Fantasy Babble Factory / Supercloud Studio

Fantasy Babble Factory / Supercloud Studio

Hidden entrance to BaiQi Cafe.  Interactive floor installation.  Image © Zhi XiaAbove the wooden structure at the top is the ETFE membrane structure, and the Gleditsia island is surrounded by ample natural light.  Image © Zhi XiaCrossed petals.  Image © Zhi XiaSpace below the BaiQi Cafe.  Image © Zhi Xia+ 56

Sculpture of a little girl with soap bubbles.  Image © Zhi Xia
Sculpture of a little girl with soap bubbles. Image © Zhi Xia

Text description provided by the architects. The Shanghai Yangpu Riverside development is 5.5 kilometers long from Qinhuangdao Road to Liping Road in the west of Yangpu District. It is one of the largest and best preserved industrial heritages in the world. Founded in 1923, Shanghai Soap Factory is located on Yangshupu Road near the Huangpu River. This renovation project is located on the production auxiliary area of ​​the former soap factory, facing south of the Huangpu River, with an adjacent landscape and a water dock. The west side of the project site was originally the production area and the auxiliary area. The design takes the original wall foundation as a clue and constructs a low red brick wall to restore the historic space pattern and form a semi-open courtyard. At the same time, it is connected by a floating road made of steel planks to realize the changing landscapes while you walk around the project site. The last part includes the hydrolysis building and the sewage treatment pool. According to previous town planning, the original pools of the Shanghai soap factory have been listed for demolition, thanks to # Atelier Z+ #, the architect in charge has done his best to preserve the original structures and has installed a new landscaped roof that redefines the way these pools are reused. After the renovation, the original industrial relics received a new look that combines retro and sci-fi, unique and recognizable.

Space below the BaiQi Cafe.  Image © Zhi Xia
Space below the BaiQi Cafe. Image © Zhi Xia
Space below the BaiQi Cafe.  Image © Zhi Xia
Space below the BaiQi Cafe. Image © Zhi Xia

The #Supercloud Studio# interior design team focused on “soap” as the main design theme, presented a soap-making narrative as the journey visitors will experience, and combined new media forms to the interior space to present a theme song of soap making, traversing the history and present of the soap factory and making this project a popular public space along the Yangpu River. The renovated interior space is named “Soap. Dream. Space”, a collaborative work that results from the planning, architecture, landscape, interior, lighting and design of the exhibition. The soap-making process is transformed into physical spaces with public arts, exhibits, as well as coffee, dining in the former soap-making space, and even production participation in a lab.

Turn the soap making process into a spatial experience. The raw materials were collected from nature, after going through a series of procedures, became a bar of soap, and returned to nature after use. We try to express this flow in a spatial form. We have chosen the significant processes of the soap-making process, and named the interior spaces after them: inject – mix – extract – present – ​​invert – lather. It stimulates the curiosity of visitors who wander through the interior spaces connected by five steel pipes of 2.4 meters in diameter and of different lengths, and each space has its own distinct theme. Additionally, the circular tubes are also key visual elements, with some of them integrated with interactive lighting fixtures that transform them into key transition spaces between scenes.

Exploded diagram with spatial narratives
Exploded diagram with spatial narratives
State of design of the building after renovation.  Image © Xunjun Xu
State of design of the building after renovation. Image © Xunjun Xu
State of design of the building after renovation.  Image © Xunjun Xu
State of design of the building after renovation. Image © Xunjun Xu

Act 1: Awakening and Infusion —— Sprawling vegetation carried into unknown space through a hidden entrance. The Chinese character ‘Zao’ as disassembled soap, makes “Bai” and “Qi”. Baiqi Café starts from the semi-outdoor space below by the river, which is also the starting point of “Soap Dream Space”. A natural environment with invasive vegetation. Raw materials are sent into the pipeline for production, this marks the beginning of our journey – injection.

Hidden entrance to BaiQi Cafe.  Interactive floor installation.  Image © Zhi Xia
Hidden entrance to BaiQi Cafe. Interactive floor installation. Image © Zhi Xia
Intersection of the hidden entrance and the outside world.  Photo © Fangfang Tian
Intersection of the hidden entrance and the outside world. Photo © Fangfang Tian
Interactive floor and scenes with different atmospheres.  Image © Zhi Xia
Interactive floor and scenes with different atmospheres. Image © Zhi Xia

Act 2: Mixing and Extraction —– A purification process. The process of soap making is full of surprises – clear oil is slowly mixed with chemicals and becomes viscous, its color changes with different ingredients, then put into the mold, solidifies, turns into a beautiful bar of soap. Baiqi Coffee’s Spatial Formula attempts to return this purification process with a somewhat magical experience.

Back to the entrance.  Image © Zhi Xia
Back to the entrance. Image © Zhi Xia
Tube connecting the presentation space (Mixture) and Coffee (Extraction).  Photo © Fangfang Tian
Tube connecting the presentation space (Mixture) and Coffee (Extraction). Photo © Fangfang Tian
Interior of the Baiqi (extraction) cafe.  Photo © Fangfang Tian
Interior of the Baiqi (extraction) cafe. Photo © Fangfang Tian

Act 3: Acacia Island —– Acacia Island, a slice of nature. The other side of the Baiqi cafe is the exhibition area of ​​Acacia Island. Soaps produced at different times are placed in translucent displays in the shape of “cultivated” soap bubbles among the green plants.

Interior rendering of Acacia Island.  Below ground is the original 1.5 meter deep purification pool, now covered in a translucent glass floor
Interior rendering of Acacia Island. Below ground is the original 1.5 meter deep purification pool, now covered in a translucent glass floor
Looking through the tube from Baiqi Cafe to Acacia Island.  Image © Zhi Xia
Looking through the tube from Baiqi Cafe to Acacia Island. Image © Zhi Xia
Looking through the pipe from the exhibition hall to Acacia Island, the lighting installation - designed by Lumia Lab -  "to return to" , with twirling spiral lighting in one direction and beam-like dots of light in another, creating an illusion of moving space and time.  Image © Zhi Xia
Looking through the pipe from the exhibition hall to Acacia Island, the lighting installation – designed by Lumia Lab – “returns”, with spiral lighting twirling in one direction and shaped light points beam into another, creating an illusion of moving space and time. Image © Zhi Xia

Act 4: Dine in the flowers —– Dine with the light and shadow of the petals. The beauty of flowers is fleeting. It blooms, disperses and disappears. The flowers are also used as raw materials in soaps. The fleeting blooming period and aroma are preserved in soap form, conveying the fleeting beauty to something we can cling to. Bee Flower sandalwood scented soap is one of the most popular classics from the Shanghai soap factory. It was created in 1928, based on natural sandalwood, with a touch of jasmine and citrus notes. The concept of the on-site flower restaurant comes from the blooming petals. Magnified abstract petals wrap and overlap in the double-height space, creating unique light, shadow and atmosphere.

Abstract flower petals.  Photo © Fangfang Tian
Abstract flower petals. Photo © Fangfang Tian
Marble patterns integrated into the floor.  Image © Zhi Xia
Marble patterns integrated into the floor. Image © Zhi Xia
Circulatory space.  Photo © Fangfang Tian
Circulatory space. Photo © Fangfang Tian

Act 5: Soap Lab —– Handmade soap in an empty pool. The soap making process is a refining and refining process, delicate, trivial and requiring a lot of concentration. Circling from the orange steel ladder, the roof of Soap Dream Space, a laboratory for hands-on soap-making experience, is an empty light green pool.

Making soap in the empty pool.  Image © Zhi Xia
Making soap in the empty pool. Image © Zhi Xia
Making soap in the empty pool.  Image © Zhi Xia
Making soap in the empty pool. Image © Zhi Xia

In this project, we travel through the tunnels of time and space, spaces of Yangpu’s industrial past, linked to the present, witnesses of a history of industrialization.

Above the wooden structure at the top is the ETFE membrane structure, and the Gleditsia island is surrounded by ample natural light.  Image © Zhi Xia
Above the wooden structure at the top is the ETFE membrane structure, and the Gleditsia island is surrounded by ample natural light. Image © Zhi Xia

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