The Design Republic Design Commune in the centre of Shanghai is entirely devoted to artistic and creative pursuits. It is a modern design hub that plays host not only to designers and architects but also to enthusiasts and other members of the trade. The new Design Republic flagship store is located here, amidst other retailers and promoters of design products offering everything from books and fashion to art galleries, lighting, accessories, venues for events, cafés, restaurants and bars. In the words of the Shanghai-based designers Neri & Hu, “situated within the historic relic of the Police Headquarters built by the British in the 1910s, the project takes a surgical approach to renovation. First, gently removing the decaying wood and plaster, then carefully restoring the still vibrant red brick work, while grafting skin, joints and organs onto parts that needed reconstruction.”
It is an interesting redevelopment scheme for a building that was almost completely derelict. It has been reinvented, with brand new functions and totally renovated interiors. The white colour of the rooms is juxtaposed with the hue of the bricks from the original façade. “The clear intentionality behind the detailing of connections between the old and the new creates a visually and spatially tectonic balance in relation to the building as a whole,” stated the architects.