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In and Between Boxes – Co-working Space and Coffee Shop by Lukstudio

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Lukstudio has revived an empty corner lot in a residential district of Guangzhou, China into a café and coworking space defined by several shapely white volumes. Each prescribed a particular use, the collection of boxes that comprise the Atelier Peter Fong serves to distil the formerly chaotic nature of the site into a calm and inviting collection of offices and studios.

From the outside, a floating aluminum canopy connects the volumes together while also creating a firm delineation between the old and the new. The three main boxes protrude from the interior, creating a coherent facade while simultaneously creating some ‘in-between like urban alleys,’ that are intended to pique a passerby’s curiosity. Each of these volumes contains a distinct program: café, brainstorming area, meeting room and lounge. In contrast to the brilliant white of the boxes, the alley ways are painted gray and left with their original structural ceiling, playing with combinations of hues and textures. This sense of diversity and balance is what won the project its name: In and Between Boxes.

Following a process of meticulous spatial carving, openings and niches are shaped within the volumes. Large cut-outs connect the café to the exterior and frame the surrounding greenery. On the inside, white ceiling pockets and wooden niches create a sense of intimacy. The office entry is also carved at its edge to feature a peaceful zen garden, which becomes a focal point and visually connects the different parts of the office together.

Smooth surfaces such as white walls and terrazzo flooring dominate the central space, serving as a canvas to capture light and shadow. The brainstorming box is lined with polycarbonate panels that form a subtle visual connection between the café and the workplace. Intimate areas are characterized by organic elements, such as continuous timber panels in the brainstorming zone and remnants of an existing brick wall in the lounge. Combining artisanal café culture with a collaborative co-working space, Lukstudio adapts a contemporary social model to a local Chinese neighborhood. Photography by Dirk Weiblen