The industrial revolution in the 1760s calls to mind machinery, steam engines and plant facilities with oil tanks and steel pipes. But in the 21st century, the Information Age ushers in the advent and popularity of computers.
China-based X+Living designed Powerlong Ideas Lab, located in Shanghai, China, to be a place where more information for learning is created and spread, bringing together elements from these two eras to create a multifunctional space.
X+Living demolished the floor slabs in the original 2-storey space, converting it into a single-storey space reaching approximately 9-metre high. The firm then restored the ground space with a minimalist approach, and designed devices that offer a new retail experience in “reaction tanks”.
Consumers will engage in new consumption experiences brought on by different devices in different tanks. The firm also reconstructed the floor slab in a 4-5 metre high space. Interwoven with the “reaction tanks”, X+Living restored them to serve as shared work and transportation platforms for R&D staff on the second floor.
Staff at X+Living will be working on the elevated platforms while consumers below enjoy commercial experiences delivered through new technology and information. Interactions in the elevated space conjure up feelings of coexistence that render the space more interesting. “Energy-delivering pipes” are used to hide wires and air conditioning cables, simplifying the exposed industrial designs in the space in a decorative way. Additionally, utility pipelines previously exposed in the space are perfectly hidden in the post-built “energy-delivering pipes”. In parts of the space, the tubes located on the ground level are integrated into surroundings that include a series of tubular-shaped tables and chairs shaped to mimic tubes, providing layering to the overall space to create a different sense of composition.
The end goal is to express revolutionary feelings in the Information Age through this conceptual design spearheaded by chief designer Li Xiang. Clean and cool concrete is applied to depict the concise and efficient character of the space. And through vertical generatrix and sight lines, the firm hopes to create a multifunctional office/commercial model where R&D staff can share the space with consumers who enjoy the same space in artistic ways.