2019 London Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Image Credit : Yao Li



Project Overview

This is a renovation project. The original building complex was Shanghai New Phoenix Town Hotel operated by the Government of Yangpu District, Shanghai, which integrated lodging, catering and entertainment functions. Due to social progress and changes of government policies, the hotel decayed gradually. The project aimed to turn the old hotel into a creative design park through functional replacement-oriented renovation and regeneration, with a view to meeting increasingly diversified user demands. In this way, the designers intended to inject new vitality into the building as well as the ambient decayed neighborhood.
The first step of the design solution was to identify targeted renovations of the original hotel space, and to demolish and upgrade spaces that affected actual use, in order to adapt to demands of a new creative workspace. Then, the design team rearranged usable indoor and outdoor spaces based on the organizational structure, workflow and special needs of the enterprise.

Project Commissioner

Shanghai Ronggu Asset Management Co., Ltd.

Project Creator

Shanghai United Design Group Co., Ltd.


Shanghai United Design Group Co., Ltd.

Project Brief

The original New Phoenix Town Hotel was a complex of three-store building, with eight two-store guest rooms, about 5,000㎡ underground space and three gardens.
The principle of transformation design was to respect the overall layout of the original buildings, keep the difference between the original roads and buildings in the park unchanged; retaining the original garden landscape and the trees inside, balancing the green space by adding new sunken gardens and other space to maintain the original green rate unchanged.
The designers made full use of the existing environmental advantages and landscape resources of our site, creating high efficient and comfortable space through the new concept of “garden office”.
The design principle was to retain the garden landscape and the trees inside as they are. In the design of the new gates, the “penetrating” design method was adopted. There was no roof in the part of the gates, which allowed the branches of trees to penetrate through the steel beams to penetrate the roof.

Project Innovation/Need

By making full use of the existing environmental advantages and landscape resources of the site, drawing design inspiration from nature, utilizing the original three gardens and adding a new one, the designers managed to form four garden spaces with different themes, namely, “Front Garden”, “Nature Garden”, “Corporate Grove” and “Damie Garden”. By introducing landscape into the overall interior workplace and adopting the “garden office” concept, they improved the quality of the workspace, and created an efficient, comfortable and value-added working ambience.

Design Challenge

The original New Phoenix Town Hotel is a complex consisting of a three-storey main building and eight two-storey guest room buildings, with about 5,000 m2 underground and semi-underground space, as well as three gardens. The challenge was to carry out renovation work under the prerequisite of respecting the overall appearance of the former building complex and retaining the trees already existed.
The site of the design park was originally inaccessible, negative and isolated. For this reason, the designers reorganized the walking circulation routes within the park according to the organizational structure and working characteristics of the enterprise. They added glass corridors at the ends of smaller buildings, so the landscape platforms on 1F of those buildings and the roofs of the added main corridors can help to enhance the three-dimensional connections between buildings, thereby generating a new circulation system in the design park.


1. The exterior walls of the main building adopt vertical white terracotta louvers as brand-new building skin. With gaps between louver blades, it is possible to ensure the visibility of the red bricks on the original exterior walls, retain the surrounding residents’ memories of the original building, and also bring new life to the old building and rebuild a brand-new image for it following the functional replacement.
2. Any extensions necessitated by functional demands echo the original buildings’ appearance as much as possible, and were added in a low-profile manner to “vanish” the volume. Extensions caused the reduction of green space. To solve this, the design team tried to create new sunken gardens and add green space elsewhere, thereby to maintain the original ratio of green space.

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations in commercial projects. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow.
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