Neri&Hu rehauls Opposite House’s BEI restaurant into “BEI Space” a multipurpose function room serving the increasing demand for meeting and event spaces in Beijing.
While the typical function room in a hotel tends to be situated in dark enclosures with no natural light, the given site has an existing skylight.
To fully utilize this asset, the design challenge becomes how to bring in as much light as possible to the space and how to subdue any sense of being underground.
The resulting design concept, first, creates a landscape zone that is bathed in light, and second, inserts within it a luminous glass box. The terrazzo landscape starts from the elevated skylight along the existing southern edge of the site.
The extent of the terrazzo landscape is articulated through a series of vertical terrazzo stratum, seemingly carved and sliced with precision to define this enveloping corridor. Guided by the direction of daylight, the terrazzo stratum runs in a uniform direction towards the edge of the underground chamber, overlooking the pool below.
Sitting within this landscape is a jewel-like translucent object that glimmers in the daylight and glows in the evening. The boundaries of the luminous box define the perimeter of the main function space which can be further divided depending on the use.
Taking cues from the grey brick constructions that are ubiquitous in Beijing, the glass enclosure is formed by cast glass bricks arranged in a typical brick bond pattern. Every single brick is painstakingly laid piece by piece and tied in structurally to a vertical wall system. The material allows all-natural light to penetrate deep into the space while only offering obscured views, to maintain levels of privacy.
Custom furniture pieces, such as the moveable food and beverage stations are modelled after traditional street vendor carts. Custom bulb lights are arranged in a grid above for a simple yet elegant illuminations system for maximum flexibility of the space.
Photo credits: Xia Zhi
Designer: NERI&HU DESIGN AND RESEARCH OFFICE