Two very different souls coexist in a single space in Shanghai: an understated art gallery and a sophisticated lounge floor. With one secret in common.

在从外事金融工作多年后,一对中国夫妇回到了他们的祖国。并决定致力于他们两个真正的热爱:艺术及威士忌。受其委托后,Quarta & Armando设计了一个由两个截然不同环境构成的双层空间,但以客户为其来宾设想的共通的体验相关联。

A Chinese couple returned to their home country after years abroad working in finance, and decided to dedicate themselves to their real two passions: art and whiskey. To respond to their calling, Quarta & Armando designed a double-level space composed of two very different environments, yet connected by the communal experience that the owners devised for their guests.


The lower level is designed as a flexible open space for multiple uses. The floor is brushed in a gray-blue resin, reminiscent of a calm sea that helps the concentration of the visitors observing artworks. The gallery is designed to change setting completely through partitions so that different types of exhibitions can take place throughout the year. Though within such understated space, the yellow ochre staircase particularly catches the eye. Conceived as a functional cube cut out of its superfluous parts, the stairwell is meant to provide closure to the space and introduce visitors to the completely different room upstairs. It is made with a metal-clad structure hiding both storage units, a small working area for gallerists and the staircase.


Passing through this sculptural element, a new space slowly reveals itself, first introduced with a glimpse of the real protagonist of the upper lounge: aged whiskey bottles from the owners’ own collection.


Here the environment changes: from a modern minimalist art gallery we enter a more sophisticated and detailed space, dotted with retro, almost nostalgic details. A sapient use of old construction techniques such as boiserie on the ceiling and woven rattan for partitions give this space the warmth of times long gone. The bar top is made of Indian green marble while tables are black and white like old colonial cafes. The upholstering palette plays with subdued hues ranging from dark leather to olive green.


The underlying nostalgia is seldom broken by few contemporary elements: the mirrored walls and metal finishes lighten and enlarge the space, breaking the classicism of the decorated ceiling. A custom-made wallpaper dominates the main space and a mirrored glass on the wall trick patrons into perceiving a hidden space further back.


Taking advantage of the full height of the space, a third, secret floor can be accessed through a hidden entrance concealed in the wall. This floor can be reached by customers for private events from which they can cast an eye on the space below without being seen.


In this area, particular attention has been given to the use of refined wallpapers and each room has its own thematic color and furniture. The walls with mirror surfaces create games of shades and geometries which would be otherwise impossible in such a confined space.



设计团队:Gianmaria Quarta, Michele Armando, 顾涛, 毛天怡

委托客户:MO Gallery & Lounge




摄影:Dirk Weiblen ( dirkweiblen.com )

Project information——

Design company: Quarta & Armando Architecture Design Research

Design team: Gianmaria Quarta, Michele Armando, Gu Tao, Tianyi Mao

Commissioning client: MO Gallery & Lounge

Location: Nanchezhan Road 129, Shanghai (China)

Built area: 249 sqm

Completion date: December 2019

Photographer: Dirk Weiblen ( dirkweiblen.com )