Hansgrohe, a world leader in kitchen and bathroom tap and fittings, has been at the forefront of science and technology in the industry for more than 120 years. To foster dialogue between the brand and Chinese consumers, Hansgrohe commissioned Ippolito Fleitz Group to design its first innovation centre abroad, the 'Hansgrohe InnovationParc', in Shanghai.
The Hansgrohe InnovationParc is housed in a three-storey industrial building on the west bank of Shanghai's Huangpu River, historically a manufacturing and trading area. The building was originally a shipyard; its architectural features, in particular its third floor with a chimney-shaped opening, inspired the redevelopment by Ippolito Fleitz Group, who created a space that transcends traditional boundaries. This new place is not just a showroom, an office or an event space, but a space open to all these functions, a space that can thus encourage open-mindedness and innovation.
In designing the space, designer from Ippolito Fleitz Group were guided by the concept of fluidity, both because Hansgrohe's business has to do with water and because the company's success is centred on the user and the constant question of how the user would interact with its products in multiple scenarios. This has been translated into an architectural language by reconstructing the journey of water within the building.
In Chinese thought, water symbolises intelligence, wisdom and softness. The first floor of the Hansgrohe space tells of water's constant adaptability, flexibility, agility as well as the adaptability of technology to consumer trends. This floor focuses on activation, emphasising the activities within the space rather than its static design. There are two entrances on opposite sides, with an innovation table in the middle, showing the path from idea to product and the latest research of the research and development team. The table is topped by wooden panels into which Laser Blade recessed fittings with General Lighting optics are inserted for even illumination of the entire surface.
Further inside, near the opposite entrance, is a digital water forest that invites interaction, providing insights into the brand's history and ideas. The space is designed without a predefined path for the customer, encouraging exploration and discovery. The individual trees in the forest are lit from below by Underscore RGB lightlines that provide variable illumination in tones ranging from green to blue.
The second floor is dedicated to product innovation and attention to detail. It houses the research and development department for prototyping, areas reminiscent of showers and a nimble office area, where meeting rooms are lit by Blade R that also house recessed Easy.
In the lobby there is a cosy spa-like atmosphere: customers can enter areas reminiscent of egg-shaped showers and try out products, experimenting with different shower types. This intimate and immersive experience engages customers with water and creates lasting memories and affinities. In this area there are also many plants that are illuminated by Palco projectors installed on the shower structures, the light coming from below casts the shadows of the plants on the walls and ceiling, helping to emphasise the pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, while diffuse but non-invasive light is provided by ∅ 17 mm Laser recessed fixtures.
The third floor shows the power and creativity of innovation. Here you will find versatile workspaces, a conference area that allows for different configurations, and a hybrid meeting space. This floor is designed to invite collaboration, encourage concentration, and foster innovation. It features a striking architectural element: a ceiling with large curved parts that narrows into a bottleneck with a height of 18 metres. This element connects the inside with the outside through a skylight, allowing natural light to illuminate the area. To take full advantage of this extraordinary architecture, Ippolito Fleitz Group has positioned a digital waterfall that seems to descend from the chimney-like structure. Just below the waterfall is the events and workshop area, a versatile space where people can gather and collaborate, as if around a bonfire. In this space characterised by curved shapes, Agora RGBW floodlights are aimed upwards and indirectly illuminate this area, immersing everything in a blue atmosphere.
Flexibility makes the space of the Innovation Parc exceptional. The design allows for seamless transformations. The possibilities are endless, from a vibrant, colourful environment to a more sober ambience. Ippolito Fleitz Group has created a space that does not impose its own identity, but evolves according to the activities of the users and the brand itself.
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