joy cafe'

Year: 2012 - 2013
Size: 1,000 m2
Type: commercial
Status: construction
Location: Tianjin, China
Client: private client

Partners in charge: Chen Chen, Federico Ruberto, Nicola Saladino
Design team: Dong Liu, Alessandro Basile

Joy Cafe’ is located in a post-postmodern pseudo-European commercial block that hosts several restaurants and shops, serving the surrounding residential high-rise modern compound. In the context of such an ungraspable stylistic schizophrenia and cultural discrepancy, our building steps back, self-retreating through a gesture of tactical discreteness that avoids a naive and silly mimicry.

Accessing the site, two features emerge sharply from the existing walls: two new glazed volumes suggest the presence of a new interiorized space, focusing the views from the inside towards an adjacent canal. Internally the program is spread among three floors: one large coffee area with private meeting rooms is located on the ground floor and an exhibition/special events space occupies the upper floors, where we took advantage of the generous height to create a mezzanine that overlooks the multifunctional double-height area.

The existing structure is dissected and incised punctually in the only part where the slabs overlap creating moments of tension and dynamism at different heights. The organization of the rooms, the bar volumes, the ceiling and its lighting features are organically mediated and geometrically organized by the self-standing staircase, the spatial apex that develops and spirals around the existing structure, creating moments of intense differentiation. This folded metallic band sews the main gestures into a coherent aesthetics and creates programmatic continuity.