique HQ image for the world-class brand, which blends humanism with technology perfectly.
Freely connected indoor and outdoor interfaces
Renovated from an old building, the project consists of four storeys, with a total area of 4,000 sqm. Clad in dark grey finishes, the facades present an austere appearance, with rectangular openings of different sizes forming a sense of rhythm. Besides, two brass grid structures are inserted into the facades at a 45 degree angle, enhancing the artistic beauty of exteriors. The external walls feature diverse composition, which helps to create an iconic image for the building and blend it into the surroundings.
The project serves for multiple purposes, which integrates exhibition space, workplace and corporate culture display space, etc. 1F and 2F are respectively used for displaying imported products and VIRG casa’s own-label products, while 3F and 4F function as working and reception spaces. The interior space follows the open architectural design, with functional areas freely arranged alongside axes, which extends the line of sight.
In the lobby, the cement tile flooring and the ceiling clad in cement paint embody the aesthetics of “return to original simplicity”. A rotatable LED wall subtly functions as the partition for the coffee bar. There is a sunken area in the coffee bar, which is surrounded by the pool and connected with the outdoor garden. People sitting at the sunken area can see the water surface horizontally. With an open view to the fascinating outdoor landscape, this tranquil area is appealing to visitors.
Immersive interactive scenes
The main reception desk is coved with white faux-marble tiles, which forms a contrast of solidness and lightness with linear pendant lighting fixtures above. The double-height dark ceramic backdrop wall is overlaid with LED screens and stainless steel. Reflected by the specular ceiling, it presents the visual effect of a four-storey void. Dynamic images on the screens add bright colors to the space dominated by black, white and grey.
Such dynamic visual impressions are extended to the art installation area. Bespoke inverse-cone-shaped installations made of fiberglass reinforced plastic are hung in the space, which together create an illusion of being between reality and the futuristic wonderland created in Hayao Miyazaki’s animation “Castle in the Sky” via the reflection of specular ceiling and flooring as well as grey mirrors on walls. In addition, 12 pillars constitute a matrix of 3 rows and 4 columns, which appears to be a “Magical City”. The LED screens help to present various immersive scenes including deep sea, starry sky and forest, etc., provide visitors with multiple-sensory experiences, and make “those within the City want to go out, while others outside want to come in”.
Through fusion of art and technology as well as incorporation of most frequently used materials into interpretation of scenes, the design injects vitality into products and can evoke visitors’ imagination with an open spatial form. The areas that display imported products from Italian brands including Ferrari are characterized by coordinated combination of materials, hues and furnishings, which reproduce the pioneering display art at Milan Furniture Fair.
Superb craftsmanship showcasing good taste
Stepping up along the stairs, the canyon-like stainless steel installation on 2F leaps into eyes, which is themed on “Elapsing of Time”. The details and grain were refined manually, which coincides with VIRG casa’s pursuit of superb craftsmanship. Three show flats are set around the void area, where the brand’s customized products are displayed based on the scale of human body. Various upscale and tasteful scenes are created in the show flats, providing upscale experience and enabling harmonious interaction between people and objects.
In the display area on 2F, tile products are “protagonists”. The area features orderly arranged geometric blocks, either dense or sparse. The neat interior structures contribute to highlighting the simplistic aesthetic of products. Besides, soft and restrained lighting enriches interior ambience.
Visual identity of the brand is presented by the help of several square blocks, conveying its pursuit of a simplistic lifestyle. Moreover, a hole is carved out of a block, which showcases a rational yet romantic aesthetic.
The working space is awash with people-oriented expressions, aiming to let the employees establish a sense of identity and belonging in the space and the company. The glass-enclosed central courtyard is a design highlight. It has a renovated skylight that doubles as a shallow pool. Sunlight penetrates the water surface and falls into the courtyard, thereby creating the interplay of light and shadows and allowing interaction between human and nature.
Designed by FOSHAN TOPWAY DESIGN
Chief Designer: Xiaoshui Li, Zhike Wang
Photography by OUYANG Yun