Photographer: Becky Tsang

CEEC is a technology centre in Shenzhen, China that not only showcases the fruition of the nation’s cutting edge technology research but is also a hub of innovation, where change-makers and consumers could share, discuss and exchange ideas and feedback. Therefore, we wanted CEEC to reflect Shenzhen's position as a cradle for new ideas.

When we were designing for the complex, we conceptualised it as more than a mall nor an exhibition space — though it fulfils both of these functions — but that it is also a place that symbolises the region's rapid pace and thirst for change.

We gave CEEC a kit-of-parts program, so it has an interior that could constantly shape-shift. Each component of the kits-of-parts system are like spots of paint in a pointillist painting; their different and endless possibilities of combinations constantly regenerates the interior of CEEC. This reflects how the technology industry constantly bids goodbye to the old, mutates and regenerate.

Different companies and businesses could use and combine a variety of demountable and prefabricated modules to build their stalls or brick and mortar stores in the centre, emphasising the individuality of each brand. Partitioning, display tables, chairs, shelves in each store comes in different movable designs, heights and widths that could be mixed and match in various ways. A grid system was used as the centre's ceiling and flooring program. Prefabricated flooring modules could be mixed and match to form different designs on each floor, and each level’s design varies. With companies inside it constantly generating new product lines, CEEC’s flexible system allows it to catch up with its quickly changing pace.

CEEC has an all-metal interior made primarily from aluminium and mirrored stainless steel. We used aluminium to created different patterns and texture and shaped them into stripes, cylinders, cuboid, braids, or waves to decorate or form walls, doors, flooring, signage and columns. Mirrored stainless steels were shaped into braids, beads, and curvatures, ellipsoid or presented as planes to be used as wall and ceiling claddings.

Our use of only two types of metals to create unique spatial and visual elements in CEEC is like how a pianist compose different scores with just one single keyboard with 88 keys, like how pointillist painters use different spots of paint to create unique artworks.

Another concept that motivated our design is sustainability. Technology constantly eliminates and disqualifies the old, generating masses of waste that burdens the world. With an interior ecosystem that allows CEEC to renew its appearance through reusable modules, the interior’s flexibility and adaptability allow CEEC's to regenerate and reflect innovation’s ever-changing nature. At the same time, CEEC also sets a new tone and message for the technology industry by doing good to the environment.

The details