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The art container

The transformation of architecture and freedom of space offer the greatest possibilities as seen at the Song Art Museum designed by Vermilion Zhou Design Group.

PHOTOS BY Photographer: Zhi Xia, Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Song Art Museum is an "art container", with "art" as the mainstay and "container" as the supplement. It transforms everything into geometry and purity and takes “non-action” from the outside to within. Designed by Vermilion Zhou Design Group, it stands for a new kind of possibility in terms of art and architecture coming together in this refined way.

A private art museum, the Song Art Museum is planned and set up by Mr. Wang Zhongjun, renowned artwork collector, philanthropist, and also the founder and Chairman of Huayi Brothers Media Group. Located along the Wenyu River, Shunyi District, Beijing, the establishment of Song Art Museum is a space for Mr. Wang to house his precious art collection and also be a center for research and artistic creations.

In 2002, Vermilion Zhou Design Group was founded by Kuang Ming (Ray)Chou (Founder / Creative Director) and Vera Chu (Founder / Lighting Design Director) in Shanghai. Later in 2009, with Garvin Hung(Interior Design Director) joining the team, Vermilion Zhou Design Group completed more than 800 projects across countries in Asia-Pacific. The talented team has provided services to a variety of clients, ranging from public spaces, residential spaces to commercial spaces such as hotels, offices, restaurants.

At Vermilion Zhou Design Group, they never stop breaking boundaries and embracing new possibilities. Most importantly, the aspiration for the oriental modern lifestyle is what the designs are built upon, which also forms Vermilion Zhou’s unique identity in the field. To achieve a fine balance between functions and aesthetics in the design, the team is made up of creative minds from architecture, interior, lighting, graphic, and product design backgrounds to gain different perspectives in each project. The ultimate goal is to succeed in creating highly functional designs that take people on a joyful and exquisite journey.

The original architecture of Victorian style with Western-style gardens, like a woman with excessive makeup, is out of fashion. The owner’s intention is to transform its function into an artistic space for the public to appreciate. The first step was to remove all the necklaces, earrings, clothing, and decorations to show it in its purest form.

With the entire base shaped like a Chinese long scroll, they reorganized the relationship between the building and the courtyards. They scattered 199 pine trees within. With the art gallery as the main building, they restored classical buildings and placed archways to the left and right, which not only realizes the owner’s preference but also positions the oriental style of the museum.

Leaving blank space is the highest artistic concept in the art of Chinese painting, whereas geometrical form is the most objective expression of Western logic and thought. For the architecture of the gallery, they removed the Western symbolism to give the purest white, and we used several different geometric structures to connect and create a new corridor by bridging the unrelatedness between the old buildings and echoing the scenery among the courtyards; the indoor ground going underground creates a vertical openness, extending the dimensionality. The significance of the museum’s existence is the presentation of art. As an exhibition platform, the definition of the Song Art Museum is an "art container", with "art" as the mainstay and "container" as the supplement, and it serves as a form that can be replicated in the future. The transformation of architecture and freedom of space offer the greatest possibilities.

Song Art Museum transforms everything into geometry and purity and takes “non-action” from the outside to within. What they offer is a kind of "clean" existence. When “contemporary art” enters various forms, they can display their vocabulary and vitality without scruples. The courtyard is surrounded by pine trees, providing the external vitality of the Song Art Museum. The scenery becomes the breath of both the inside and outside, and the oriental freehand brushwork also becomes the natural rhythm of mutual reflection between traditional and modern architecture.

Song Art Museum design by Vermilion Zhou Design Group most recently won the 2021 Architizer A+Firm Award "Best in Typology - Interior Design-Institutional/ Cultural" category.

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