PIG Design has recently completed works PIG House, its brand new office space located in a historic residential district in Binjiang, Hangzhou. It is next to the Qiantang River’s bank and faces West Lake across the river. Li Wenqiang planned to adapt the old into PIG DESIGN’s studio in order to break away from typical office buildings’ disregard to the surrounding environment and lack of cultural importance.
PIG HOUSE is the materialization of Li Wenqiang’s concept: working down to earth and absorbing its nutrients, cultivating on the soil, and bringing the fruits into the daily life of the urban public.
The original house was constructed around twenty-three years ago. The design intervenes in a simple and sustainable way by preserving the existing condition of the main building and simply placing some floor-to-ceiling glass windows on the facade to blur the barrier between inside and outside and integrate the architecture, space, and landscape.
The project takes up 666 m2 of land and has a total interior space of around 250 m2. From design idea to completion, it took one year. The building was only slightly modified to adhere to a sensible functioning layout.
The design incorporates PIG DESIGN’s distinctive sense of humour: the odd-shaped entryway mimics a “piglet” in its compositional connection with the structure, while the roof constructed with inexpensive black PVC pipes resembles its haircut.
The black gravel pavement welcomes guests to enter the private courtyard, which is rich in flora, sunlight, and water, and which continually manages the microclimate cycle.
Li Wenqiang explores the “second nature” of art and design from the perspective of a “farmer”. In this extremely complex and viable reality world, he devotes his attention to the “seeds” of his works. After scattering the “seeds” everywhere, he patiently takes care of them and waits for the fruition. This is no different from the relationship between farmer and land. Both require one to exchange labor for the gifts of nature, and respond to the dynamics of the environment and the laws of everything.
A tiny pond in the form of a ring is built in the middle of this landscape, with the inner and outer rings producing concentric round shapes. Four large rocks scattered throughout the pond, the gravel, the ground, and the grass merge into one another to represent the symbiosis of the elements and introduce “time” to the picture in the form of a clock. The most opulent aspect of both creative production and agricultural cultivation is the waiting time.
The house’s interior features an office, conference room, tea room, dining room, and workshop, creating a blend of formality and everyday living. The studio gets back to how it was before. The area is left bankl with a “de-decorated” setting, albeit it does not demonstrate the powerful aesthetic expression of earlier projects.
“It’s a house that stores inspiration.”
– Li Wenqiang
The design team focused on a gallery-style exhibition perspective based on the organization of the disarrayed blocks. By compressing the depth of the space with paintings, the volume of the partition walls is dissolved, thereby reinterpreting the less-than-ideal space.
The space offers unrestricted access to the outdoors in all directions. Tables constructed of stacked raw stones are used in the reception tearoom at the entry to maintain the courtyard’s rough surface. The circular seating area in the sunken conference room, which is one meter below the floor, mimics the curving ceiling, which improves rapport between participants. The underground garage has been converted into a huge table that unifies the area and functions as an immersive workshop for making things.
PIG DESIGN’s original furniture and artwork emerge as beautiful decorations scattered throughout the space, also serving as witnesses to the studio’s growth, with black and white serving as the uniting colors. A team of 20 people can work together in the office space on the second level.
“The name of the cat is Orange. Orange came to our studio in 2017 and has been taken care by me since then. He got fat that we named our studio PIG. Then we came up with the concept of ‘saving the city with cuteness’, so that architectural spaces will become lovable for their intriguing design.”
Project name: PIG HOUSE
Location: Hangzhou, China
Area: 666 square meters
Design firm: PIG DESIGN – pigdesign.art
Chief designer: Li Wenqiang
Design team: Zhu Yiyun, Xiong Jun, He Di, Xiao Fei, Wu Yicheng, Fan Kaiqi, Qian Mengmeng, Shen Taotao, Xiao Mengmeng, Gao Ya, Zhao Lili, Wang Chen, Xu Rumeng, Sun Xiaodong, Liao Yuting, Yang Zhiwei
Furniture design: PIG DESIGN
Start time: Nov. 2020
Completion time: Apr. 2022
Main materials: stone, coated glass, artificial fur, wood flooring, stainless steel, tile, green paint
Photography: Qi Shuoqian
Suppliers: Hangzhou Dianchang Decoration Design Engineering Co., Ltd., Yaank, Zhejiang Deyao Metallic Products Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Aoyu Furnishings Co., Ltd., Hangzhou Xianlong Construction Materials Co., Ltd., Jump Time, Ugan Concept, Hangzhou Zhima Decoration Design Engineering Co., Ltd., Moorgen (China) Intelligent Technology Co., Imagehome