Shenzhen Nanyou Area is located in the middle of the Nanshan Peninsula, named after the Nanyou Development Zone, a flourishing factory/residential district in the early days of Reform and Opening up. In 2004, the shining characters of the “Nanyou Group” were removed by a crane, and the completion of Binhai Ave. also integrated it into the urban fabrics, pulling it away from the once local vibe.
In the advancement of urbanization, Nanyou continues to evolve and develop. Originating from foreign trade in Century Plaza, it gradually became a fashion trade center in line with Guangzhou Shisanhang and Hangzhou Sijiqing. Today, Nanyou gathers related industries such as e-commerce, foreign trade and logistics, and in the wave of consumption upgrade, independent designers and emerging brands have also begun to appear. Lab O.C.O, a designer jewelry boutique and gallery, is among this new wave.
Lab O.C.O is located on the first floor of Bdg. 8, Zhongxing Industrial Park, Nanyou. The park is of efficiency-oriented simplicity, as well as the residue of late collectivism. The venue is surrounded by sounds from trucks, motorcycles, shouts and construction knocks, leaving nowhere to hide. We hoped that it could be a quiet corner to relax the senses, but with open arms, not just a courteous outsider.
一开始我们对委托方提出的东方文化意象（O.C.O意为Of Chinese Origin），感觉很难把握；加之我们平时穿衣服也模胡，离时尚很远。频繁沟通之后，大家的关注焦点共同稳定在了如何与社区融合衔接上。O.C.O是一个“展”的空间，而讨论主要集中在“用”上，如何解决小尺度的展示空间在流线、分区、陈列、储藏和公共活动等方面的需求，而形做着做着就落出来了。券门一开始不在，或者说没这么具象，最后使用方式与形式语言相遇的时候，设计就定了下来。
At first we found it difficult to grasp the oriental image proposed by the client (O.C.O means Of Chinese Origin). Our outfits choices are often vague and hardly associated with vogue. Upon frequent communication, everyone’s focus was stabilized on how to integrate with the community. OCO is an “exhibition” space, and the discussion mainly focused on “use”, i.e. how to provide the small-scale exhibition space with circulation, zoning, display, storage, and public programs. The arch door was not there at the beginning, or it was not so concrete, but when the usage meet the form, the design was settled.
In order to make the space open and transparent, we discussed with the construction crew to hide the frames, bearings and locks to the greatest extent, so as to provide almost undisturbed indoor view for the street. At the same time, the lively street scenes are included in the gallery. The final entrance is a 3*3 undivided glass revolving door. The arch door and its eccentric rotation axis posed challenges to construction and security. The approach of the final entrance enlarges the site, with passengers often stepping back to look at it fully before going forward.
The main material was subconsciously decided to be the water-grain aluminum plate, as response to the arch language. The main body of display slightly protruded out of the wall, for the finish of aluminum plate cut and the addition of texture and order. Each pallet in the detachable display area can be disassembled and replaced, forming different combination of light and shadow.
The space was narrow but the floor height was close to 5 meters, which raised the line of sight. While the initial design considered the full use of height, we later found that this was problematic: the space needs to focus on the height of the exhibits. Therefore, we use the display layout, material division, lighting, arch/tree shape and other methods to “press it down”, minimizing the towering feeling and creating the richness of the display area through changing lighting.
The project is small but has been in an evolutionary state for about three years, due to time gap between the two leases. During this period, size, space and furniture exhibits adjustments happened one after another. In the first phase, the uncertainty of the expansion was taken into account with fan-shaped layout, like a clock hand pointing to the change of time.
In rearview, the mere perception of the result is thin, but we also hoped to witness the erosion of the time. As for Lab itself, upon completion it looked like a stand-alone addition, yet in fact it became a part of the new ecology, with its various activities and many friends. As for the whispers of demolition, it felt just like a thin cloud that can come and go without rain. Not until the official renewal announcement of the Zhongxing Industrial Park was published in 2020, Nanyou’s bell began to ring again.
Like many parts in Shenzhen, Nantou is always overwhelmed by such sudden changes, sometimes lucky, but more often lost and perplexed. With the bright red demolition banners spreading excitedly in the park, the Lab was finally forced to close; but for the city this is still a vast land of bright future.
拆除后，我们怀着沉甸甸的心情在门口匆匆走过，但是并没有伤感和灰心。Lab O.C.O 或多或少的补充了这几年工业城的公共空白，而南油新的号角业已吹响。转型期荒芜但并不衰败，好过繁荣昌盛后的大寂寞。对这个项目我们希望有个连贯准确的记录，但是作为作者的我们，烂熟的时光里，也不得不对这几年来的的努力说一声珍重的再见。
After the demolition, we hurried past the door with a heavy heart, but not necessarily sad or discouraged. Lab O.C.O has more or less supplemented the public gaps in the industrial park, and a new call for Nanyou has been sounded. The transitional period is barren but not decayed, better than the grand loneliness after prosperity. For this project, we as authors hoped to have a clear record of its lifespan, but also have to bid farewell to our efforts over the past few years.