Phoenix New Media Center won the World's Best Interior in the International Property Award.
Phoenix New Media's iconic building had already come to define it's Beijing neighborhood, however, the studio and newsroom designed by HEAD Architecture gave it the heart it needed and deserved. Rigorously adhering to a single concept, the studio houses state-of-the-art broadcast facilities as well as staff offices. Designed to be versatile, the studio offers Phoenix's producers endless shooting angles and variations.
The client brief was to create a functional newsroom around a single idea of repeated circles. Relentlessly uncompromising, the client sought to build the entire facility around repeated overlapping circles across all levels of the site. The challenge was to create a collaborative workspace paired with a newsroom to raise the bar for all Chinese broadcasters. The studio's broadcast facilities spared no expense, creating a platform that enables a long runway of innovation and experimentation with shooting angles and visual formats. Meanwhile, the new staff's quarters are modern and focused on creating interactions in the studios, walkways and stairwells.
The circular theme of main news desk ripples throughout the studio, creating a myriad of corners, curves and light. Circular columns sheathed in backlit glass panels create new reflections at each turn, which is highlighted by the curving walkways. Recalling the zig-zag bridges (九曲桥) of classical Chinese gardens, the corners invite staff and visitors alike to pause to talk or just admire the view.
One of the most innovative and striking features is the producer's Control Room which is suspended from the ceiling above the main news desk. The novel Control Room design required the floor above to be strengthened, but the extra effort creates an unique workplace experience for the staff, while offering the company a signature talking point for visiting clients. HEAD Architecture's use of backlit, matte and glossy glass panelling along the curved surfaces is another innovative treatment, creating endless reflections of the studio lights. Finally, an augmented reality system suspended across the main atrium enables the producers to shoot with depth of the studio behind them, while computer generated images are superimposed over reflectors invisible to the cameras.