Known as China’s “Silicon Valley”, Zhangjiang High-tech Park in Pudong, Shanghai integrates a wide spectrum of key cutting-edge industries such as biomedicine, integrated circuit and aerospace, and delivers knowledge about nature and society. Situated within the high-tech park, ATLATL Innovation Cluster is a R&D platform for life sciences. “Atlatl” is a Nahuatl word that means “spear thrower”, which was invented by ancient hunters to maximize their hunting abilities. The word here implies the ancient traces of human innovation.

设计任务是将园区一处废弃场地改造为ATLATL内研发人员的配套区域,万社设计Various Associates在约520平方米的空间中融入咖啡、美食、美酒、与创想、创新的碰撞,为高层次科研人才提供实验室之外、更加柔性和艺术化的身体能量”补给站”。

Various Associates was entrusted to transform a disused space within the high-tech park into an ancillary facility for ATLATL. Occupying nearly 520 square meters, the space needs to bring in tasty coffee, food, wine and the collision with creativity and innovation, and aims to provide an intimate and artistic “body energy station” to high-level researchers.


Considering special features of users and industries that the project serves, the client requested a futuristic spatial atmosphere. The definition of the notion about time is the key of the project: What’s future? What’s past? There are different understandings on “futuristic” at different times. In modern era, mankind’s imagination of future has always been connected to mega images, such as universe, celestial bodies, and the trace of time.

▲项目中悬挂的圆环贯穿着上下空间 Floating ring connecting up and down


Currently, our cognition has been unable to catch up with the rapid transformation and changes in this VUCA world. VUCA is an acronym that stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.


Comparing with past and present, “future” is a concept of time that will never come. Our imagination of technology and future in all aspects is composed of a series of scenes. As approaching the project, Various Associates utilized elements that are often associated with modern people’s imagination of future, including circles, curves, dome ceiling and traces, to create more intuitive “futuristic” scenes and ambience in the space.

01 Wait

此次项目故事线为”等候厅Waiting Hall”,设计团队以时间的概念来衡量未来,在等候中等待未来、日复一日。如你我日常生活一般、等候着日出日落、等候着上下班、等候着就餐聚会、等候着”未来”。

The storyline of the project is “Waiting Hall”. The design team took the notion of “time” to measure future, and convey the message of waiting for future from day to day. In everyday life, we wait for sunrise, sunset and routine activities such as work, dining and gathering, while waiting for “future” as well.

万社设计Various Associates尝试从”总结过去”开始,反推未来主义的空间设计实验。跳脱单向前行的时间轴,以”现在”为原点前后双向延伸,链接过去的辉煌与未来的想象,创造多维度跨时空的”未来复古”场景体验。

Various Associates tried to start from “summarizing the past”, and then deduced a futuristic spatial design experiment. As opposed to adopting a one-direction timeline, the design took “present” as the origin, which extends in two directions and connect past glories with the vision of future, thereby creating “retro-futuristic” scenes which cross time.

02设计的循环Cycle of Designs

圆、弧线、球体相关的几何语汇,贯穿于空间结构、界面及家具的设计表现,呼应星际间的星体运行轨迹。万社设计Various Associates通过还原人类对宇宙最初始的幻想画面,构筑流线型的舒适度与”未来感”。

Geometric languages such as circle, curve and sphere are applied to interior structures, surfaces and furniture, echoing orbits of planets. By recreating mankind’s initial imagined view of the universe, Various Associates produced a streamlined space filled with a comfortable and futuristic ambience.

▲咖啡区 Cafe Area


Design and fashion are an endless cycle. The project design drew inspiration from aesthetic achievements and technology explosion in the 20th century. Various Associates reinterpreted “futuristic” from a broader perspective, so as to conduct a spatial design experiment based on logic rather than sheer speculations.

▲吧台区 Bar Area


The space is dominated by a greyish green tone, which is a mixture of natural “green” hue and futuristic “grey” colour. Surfaces of different shades, malleable materials, film-like expressions and geometric compositions result in a tactile space.


The ring “floating” in the atrium runs through the lower and upper areas. From the atrium to water bar, restaurant area, bar area as well as semi-open and private sections, the space is laid out based on different functions and degrees of privacy. With a smooth circulation, the entire space is able to accommodate 200 people for dining, relaxing and socializing. Various Associates incorporated the ideas of “waiting hall” and “countdown” into spatial scenes that rewind time, while also bringing in stories and creating spatial rhythms.

▲餐厅区 Restaurant Area

▲半开放区域 Semi-Open Area

▲私密空间 Private Area

03回到过去的未来Back to the Future of Past


Retro style has always been prevailing. Various Associates utilized everlasting elegant and simplistic design languages to continue the deep impression that the 20th century left on the world. Classical hues such as green, blue and yellow are covered with a layer of “grey shade”, which symbolizes the unknown and generates softer visual effects. Resin, glass panels, mirror-polished steel and other new materials are applied to streamlined functional blocks. Featuring ergonomic forms and soft leather upholstery, the customized chair and seat combinations offer comfortable experiences.

▲不同的桌椅形式 Different types of chairs


Comparing with present, future will never come, so it only exits in our imagination. However, classics which have stood the test of time imply a certain predictable trajectory of future. The space is like a “time door”, which leads to the future whilst in fact bringing people back to the “relative past”. Converting spatial experiment into something that’s everlasting and thought-provoking is what Various Associates has been trying to do.

▲手稿 Hand drawing

▲平面分析图 Plan analysis

▲动线图 Circulation






设计公司:万社设计Various Associates


设计团队:杨东子、李诗琪、Olga Zhuromskaia、林志超


Project Information——

Project Name:ATLATL Restaurant in Shanghai


Location:Zhangheng Road, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong, Shanghai, China

Status:Completed in July 2020

Design Firm:Various Associates

Project Leader:Qianyi Lin, Dongzi Yang

Design Team:Dongzi Yang, Shiqi Li, Olga Zhuromskaia, Zhichao Lin

Photographs:Shao Feng