The Glade is a cultural brand, as well as a compound bookstore providing a new lifestyle. It is a place for a bookstore, coffee, afternoon tea, restaurant, bar, cultural and creative industries and irregular exhibitions. The origin of The Glade came from two famous initiator teams in Chongqing, The Razor’s Edge and One Day, who have cooperated to provide a quiet and restful place of void to Chongqing, or even busy metropolises in China.
Architizer chatted with Jenchieh Hung and Kulthida Songkittipakdee, Co-Founders of HAS (Hung And Songkittipakdee) Design and Research to learn more about the project.
Architizer: Please summarize the project brief and creative vision behind your project.
Jenchieh Hung and Kulthida Songkittipakdee: Our concept always starts with research, so when we know the project is located in Chongqing, we feel surprised that Chongqing is the same as any cities in China, all are the super tall buildings… However, when we started research Chongqing city, we found one of famous Chinese ink painters, Guanzhong Wu’s painting which is called “the mountain city of Chongqing (1979)”, showing how beautiful the specific topography of the mountains and various senses of Stilt Houses scale in the painting.
We start to imagine if the city center can feel the traditional Chongqing topography and Stilt Houses, that will be great. So, we started creating multi-layers of roof with different heights, trying to link Chongqing topography and Stilt Houses into our design space.
What inspired the initial concept for your design?
In our design, we always consider nature, because humans are part of nature, and nature teaches us everything, including “a spiritual” atmosphere and a “sense of belonging”. So, in every project, we consider how space can be part of nature. However, in The Glade Bookstore, the visitor can’t have any interaction with nature, because they are in the building, so we started to create man-made nature (we called MANufaAcTURE) inside of the building. For example, the PVC ceiling line is moved following the air-outlet; a fir wood bookshelf creates a unique wooden smell as a tree.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
We always try to create a unique construction aesthetic that reflects nature’s purity and improvised nature. The most unique design in the project will be the PVC recycled line in the ceiling and integrated with LED lighting.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
Due to the COVID-19 situation, when the project was under construction, our design team stayed in Bangkok, and wouldn’t fly to China. However, we checked the construction site every day by online video meeting, and provided a “check list of details” and sent more sketches and construction drawings to help local workers.
How did the context of your project — environmental, social or cultural — influence your design?
The difference between Europe and Asia is that Europeans’ understanding of architecture and the systems of their cultural identity, while we recognize them more from the number of high-rises and international designers. Besides, we have a frail understanding of our own cities, which formed the design logic that we have to think in western ways and graft eastern technologies with western thinking. Some are finding a design method that stems from their own cities.
For us (Jenchieh Hung and Kulthida Songkittipakdee), how to find a new recognition of local culture, or in other words, how to interpret the imagination of the future with our traditions? Those are the core standards of any of our decisions.
What drove the selection of materials used in the project?
We don’t have any intention of material selection. All of the designs are based on our design research. We will make thousands of physical models or make countless 3D architectural masses, just to think about something beyond. Maybe material, maybe form, or maybe our culture.
What is your favorite detail in the project and why?
We like the ceiling PVC recycled line that melts into the wall. Actually, we put structural support inside of the wall, and the final cover is made of cement, so the details look clean and invisible.
How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project?
It is important to protect our world. So for the ceiling material in The Glade Bookstore, we chose the recyclable PVC lines, and it became a sustainable and eco-friendly space for the client.
In what ways did you collaborate with others, and how did that add value to the project?
Normally, we operate as an independent architectural firm.
Were any parts of the project dramatically altered from conception to construction, and if so, why?
Actually, for all of our building projects, the photos are better than the renderings. I think this is because Kulthida Songkittipakdee worked for Renzo Piano, and I (Jenchieh Hung) worked for Kengo Kuma for a long time, so we know how to control the details, and we even developed our detail system for each project.
How have your clients responded to the finished project?
They are very happy and send me photos every week. I think it’s because they know we worked for The Glade Bookstore a lot (even on other projects, every client appreciated us).
What key lesson did you learn in the process of conceiving the project?
We want to have architecture and interior projects together. If The Glade Bookstore could have a single building in the future.
How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?
Our work always stands out in terms of its synthesis of form, pattern, material, and technology into singular, irreducible constructions.
How do you imagine this project influencing your work in the future?
We didn’t think about it; we just paid 100% on time for all our projects. We consider architecture to be part of our child, with whom we will spend all of our lives.
Are there any products or materials that were crucial to the design?
Lighting products : Visual Feast (VF) / LEDLUZ Co., Ltd / Leimove
Design team: Jenchieh Hung, Kulthida Songkittipakdee, Kanchaporn Kieatkhajornrit, Pimpasson Gangvanpanich, Qin Ye Chen, Panhuili Cheng, Zhongjun Dou
Client: The Glade Lighting
design (Thailand): Jenna Tsailin Liu; Lighting design (China): Qiuwei Zheng; Lighting technology: Visual Feast (VF)
Structure consultant: Huazhu Architecture Design Group; Landscape consultant: LISM Landscape Design
Kitchen consultant: Chongqing Bailey Kitchen Co., Ltd.
Construction management: Jason Yin; Construction: Nengqiang Yu
Wood furniture constructor: Chongqing Longyi Decoration Project Co., Ltd.
Location: Chongqing, China
Site area: 1,000 sq.m.Gross built area: 1,360 sq.m. Design year: 2020 Completion year: 2021
Photo credit: Yu Bai.
For more information on The Glade Bookstore, visit the in-depth project profile on Architizer.