At that time, we had dreams,
about literature, about love,
about traveling worldwide.
— Bei Dao, A Visitor From Poland
▼项目一瞥，a glance to the space © 钟智
▼左：小巷中的地下室入口 ©TURTLEHILL；右：尘封45年的地下室原貌 ©饶勤
Left: entrance in the valley; Right: the basement that had been deserted for 45 years
The Dongshankou neighborhood, where our project is located, has gathered a variety of trendy stores in recent years and developed into an artistic district for the young people. Since the area retains the largest amount low-rise and courtyard-style buildings with characteristics of both Chinese and western culture in Guangzhou, there is a strong historic and artistic atmosphere. Among these buildings, a basement that had been deserted for 45 years was accidentally discovered by our clients. They decided to turn this place into artistic paradise for the middle-aged, allowing them to fulfill their dreams about literature, relationship and travel.
▼改造后的地下空间，the renewed space in the basement © 钟智
Limited Space VS Unlimited Mirror
There are certain limitations to the space. First of all, the height between the ceiling and the ground is 1.8 meters, which is only half of normal floor height. And the feeling of oppression is further aggravated by many beams there. Furthermore, the dim lighting of this rectangular basement and several large columns make people feel that it is a very narrow and confined space. We were inspired by these characteristics, which also brought us great challenges. Our design focused on breaking through the limitations of existing structure while creating a space for art experiments.
▼T形梁与空间，the space with a T-shaped beam © 钟智
▼反射镜面与空间，the space with reflecting mirrors © 钟智
▼T形梁的镜面反射，the reflection of the T-shaped beam ©TURTLEHILL
Mirrors are used in the basement to relieve the oppressive feeling and visually expand the space. We used scale models to simulate the reflection of the mirrors during the design process and adjusted the circulation by changing their placement. This results in the increased variation of the spatial organization and tour time. Through the use of Droste effect, the mirrors generated an allusion of an infinite space, maximizing visitor’s extension of sight.
▼空间中引入多面镜子，a series of mirrors are used in the basement © 钟智
▼可移动的镜面，the removable mirrors © 钟智
▼无限反射镜面平台，the infinite mirror platform © 钟智
Meanwhile, we also designed a red room at the end of the basement. Reflected by the mirrors, this bright red color appears repeatedly throughout the tour route. This “seeing but not yet coming” experience will become an important clue for visitors to explore the space, leading them to walk through this maze of mirrors.
▼镜面反射中的小红房，the red room reflected in the mirror © 钟智
▼空间尽头的小红房，the red room at the end of the space ©邓咏诗
Limited Budget VS Unlimited Dream
Besides the limitations to the space, budget was another major challenge we had to overcome. Thus, we had to find a balance between design and engineering to satisfy our clients’ expectation while keeping the cost down.
Therefore, we decided not to over-decorate the basement to reduce the expense on renovation. The walls and ceiling were simply renovated with mortar, presenting a rough and simple space. At the same time, considering various possibilities of the exhibition space in the future, velvet fabrics were hung on the display walls to soften the concrete texture and to reduce the echo within the space.
▼入口过厅，entry hall ©邓咏诗
▼从空间回望入口前言墙，view back to the entrance wall from the space © 钟智
▼粗犷又朴素的空间，a rough and simple space © 钟智
Both the velvet curtains and the mirrors can be moved and reassembled freely according to the needs of different exhibitions and events in the future.
▼水泥墙面与天鹅绒幕布，the cement wall and velvet curtains ©TURTLEHILL
Ultimately, the design of the basement gallery is characterized by the sharp contrast between the delicate velvet fabrics and rough concrete wall, giving the underground space a rebirth in contemporary style. The infinite reflection of the mirrors visually extends the space, making it more playful and interesting.
▼诗歌空间装置，the poem installation © 钟智
▼诗歌镜面反射装置，detailed view of the installation ©TURTLEHILL
By tackling design problems from various perspectives, we have condensed the spirit of place by creating a set that reflects the artistic needs of our clients and the public, creating a new addition to the emerging art scene at the Dongshankou historic neighborhood.
▼音乐活动现场，the space during a musical event ©邓咏诗
▼空间细节，interior view ©邓咏诗
▼剖面A-A，section A-A ©TURTLEHILL
▼剖面B-B，section B-B ©TURTLEHILL
▼移动镜面节点，mirror detail ©TURTLEHILL
Project Name: LowLowLand Art Space
Designer: TurtleHill Design
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Design & Completion Year 2019
Lead Designer: Jason Guo
Design Team: Zifegn Tan, Yueru Gu, Xiumeng Sheng, Yingxi Rong, Yongshi Deng, Jiayu Zeng, Zhuoqun Yu
Project Location: Guangzhou Dongshankou
Gross Building Area: 60 Square Meters
Photo Credits: Zhi Zhong, Yongshi Deng, Turtlehill Deisgn
Lighting Design: Qiuyue Wang
Products used in the Project: Mirror, Velvet, Plywood