Designed by 123 Architects, White Cave is a retail and gallery space on the first floor of a building in central Beijing surrounded by skyscrapers. The shop sells various designer pieces such as furniture and paintings, and it was designed to be flexible in order to accommodate its unique wares while remaining functional.
There is plenty of space for displaying products in a unique way, and a VIP room provides notable customers with a futuristic space where they can shop in privacy. The existing all-glass façade has been fine-tuned with a large 1.5-meter-deep display space that draws passers-by in.
In contrast to the surrounding mega-scale urban space of vast roads and skyscrapers, the design provides an unexpected escape that provides an inviting and intimate experience.
The goal has been to design a space that encourages you to be creative and imagine alternate possibilities – not just a simple box, but a place where space and body interact with each other in curiosity, just as the first recordings of art began within a cave.
A display area runs the length of the façade. It is distinguished by a large cavernous opening to the right of the entrance, which draws one’s attention toward the back of the store, providing a glimpse into the interior. The exterior wall to the left of the entrance is outfitted with instant dimming glass to provide privacy when needed.
The interior space is a blank canvas of white walls and concrete floors, with an animated ceiling. The ceiling’s surface swells like waves to secure as much of the spatial height as possible, creating high and low areas that organically and intuitively conceal piping, such as existing ducts. Lighting is placed at the highest points of the ceiling to create the illusion of lightwells as if natural light were pouring into the “cave.”
Behind the display space along the façade is the VIP room. It becomes frosted through the use of instant dimming glass in conjunction with the exterior glazing, providing a private room for VIP customers. When privacy is not required, it can be used as a large display space visible from the outside. It is furnished with silver tufted sofas, illuminated glass floors, and a tented ceiling, resulting in an interior that is both classical and futuristic.
Project: White Cave
Architects: 123 architects
Area: 236 m²
Manufacturers: Corian, DAGU, Kvadrat, Nippon Paint
Lead Architect: Kazushi Miyamoto
Project Architect: Xiyangzi Cao
Lighting Consultant: Shunchao Bao
Photographs: Weiqi Jin, Kazushi Miyamoto