Wanmu Shazi Transforms Abandoned Cement Factory Into A Meditative Teahouse In Xiamen
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Wanmu Shazi, who started his career in wooden furniture sector, has converted an abandoned cement factory into a new meditative teahouse in Nanshan Village, Fengnan Farm, Xinmin Town, Xiamen, China.
Called Buduo Teahouse, the 300-square-metre space is redesigned within six giant cement cylinders, including three living rooms, a multi-function room, a courtyard and a tearoom.
Shazi is a woodwork enthusiast, and has been actively engaging in various design fields, including but not limited to furniture, space, architecture, sculpture, and garment.
The interiors feature pastel-toned color palette and smooth transitions that stimulate sensory experiences and evoke emotions like calmness and warmness.
Several years ago, while searching for a new site for his woodwork workshop named “Wanmu Gongfang”, an abandoned cement factory in Fengnan, Xiamen caught the eye of Wanmu Shazi. Through renovating the factory, Wanmu Shazi started his exploration in spatial design.
The abandoned cement factory is situated at the foot of a hill, surrounded by verdant hills in the distance. With farmland nearby, one can hear roosters crow and dogs bark on the site.
Refraining from massive demolition and reconstruction, Wanmu Shazi decided to retain most of the factory’s original structures during renovation.
Several giant “cement cylinders” left behind in the old factory, with their towering space, gave Wanmu Shazi inspiration for the project.
In design process, Shazi took into account the core functional needs of his woodwork workshop, while he was also expecting to attract more like-minded creatives through a variety of unique spaces.
Giving new life to “cement cylinders”
Though located in the suburb with inconvenient transportation, the renovated old factory has attracted a great many visitors and unexpectedly becomes a hot destination that gains much attention on social media.
Upon the completion of the factory’s basic renovations, Wanmu Shazi worked with other designers and artists to transform the interior space of several “concrete cylinders” on the site.
15m-high teahouse repurposed from a cement cylinder. Image © Zhang Mumu
Shazi has successively converted the interiors of the cylinders into 15m-tall "Meditation Teahouse", including artist studio, woodwork exhibition hall, and the designer’s home.
These distinctive spaces attract a growing number of visitors. Meanwhile, after repeated renovation interventions in the former cement factory, the designer’s understanding of space design has become increasingly clear.
Woodwork exhibition hall. Image © Xiao Ya
"Space is sometimes just like people. With a good figure, complexion and temperament, there is no need for much decoration," Wanmu Shazi explained.
When he took on the renovation of the remaining six “cement cylinders” in the factory three years ago, Wanmu Shazi had a clear idea in mind. Perhaps because of such a conviction, he named this renovated space “Buduo” (means “not much” in Chinese). There is not much decoration, only pure spatial expressions and intimate material finishes.
A narrow wooden bridge leads to “Buduo”, acting as a prelude that opens the journey. Passing through the door formed by rusted steel and lightweight glass, the distinct ambience in the interior quickly calms down visitors.
The foyer is accented by a green tree, which blurs the boundary between interior and outside along with moss and soil underneath and daylight brought in by the skylight.
Like a courtyard, the foyer connects and leads to other five round spaces through door openings. Each space is embellished with indoor landscapes, and meanwhile provides enframed view of beautiful outdoor mountain scenery through the subtly carved-out window openings, guiding visitors to step in and explore.
Window openings of varied sizes not only introduce outside landscape, but also create a unique light environment in the interior.
The door openings of the six round spaces echo each other, producing a sense of layering and unique rhythms in the space. Tactile wooden floor, expansive thick walls, plain textured coatings, vents hidden near skirtings and unadorned ceiling unify the spatial ambience, and accentuates the pure sense of cohesion of the circular space.
Creating physical and scale-friendly design
The designer gives much importance to user's physical comfort as the key criterion for a good space.
"As renovating the space, I repeatedly walked in the space, to find the most comfortable scale and the most appropriate positions for window openings. Stepping into this place, you’ll feel being ‘wrapped’ by the space and be healed both physically and mentally," Wanmu Shazi explained.
Though the spatial scale is not large, this project took more than two years. The designer continuously adjusted and refined the design, and eventually created a unique spatial ambience that can be perceived upon entering it.
Wanmu Shazi describes the spatial ambience as “Qi”. He believes that quality design needs to focus on “Qi” rather than form, as the spatial atmosphere can not only stimulate sensory experience and but also evoke emotions.
In this space, people cannot help slowing down the pace, to feel its inclusive “Qi”. The soft sofa placed at the corner invites visitors to sit down and relax.
The space seems to have the magic of relaxing both the body and mind, encouraging visitors to enjoy the outdoor scenery, dance or interact. Humor and serenity are fused in the space, which makes time seem to stop here.
The space offers diverse possibilities
Operation of space is essential. After the successful transformation of the old cement factory, it has attracted numerous visitors such as creators and young artists.
The renovated and repurposed factory offers enough manufacturing, exhibition and office spaces for the designer’s woodwork workshop Wanmu Gongfang. More importantly, various distinctive spaces such as “Buduo” are created for receiving creative professional across the world, and offering venues for exhibitions and exchanges. Furthermore, accommodation and woodwork creation spaces are provided to excellent artists.
The renewed spaces help form a complete chain from Research and Development (R&D) to execution and mass production for Wanmu Gongfang.
"Young creatives and craftsmen need a better platform for creation," Shazi added.
With a mindset of having fun and exploring diverse roles, Wanmu Shazi has established a chain for creativity incubation.
The various unique spaces he created in the former old factory have attracted the public to know about cultural and creative industry and products, and meanwhile offers a platform for supporting art creation and growth of young creatives.
Video by Sunshine PR
Project name: Buduo Teahouse
Client: Wanmu Shazi
Location: Nanshan Village, Fengnan Farm, Xinmin Town, Xiamen, China
Area: 300 sqm
Chief designer: Wanmu Shazi
Lighting design: Wanmu Shazi
Main materials: furniture (Wanmu Gongfang), self-made interior coating, wooden flooring (Wanmu Gongfang)
All images © 1988 Photography Studio / A Qi (except as noted).
All drawings © Wanmu Shazi.
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