Skin and Bones: MAD’s Fashion Headquarters Takes Its Cues From Human Anatomy

Pat Finn Pat Finn

Construction has begun on a new headquarters for the Chinese fashion company Xinhee in the southeastern city of Xiamen. If the renderings are anything to go by, Xinhee’s competitors will soon be MAD with envy!

For this project, the Chinese architecture firm MAD decided to follow the methods of the fashion industry, taking the human body as a source of inspiration. The resulting design includes a translucent PTFE plastic exterior propped up by visible steel supports.

“We envision it as a building with skin and bones,” explained MAD founder Ma Yansong. “The correspondence of clothing and architecture is they both explore the relationship between the interior and the exterior.”

The translucent skin allows sunlight to pour into the building, providing Xinhee’s decorous plants with nourishment and their employees with stellar views of one of China’s most attractive cities. A special coating will be applied to the skin that moderates the amount of light and heat that enters the building, providing an energy-efficient solution to the problems of light and temperature control. Much of the rest of the building’s energy needs will be met by solar panels installed on the roof.

Yansong believes that the material used for the façade will give the Xinhee Design Center a light, airy feeling. “It’s interesting for a building with such an intrinsically logical structure to look floating and free,” he said.

Like the human body, this building’s program is functional and organized. The 200,000-square-foot (61,000-square-meter), 8-story fashion headquarters is divided into 6 wings that branch out from one another in a star-shaped layout. Each wing is devoted to a different brand under the Xinhee umbrella and will include both open-plan offices and lush gardens.

The gardens lend the space an Arcadian feel conducive to creativity. Natural features can also be found throughout the headquarters’ sprawling campus, which includes a stunning reflecting pool that comes right up to the building’s edge.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the design is the central atrium, which includes a suspended catwalk that Xinhee plans to use for runway shows. At other times, this runway will simply function as a footbridge that allows employees to navigate between different wings.

The Xinhee Design Center is expected to be up and running before the end of 2017.

All images courtesy of MAD

Pat Finn Author: Pat Finn
Pat Finn is a high school English teacher and a freelance writer on art, architecture, and film. He believes, with Orwell, that "good prose is like a windowpane," but his study of architecture has shown him that a window is only as good as the landscape it looks out on. Pat is based in the New York metro area.
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