WeWork Weihai Lu – Coworking Office Space
Shanghai studio Linehouse presented how they have transformed a former opium factory with green-painted metalwork and pastel-coloured terrazzo to create the Chinese flagship for co-working company WeWork. The site is to be considered the Chinese flagship for the company. It is called ‘WeWork Weihai Lu’ and is located in Shanghai’s Jing’An District. The 5,500 square-metre WeWork Weihai hosts more than 1,300 members of WeWork, a co-working company that offers rented desk spaces at relatively low cost, with shared amenities for workers.
“The WeWork Weihai road 696 building was built in the early 20th century, and situated in the central business area of Jing’An district. This historical London style mansion once was home to more than 40 artist studios and galleries. Today, the building has transformed into a modern workspace, which attracts not just artists, but aspiring entrepreneurs, designers and emerging businesses large and small.” – WeWork Weihai Lu
Local studio Linehouse transformed the historical London style mansion, located at 696 Weihai Road and once home to 40 artist studios and galleries, into a vibrant, open-floor working environment characterized by steel beams painted green, exposed brick, pastel terrazzo, globe light fixtures and geometric mirrors, and other on-trend details.
“Collaborating with Linehouse, our design teams wanted to celebrate the magnificence of the space and its rich history,” says Ashley Couch, senior associate director of interior design at WeWork. “We sought to encapsulate the feeling of a grand hotel by transporting members and guests on an unexpected journey that was playful, voyeuristic, and yet polished.”
The building joins WeWork’s portfolio of over 120 (and growing) locations in ten countries and 38 cities around the world, for which design is a central tenet. Says Couch, “We’re facilitating and driving experiences that intertwine with the existing architecture that are meaningful and bring them to life.”
WeWork Weihai Lu is nestled in a turn of the century brick building; a former opium factory and artist residence. This building is surrounded by an old residential district in the heart of Shanghai.
Linehouse celebrated the grandeur of the building, encapsulating the feeling of a grand hotel, transporting guests and members on an unexpected journey of whimsy, voyeurism and festivity.
Upon arrival guests pass through an old laneway, framed by a traditional Chinese arch. The lane walls are painted pink and the floor pink concrete. Above, lights are festively suspended between the laneway walls.
The existing site is a combination of a brick historical building with further industrial additions that have been made over the years. The reception is located in this in-between zone of the old and new. Linehouse played with this narrative in the design. The reception counter is clad in heritage wood paneling, surrounded by a concrete base. A bronze metal structure hangs lighting and creates leaners. Behind the reception, guests are greeted with a neon sign ‘Ring For Service’ contained in a cabinet of curiosities, painted in a light blue.
The existing steel structure is painted ivy green, with a new black metal and black stained OSB handrail leaner wrapping the triple height space, allowing guests to be spectators to the activities below.
A green steel staircase weaves through the circulation space connecting all three levels of the front of house. This is clad in triangular pieces of oak wood, with one side painted in hues of blue. The colours alternate as you travel up the stair creating a gradient of tones, and shifting views from wood to blue.
The staircase leads to the two pantry areas that play on the opium factory narrative, with large scale poppy wallpapers, hand painted in gold.
The central atrium is surrounded by the heritage façade. A curved terrazzo tray was inserted to define the space, pastel diagonal strips in blue, green, pink and grey wrap the floor and wall, creating a hardscape carpet. A bronze structure is suspended above the terrazzo perimeter wall, hanging mirrors, artwork, shelving and lighting.
A bespoke lighting installation is suspended in the triple height space. Pink and grey cabling traverses the void threaded through circular bronze rings which hang custom glass shades.
Passing through the central atrium space to the back bar located within the heritage building, one is transported to a tropical retro oriental parlor. A gold gradient wallpaper wraps the perimeter wall, with hand painted Shanghai ladies, clothed in zebra attire and adorned in gangster bling, their era blurred between the 1920’s and the present day. A blue and pink neon in the shape of a fan frames the pantry area.
Custom wallpapers continue to play on this festive theme, with geometric and interweaving patterns in pastel tones, these are hand painted over in gold and green.
The bathroom walls are lined with custom printed tiles in pink and green interconnecting lines and shapes. The ceiling is painted a dusty pink, and a mint green lacquer box contains the cubicles, custom bronze light fixtures and mirrors create a parlor-like vanity.
Name Project: WeWork of Weihai Lu
Location: 696 of Weihai Road, based within Jing’an District, on Shanghai, China 31 200041
Coordinates: 31.226450, 121.458344
Type: Coworking Space Interior
Project area: 5,500 sqm
Status: Built, Completed
Completion Year: 2016
Visit WeWork Weihai Lu’s Website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: WeWork – HQ,115 W 18th St., New York, NY 10011
- Linehouse Designs – Studio B2, 655 Changhua Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai, China, 200041
Text Description: © Courtesy of Linehouse Designs, WeWork Weihai Lu
Images: © Linehouse Designs, WeWork Weihai Lu, Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Dirk Weiblen