Chinese architecture studio Neri&Hu has designed a storefront for Swiss watchmaker and jeweller Piaget in Hong Kong, using handmade ceramic tiles that reference the heritage of both the brand and the site.
The bespoke ceramic tiles, glazed in nuanced shades of deep blue and framed in bronze, have been neatly arranged on the storefront of the new boutique where they form a calm addition to the existing facade.
"The project celebrates the storefront as a jeweled urban monument and repurposes the commercial facade to bring a new monumental presence and civic potency," Neri&Hu explained.
According to the Shanghai-based studio, the facade design, which was added to the existing building, was informed by Piaget's dedication to craftsmanship and innovation as well as the history of the site.
Situated in the historic wharf area of Kowloon on Canton Road, the building is in the same district as the former Canton railway that connected Hong Kong to mainland China, before its decommission in 2007.
As a cultural and trade hub at the time, it has now evolved to become the luxury shopping destination in Hong Kong.
The bronze lining nods to the site's industrial past as a trading hub for commodities passing through the Canton railway and the Kowloon wharf.
The ceramic tiles were made in Jingdezhen, a city in central China known for its tradition of ceramic craftsmanship. By using this material, Neri&Hu intended to highlight the site's significance for cultural exchange as well as Piaget's watchmaking history and crafts.
"We referenced the heritage of the brand by creating bronze details of craftsmanship, and also celebrate the tradition of China as a leader in ceramic production," the studio explained.
Elsewhere in China, Neri&Hu has added an extension to the Qujiang Museum of Fine Arts in Xi’an and inserted a stainless-steel shed into an old lane house for Blue Bottle Coffee's latest cafe in Shanghai.
The photography is by Kevin Mak.
Partners-in-charge: Lyndon Neri, Rossana Hu
Associate-in-charge: Lara de Pedro Ubierna
Design team: Ren Tan, Ji Chao, Weili Zhang, Nicolas Fardet
Interior design: Studioparisien
Design management: Lui Design
Lighting: Voyons Voir Lighting Design
Facade contractor: United Engineering Ltd
Ceramic construction: Jingdezhen seed new materials technology Co. Ltd
Steel construction: Bestin Industry Co. Ltd Shanghai
Millwork construction: Kingwood International Enterprises Ltd
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