Perfectly Off-Piste

Type: Art gallery
Location: Central
Client: Corporate
Size: 3,500sqft
Completion: 2021 Q1

When you think “gallery”, you usually imagine white walls, grey cement floors, and spotlights.

But that’s not all there is to this one – there are plenty of windows providing intriguing views to different perspectives of the city.

We began this project by exploring how 3812 came about: it was during a ski trip to the Chamonix when the co-founders became inspired by the infamous La Vallée Blanche, which stands at an altitude of 3,812 meters. From this, we interpreted the idea literally by creating a series of contouring white slats at the gallery door, which offers a glimpse into the gallery. The slats are set against an almost glaringly minimal, all-white background – the pure whiteness of the lobby provides a cleansing effect for the visitors, while the shadow from the slats lead the way in.

When you step inside, a different world is unveiled, from an all-white enclosed lobby to a gallery with a controlled expanded view. What we created, in fact, is just a blank canvas for showcasing artworks using the simplicity of space with solid planes, light and shadow.

Along with Calvin, the founder, we carefully selected which windows to keep in order to maximise the relationship between the solid planes and the artworks. We also collaborated with Calvin and the lighting supplier to design for flexible but yet precise lighting provisions for the artworks.

For Window 1, we kept a full-height window overlooking Government House and Hong Kong Park. This juxtaposes with the adjoining artwork; we love how the dirt stubbornly hangs on to the window frame, which seems itself a work of art.

For Window 2, we closed off the two window modules and left the periphery open to allow in light. From the back, this provides a dramatic, glaring effect that frames the artwork.

Window 3 provides an alcove for discussions. We closed off the bottom half of the window to screen off visual noise, while layers of skyscrapers offer an interesting dialogue.

For Window 4, we created a flexible gallery space that can be closed off with sliding doors. Meanwhile, the exterior view is cut off by a row of clerestory windows.

Finally, the slats of Window 5 let the light in from the all-white foyer, while the greenery through the full height window behind the artwork creates a sense of depth.

This gallery space gave us a small challenge that was off-piste – but just a little, not too much, and with lots of views to spare.