798 BEIJING 2022                                                    

Founded by a former media executive, the art center is the latest establishment in Beijing's 798 district. Nestled in one of the buildings on the main street, it gets a touch of history symbolic of the Soviet-German-China industrial partnerships from the 1950s. In the 90s, these Bauhaus structures became the breeding ground for an emboldened artistic community, paving the way for a neighborhood hosting cutting-edge galleries and boutiques.

The project takes its name from "sòng 頌". Despite its similarity to *song* in English, it embodies more than the art of music. This poetic format originates from rituals that chant ode to higher beings with reverence.

No culture lives without rituals. Commissioned to give the space an ambitious new start, TEMP revitalizes the space with a drastically different approach from its previous tenants. Referencing ritual sites from across culture, the team carefully crafted an unassuming journey singing to art, an ode to its secular spirituality.

Grandeur Contemplation

At its entrance, shimmering glass bricks envelop the building's original red bricks, gracefully illuminating the juxtaposition of opacity and transparency, history and modernity.

A short narrow tunnel admits visitors with a sense of mystery. Circulation then splits into a lounge area on the second floor and a main exhibition hall on the first. As one strolls deep into the hall, the spatial volumes increase at each turn, dramatically opening up the vision for a hall of 8-meters high at its center.

TEMP designed curving overheads that gently weighs down the sawtooth roof from its industrial days. The repetitive waves, like clouds, hint at the changing sky seen through the skylights, allowing ethereal natural light to bathe the hall throughout the day.

A Ritualistic Journey

In all cultures, lights serve both practical and spiritual purposes. Where natural light doesn't hit, artificial lights continue to accord with a wholesome ritualistic experience.

Between the industrial framework and the new curving overhang, LED strip lights are installed behind the curves, washing up the vaults and bounce off soft light as the day winds down. Along stairs and pathways, up lights are fitted into narrow clefts, whispering fainting light of sedation.

Adding to this sanctuary of art are recesses of different shapes. Designed to frame art objects of various sizes, they draw the eyes and act as secular altars for art awaiting appreciation.
A contrast of neutral colors sets the character of the art center. Beige plaster and wooden floor create a warm environment that the founder envisioned for visitors. On the other hand, walls of ash grey lead them visually to secondary spaces like art shops and receptions.

Intimate Restoration

TEMP takes advantage of the unique 2-floor configuration to create further contrast. While the first floor encourages grandeur contemplation, the second inspires intimate restoration.

Partitions are installed to isolate smaller rooms from each other. TEMP stylizes their connections tenderly for a journey of curious exploration. Slit opening allows a sneak peek into a cloistered tea room, while steps, lower openings, and niches become scattered reminders of devotion.

As the founder endeavors to create a multidimensional magazine for art, TEMP combines flexible functionality and contemplative impression, one serving artistic creativity and another, humanistic yearnings.