The acceleration in urban development across the globe has created the need for a breath of nature amongst metropolitan dwellers. As a response to the lack of green space in many contemporary cities, the millennial generation is resorting to the approach of merging their living space with the outdoor, forming a trend of the urban jungle where they can directly immerse themselves into an escapist environment.
While this movement has begun in the mid 2010s, it has become more prominent during the pandemic—when people are forced to spend more time indoors. Due to a new surge of demand in plants both as interior decoration and natural air filter, there is also a rise in plant and floral shops. These shops, while varied in designs, often take on the rustic and native vibe to communicate a complementary language. To avoid the common language of both floral design and plant shop interior designs, there are initiatives that push the field forward with their experimental practice, such as R Society.
As an independent floral expressionist, R Society has a vision of pushing the art of floral design in relation to space. Using their philosophy as an inspiration, 0321 Studio created a cold and stark space to accommodate the required building programme. Situated in Yixing, China, the space is a minimalist manifestation of three intersecting volumes. Covered in grey concrete, the exterior is a distinct contrast with its lush surrounding—visible in its reflective entry doorway. Standing like a monolithic installation the facades are voided of any signage to indicate the inner building function, enticing the curiosity of passersby.
Entering the store, visitors are engulfed in grey palette that transfers through textural stone walls, concrete flooring, metallic furnishes and industrial light tubes. The starkness is amplified with a narrow circulation path that fluctuates in elevation, opening up to different spatial widgets such as resting spots, waiting zone, and workshop area. These widgets are connected with a series of reflective shelves that also act as visual linkage in a zig-zag architectural typology.
The only pop of colour inside is presented through earth-tone marble surfaces. They appear on a circular table and a cubic sink. The design decision might seem spontaneous, but it highlights the caring process for the flowers—arranging, watering, and displaying. The organic pattern of these marble slabs also correspond with the plants’ natural attributes. However, this consistency in characteristics is broken by the aforementioned metallic shelves as a way to exaggerate the contrast between greenery and modernisation, intensifying the importance of nature in the new age.
R Society by 0321 Studio is an architectural project that offers neutrality for a focus of the subjects inside, as the minimalist and futuristic aesthetic gives an opposition to the vibrancy of flora. It’s a vanguard vision to push the ordinary outlook toward newness.