We created an “escheresque” space with arches, steps and mirrors for an art auditorium in the centrer of Beijing.
We were asked by Residential and Cultural Developer Hongkun to design a meeting space that hosts lectures, readings, small exhibitions and and area for trading artworks. Within this cultural district, there was a desire to connect the public to artists as well to create a direct link to art itself. Visitors enter the Art Space through a monolithic facade that connects its appearance to the neighboring Museum. From outside, the facade is mirrored in its center offering identical doors through the solid exterior on the left and right side.
The topic of a centered and mirrored space continues to the interior. Penda inserted a lively box of arches, mirrors and steps that can host lectures or team meetings, and is used as a grand entrance to guide visitors to the lower floor. Here the space accommodates an exhibition and art-depo area. Walking around the box on the left side, guests will reach a art-selling lounge on the first floor, where paintings and art-pieces are traded and a small bar invites costumers to an informal talk. On the right side of the box, a staircase lead employees to an office space on the second floor.
The solid centre-cube offers a warm, wooden contrast to its grey concrete-plastered background. The wooden cube is seen from every space in the building and has round cutouts for visitors to peak into the main lecture space. Within the box, visitors immerse into a landscape of wooden arches and circles that are mirrored on each sides and on the ceiling. Inspired by artworks of Dali and Escher, the reflective landscape creates a skewed and distorted reality and connects visitor to art in a direct and interactive way. Rather than looking at an artwork, people can experience the artwork physically to widen their imagination.
The use of arches is a signature element in many of penda’s projects. The neighboring Hongkun Museum of Fine Arts features Arches and Counter-Arches as one inviting entrance-ribbon to guide people into the Gallery. To connect the Gallery and the Auditorium, penda continued this formal expression of arches and counter-arches into the auditorium.
'Our love for arches as a structural element, but also as a welcoming gesture and symbol of entrance manifested itself in this project. With the reflective walls, the arches transform from a physical to a intangible element and connect with each other to one endless swing. A space that connects reality and imagination.’
Photography Credits to Xia Zhi