What is shining deep inside the window of Hutong is a golden heart Atelier Tree implanted especially for Beijing’s old town. It is the second store of POPPEE, which was only a quiet two-level shop on the entrance of Hutong but the founder of POPPEE found himself crushed on it in the first sight. This heart-moving sentiment in that moment becomes the origin of Atelier Tree’s inspiration. It is a presentation of POPPEE’s brand concept--pursuing beautiful and romantic life, and is also a willingness to infuse vitality for the old Hutong.
Our design and renovation put the history and current of this two-level building into one context. It was dismantled into a street-scale showcase and a displaying process of jewelry’s change inside. As the two street-facing elevations of this small building are two large transparent wood-frame glass windows now, they open their heart towards the street, and incidentally, we gift them our appreciation.
Atelier Tree fully respects the traditional features of the architectures in this Hutong area. In order to keep these features while increasing transparency of elevations, the original elements are kept as much as possible, with metal components replacing only the broken part of exterior wall. In addition, the sunshade layer inside the external glass window, which is connected with metal wires, subtly changes the psychological segmentation of inner and outer space, and also connects the scenery and eyesight inside and outside.
Comparing to the carefulness for renovating external elevation, the installation of the heart-shaped object is even more rigorous. Its free shape considers both multiple functions and profound meaning of romantic wishes. The embedding of heart needs to take care of different views from the street, and also working as a component that both separates and encloses interior space.
The first level of this small building is the main displaying area for jewelries, whose showcases are undulating along the surrounding walls. The lower part of the heart hovers down the ceiling, inclines to the external glass window, and floating between ceiling and those showcases on the wall. As the curly surfaces deliberately differentiate the space, the original rectangles, tedious and repetitive, evolve into various small spaces with different enclosure, which naturally restrict walking streamline and viewing directions.
On the second level, half of the room exhibits accessories and the rest is designed as offices. The upper part of the heart is positioned right in the middle of room. It separates exhibition area and offices, in which a long work desk is hidden by the heart’s slightly curved shape. The heart’s upper part is contouring and grandiose, helping store staffs stay out of customers’ view, while keeping plenty of lights shine into the office to avoid the narrowness of an enclosed space.
The overall surface of the two parts of the heart is broken into pieces of metal tile, placed in different areas to block part of the lights while let the rest pass through. With these metal pieces fuse with the sunshade layer of external glass windows, walls, floor, and textures of ceiling tiles, our small building radiates with a almost flashy golden light, however respects the spirit of nature and tradition in actuality.
The beam plate between first and second level is not only the connection of the heart, but also the separation. The heart’s upper half is above the second floor, while the other half is hanging over the first floor’s ceiling. They locate in different spaces. Walking through inside it resembles traveling in Lu Mountain and only the collage of the memories of caring people can bridge the complete shape of the heart. This is an absolutely rare and precious moment, however, even those broken pieces can become into an unique scene of each place. As its shape can not be blocked by the reflection of glass, the complete heart belongs to the outside street and can only be seen at specific time and directions. Harder to know a person or a thing, happier it is.
POPPEE West Xilong Store follows the skeleton of traditional architecture, grows into a contemporary accessory showcase, and re-invigorates its life at a Hutong cross. In this large-scale exhibition case, the whole golden heart is like the Hutong’s shining jewel seen from far away. As for nearby, the accessories exhibited are of course the featuring star, but those split sections of the golden heart are merged into the background of brand accessories, becoming significant elements of the store’s inner space. Those naturally presented accessories, the heart, and this traditional two-level building support each other in different views, and highlight their brilliance for people or street in different aspects.