At the beginning of 2010 Miele found an empty three-storey 1930’s old villa on No. 82 Shimen Yi Road, between Yan’an Road and Nanjing Road. Located near to the Four Seasons and the upcoming Dazhongli site, one of the most important developments in Shanghai’s city center, this exceptional location will serve as Miele showcase to the Shanghai and China market.
The villa was designed by Robert Fan, one of the first western-trained professional Chinese architects, mixing the traditional Chinese decorations with the modern construction technique of his time.
Kokaistudios developed a detailed renovation plan and works ranged from repairing the impressive roofs and rediscovering the facade original materials to structural reinforcements and the installation of modern air conditioning and fire protection systems as well as thermal and noise insulation.
To underline the new life of the house a huge art and craft metal panel has been added in front of the service block. The pattern is inspired at the same time by the villa’s original decorations and by the Miele heritage, in fact it recalls the shape of the cream separator’s wheels, the company’s first product.
Beside the panel, in the middle of the two window-displays, the old motto of the company, “Immer, besser”, has been carved by a Chinese artisan in stone.
The landscape in front of the villa is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Chinese gardens. The gate, the water ponds, the greenery and the stoned walkways are translated in a modern language but designed to provide the same sensory environment and experience.
On the main façade, under the beautiful loggia, the original wood doors will always be kept open, becoming a decorative element and increasing the relation between interior and exterior space of the project. A second layer of sliding door has been added to improve the building insulation.
The house is divided in three floors. The showroom is on the first floor, the office headquarter on the second and a multifunctional event space on the third.
Miele wanted Kokaistudios to design a new, innovative and challenging concept for the showroom. Not a standard home, but a living space, where the focus is on the experience more than on the products, on the scent of perfectly washed clothes, on the taste of a freshly brewed coffee or on the touch of a clean, healthy carpet.
Kokaistudios decided to design one large multi-use box, within the light grey marmorino walls, detached from the ceiling and the floor in the respect of the heritage villa, a possible interpretation of a future home, where all the appliances are hidden or concealed.
Starting from the entrance lobby, where the original wood ceiling has been carefully restored, the client’s experience will be a journey around, in and out this object, following the senses, discovering and testing Miele’s appliances.
The box, finished with elegant and innovative soft-touch paint, can transform itself becoming a futuristic kitchen, a feminine bedroom, a living room or a masculine studio. The most precious Miele’s collection, the gold series, will be kept in the original restored vault of the villa.
Then the client’s experience will continue in the back corridor and up to the stone staircase, the journey through the Miele’s 112 years long history, the heritage walk. From the first washing machine, across appliances, logos and old pictures of the different decades, to the latest and most innovative products.
On the third floor the client will welcome in an impressive high-ceilinged room, where the original trusses have been exposed and renovated and all the walls covered in a warm and elegant red marmorino. In this multifunctional space will be hosted private dinners, cooked by the best chefs on the open kitchen fully accessorized with Miele’s appliances, cooking classes, designer’s forums and also fashion shows.
The 5.5 meters long marble counter, surrounded by fridges and wine fridges, will have a huge mirror in the back that can automatically move up exposing a wall of Miele appliances.
On the other side of the room, the space will be warmed up by an ecological innovative fire place.
At the end of corridor the journey ends in the future kitchen. In this futuristic space will be periodically displayed the future products, the ones still not on the market.
This challenging and unique project represents perfectly Miele core values and it’ll be a manifesto for the future development of the company in China.
Location: No.82 Shi Men Yi Road, Shanghai, China
Architecture Renovation Team: Andrea Destefanis, Filippo Gabbiani, Carmen Lee, Li Wei, Song Qin
Interior Design Team: Andrea Destefanis, Filippo Gabbiani, Carmen Lee, Chara Yang, Coco Cheng, Jeanne Chen
Floor area: 1000 sqm + 350 sqm landscape
Status: Complete November 2010
Photographer: Charlie Xia