Qinhuai River, one of the fascinating historical landscapes in Nanjing city, has witnessed the rise and fall of six dynasties in ancient China. In the west around 100 meters to the Confucius Temple, up the steps in the northwest, #17 Gongyuan Street was the Grand Ballroom in the period of the Republic of China. Today, the yesterday's glory has been welcoming guests to its refurbishment, a restaurant called Hong Mansion - The Charm.
‘Book as it were, as it was painting.’ For the architect, the work as the one. Jaco Pan, the principal architect of Minggu Design, got nurtured under the background of the local traditions and humanities, understanding aesthetics and philosophies of space on account of the exquisite lifestyle of men of literature and writing. He is adept at taking design ideas into practice and honored as the practitioner in term of promoting the oriental spirit of contemporary architectural interior design.
The floor plan got unfolded according to the conceptual theme 'Explore'. The lobby, folklore museum, and dining areas are layered progressively on the first floor. The design got inspired by the idea of 'Scripture Library' in classic architectures, integrating counseling service, waiting lounge and regionalism.
After traversing the archway, there appears the folklore museum, as if the epitome of the old city gate. In both sides, a miniature photo studio and countinghouse emerge from the memories. Old things were selected according to the necessities of life, as a narrative to tell dribs and drabs of that time. Hopefully, the guests could stay in the space for a little while to admire the appreciation while preparing to immerse themselves in the traditional context.
The option over furniture, the architect used those are liable to reflect the shadow of Namyang, meanwhile the inclusivity of the culture of the Republic of China. The classic patterns of dark woven rattan finishes are complemented by powder blue fabric cushions, dignified and relaxed at the same time.
“Advantaged lighting endows the nature to be more poetic in the context. The newly complete Hong Mansion looks much more like a drama, enhanced by artificial lightings, as well a film studio engraved by the time.” Pan said.
The public dining area was divided into several units by the top surface segmentation. A group of brass lamps hung over the units come into being a favorable connection and coordination. An array of ceiling fixtures are jointly linked by black filling materials in the gap that hides complicated devices and system.
In the water room, ceramics and mirrors were embedded in the black frames, like the surface of Gothic architectures, leading to the division of the facade works perfectly with functional features. Chandeliers, wall lights, spotlights, and candlelights embellish the brass-made furniture and vessels.
The spiral staircase, working as the vertical transportation to the higher level, was placed in an independent space as a sculptural installation.
The space definition still holds partly concealed with precisely fabricated brass grills to enclose a perspective atrium with a reinforced sense of ceremony.
Black steel plates and coral marbles are the primary material for the staircase. The architect elaborately made the mellow handrails, complemented by the strip lights hidden inside.
An original artistic chandelier in an organized geometrical shape hangs on the central place of the atrium as a match with the staircase.
The cantilevered staircase conquered the restriction by the gravity visually to get free. Le Corbusier and IM Pei were the advocators of spiral stairs. They mastered the skill to polish the space smoothly in their created spiral stairs without any incongruity or drawbacks. So is the Hong Mansion, the architect knows very well that curvature has a stronger feeling of continuity and tension.
Public/private dining areas are on the second floor with minor difference internally and externally. Visitors can enter the compartments through an archway on one side. Accordingly, the doors of private rooms are arranged irregularly on both sides to avoid conflict when doors open. Catering to the modest Chinese traditions, this contributes to improving the privacy.
Dark gray wooden finishes are widely used in the restaurant, embellished by delicate facial linear copper art wares and presentation of pink theme. In addition to that, the massive and long river of history meets the graceful appearance of the Qinhuai River in the same space.
The open dining area along the street on the second floor has become dim and covered because of the conservation of historical architectural heritage. The architect attempted to evolve the only natural lighting position ornamented with ancient glasses embedded in vintage windows. Ideally, sunlight gets into the interior, and troublous external facade gets shielded.
The sequential wooden divisions on the top inlaid with turbidity silver mirror partially to enlarge the height and increase the condition of daylighting.