Adaptive reuse Architecture Furniture design Interiors

HONG Designworks converts 20th-century Victorian building in Shanghai into Fritz Hansen’s experiential centre

October 16, 2020

HONG Designworks has transformed a historic 20th-century Victorian building in Shanghai as the home of Danish furniture brand Fritz Hansen. Over the years, the old house has witnessed the changes of Julu Road where it sits, while time has given it a sense of history distinguished from the surrounding built environment. On the other hand, Fritz Hansen, a 140-year-old storied brand has induced the building with new vitality by creating experiential vignettes of living and dining in the architectural space.


The combination of the furniture brand with catering and entertainment is an avant-garde, creative concept, resulting in a one-of-its-kind space in Shanghai. The project echoes the spirit of Fritz Hansen, regardless of time and realm. And a key issue that the designers had to consider was how to balance the brand style and spatial character.

Fritz Hansen has been collaborating with exceptional designers across the world, and has worked out a great many simplistic, artistic and quality products. It commissioned well-known design firm HONG Designworks, led by founder Dang Ming, to apply the brand’s classical styles to the design of the second and third floors, thereby producing a space that’s simplistic, stylish and artistic. In addition, Fritz Hansen furniture is brought into the space to create different scenes with a distinct take on each carved out space.

Dang Ming, founder and chief designer of HONG Designworks

Furniture of different styles is matched with distinct private dining rooms, which opens up a wonderful food journey together with a simple and artistic atmosphere. The design references the classic building structures of the old house. The design team tried to restore the wooden structures that had been damaged, to reproduce the characteristics of the old building and carry the traces of time in the space. Besides, wooden structures are highlighted along different circulation routes.


While restoring the interior wooden roof, the design also ensured its energy-saving and thermal insulation properties and aesthetic appearance. Transitional spaces were created to separate yet connect different functional areas, thereby enhanced the sense of layering for the space as well as solving the problem of electromechanical equipment and pipeline exposure.


Iron-carved embellishments retained from the old house were restored and turned into staircase handrails. The structures generate charming shadows by way of their interaction with light, and produce a peaceful, calming ambience.


The project aims to create new immersive one-stop shopping experiences. The design team hoped that customers could experience the furniture in real scenes, and provided them with an array of choices and differentiated feelings through such scene creation.


Victorian elements are noticeable from details. The hardwood floor and carpets featuring diverse patterns evoke varying atmospheres in different areas. Adornments and nature are merged, as plants and saleable artworks and furnishings can be seen everywhere within the space.

The tea room provides a perfect place for friends to gather and enjoy a cup of tea, while the cigar bar and club allow people to appreciate western leisure and recreational activities.

This space enables people to review the past of the century-old building, and perceive the mutual complementation between the architecture and the time-honoured brand.

Dang Ming, the founder and chief designer of HONG Designworks, studied in Dusseldorf, and ccurrently he is also a lecturer at the School of Art and Design in Xi’an University of Science and Technology. Mr Dang has been recognised as one of the 40 most influential young designers under the age of 40 in Asia. He also won the 2017 China Interior Design Top 100 Award and 2013 China Interior Design Excellence Achievement Award.

Some of his design works are collected by Klingspor Museum Offenbach and were exhibited at Graphic Design Biennale Germany China 2010. Under his leadership, HONG Designworks has received multiple design awards at home and abroad, including iF Design Award 2019, and INSIDE World Festival of Interiors 2019.

Project details:
Project name: Fritz Hansen Experiential Hall in Shanghai
Project location: Julu Road, Shanghai
Design firm: HONG Designworks
Chief designer: Dang Ming
Design team: Xie Xu, Ao Qinge, Wang Qing, Yan Zhen, Wang Haichuan, Hu Yifan, Shi Wangqian
Decoration design: Li Dandi
Construction firm: SDCIC Construction Group Co., Ltd.
Completion time: May 2019
Project area: 1,270 m²

See the full image gallery here:

Photos: Tan Xiao / Studio Ten

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