Designed by Robot3 Design, the new Ban Shan café at the Jing Yuan Arts Centre in Beijing is inspired by the mountains and our connection with nature.
Following the client’s wish to create a “free café”, the designers created an open and versatile space encompassing an easily changeable configuration which provides a variety of different zones for socialising and relaxing. Earthy tones and tactile materials like wood, paper, brick and ceramic tiles create a warm and inviting atmosphere, while the addition of plants livens up the space and further accentuates the café’s mountain theme (Shan means mountain in Chinese).
One of the challenges posed in developing the project was the ceiling height of the main area: at 3.8 meters, the space was too high for one floor but not high enough to split into two floors. The solution was found in a poem by 11th-century poet Su Shi, where he imagines himself as being one with the mountain he is standing on; picking up on this idea, the designers dug into the floor to create a sunken seating area and placed a mezzanine over it, in doing so also creating an experience akin to “walking into the mountain”. Other features such as the parametric-designed mountain range sculpture and a full-scale log cabin complete the alpine picture, bringing the feeling of being up in the misty peaks down into the bustling centre of the Chinese capital.