A White Canvas

A new creative office space in Shenzhen opts for shadows and form play over colour

A white wall is a perfect canvas for the interplay of light and shadow. Bloom Design recently crafted a subtle space of whiteness in Shenzhen for the company’s own creative minds to conceive ideas as they immerse in nature’s light show. The 280-square-metre space for the southern Chinese-based design and branding company is located in a mixed-use building. Immediately upon entering into the space, one is absorbed in the stark white-on-white experience of white walls, white epoxy flooring and white furniture. Natural light floods the interiors through large windows, adding brightness and warmth to the workplace, while a variety of plants and their variously shaped leaves cast lively shadows across the white surfaces, forming pattern play evocative of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. To Chen Xiaohu, Bloom Design’s creative director, these patterns that change throughout the day manifest time’s passing, which he poetically articulates: ‘A space that displays the movements of light and shadow is one where time becomes tangible.’

The office has a simple layout. Transparent glass walls separate the studio area and the private office spaces. Transparency ensures that natural light reaches the whole office while maintaining visual connection between the different zones, helping to facilitate communication between creative teams. Meanwhile, white curtains installed in the private offices offer seclusion when needed. According to Chen, the whiteness and transparency of the space encapsulate the company’s young and open-minded spirit.

In the space, the creative team is encouraged to relax and daydream. The wide oak windowsills — a bit of warm respite from the otherwise all-white palette — beckon quiet moments to sit back and just observe the neighbourhood happenings below, and when opened, birdsongs flood the office, becoming its unofficial soundtrack. Chen sees a botanical quality in the office, which he hopes stimulates creative insights.

While white and smooth finishing characterise the main office space, raw red-brick walls distinguish the entrance and adjoining corridor, where an artistically reinterpreted white neon sign contrasts with the otherwise Chinese landscape painting-inspired choreography of light and shadow inside. A metal shelf hangs from the red brick wall along the circulation corridor where material samples and other elements used in the company’s past projects are meticulously displayed, revealing fragments of the company’s creative spirit.

Asked how his team has responded to the space, Chen smiles and says: ‘Feelings are very personal. Every individual should have his or her unique answer.’ This workplace is not only a white canvas for a performance of light and shadow, it is also a canvas on which imaginative souls paint their ideas and feelings.

Text / Sylvia Chan
Images / Nie Xiaocong