OCT Harbour is located in the central business district of Shenzhen Bay, nestling between Binhai Boulevard and the group of OCT theme-parks at Shenzhen’s Overseas Chinese Town.
With a total area of 1.25 million square meters, it combines the varied concepts of culture, ecology, tourism, entertainment, shopping, hotels, dining and nightlife, an innovative urban center with first-of-its-kind ecological and nature components.
Richard Meier is the architect of the OCT China Club, an elegantly-designed private facility for commercial services, ecological sightseeing, fitness and relaxation. Zhu Pei is the architect of a striking, cloud-shaped museum in the north area and also the Exhibition Center in the east area.
The inspiration for this project comes from both the location being close to the bay and from the needs of the program, a surreal space for design exhibitions. The Oct design museum focuses mainly on fashion shows, product design, and conceptual automotive shows.
The goal was to create a space that is surreal to the subject matter but also transcendental in surrounding and feeling. The design of the interior relies on a continuous white curving surface that casts no shadows and has no depth. The result is a surreal borderless space that seems to go on into the infinite, similar to the feeling of a James Turrell installation.
The effect is like being in a cloud or dense fog. The building becomes a blank surreal background, with only small triangular windows scattered randomly, as if they were birds in flight.
Typically an automobile looks very heavy but in this limitless space it becomes weightless, letting its curves, shadows, and intense colors become the focal point of the show. The first floor of the building holds the entry lobby and café, while the second and third is mainly exhibition space.
Storage space is spread out evenly through the floors, with movable walls allow the exhibition spaces to be very flexible in scale and function. The exterior form of the building is a direct reflection of the continuous curving space inside. The smooth organic form has a similar surreal yet transcendental effect when seen outside in its urban setting.
Set into its landscape, the building’s form seems to float above the ground, as if it was not from this planet. Being 300 meters from the ocean, we took inspiration in the smooth stones found along the beach. It is like a purely smooth stone cast into an overly saturated urban setting.
Contributing to its continuous skin is the fact that the museum does not have any windows in the classical sense; it opens with little glazed triangles scattered randomly over the façade, resembling flying birds passing by.
Location: Shenzhen, China
Architects: Studio Pei-Zhu
Project Team: Xiaoming Zeng, Fan He, Jun Ke, Chongxia Jiao, Xiao Yin, Si Li
Structure Consultant: Xueyi Fu
Area: 5,000 sqm
Article by Marco Rinaldi