The Attic | Flamingo Shanghai Office

The Attic | Flamingo Shanghai Office

In the daydream, the recollection of moments of confined, simple, shut-in space are experiences of heartwarming space, of a space that does not seek to become extended, but would like above all to be possessed. In the past, the attic may have seemed too small, it may have seemed cold in winter and hot in summer. Now, however, in memory recaptured through daydreams, it is hard to say through what syncretism the attic is at once small and large, warm and cool, always comforting.

In Gaston Bachelard’s seminal work The Poetics of Space he poses a metaphor of the house as a dwelling for the psyche; while the subterranean cellar represents our deep subconscious, the elevated attic is a space of quiet and rational thought. In our imaginations and memories, the attic is an oft forgotten space, a space of contradictions and possibilities, both dark and light, intimate and vast, daunting and comforting. Neri&Hu’s renovation of an industrial roof space in Shanghai into offices for a leading global insight and strategic consultancy Flamingo are inspired by these very paradoxical and enigmatic notions of the attic.

Essentially a flat roof converted to occupiable space with the addition of a steel A-frame structure, the site itself was a main driver for the design intent, which was to exaggerate and enhance the experience of the existing condition, that is, of occupying the space within the eaves of a roof—like an attic. The insertion of house-like volumes into a landscape of concrete platforms breaks down the homogenous space, such that the roof is not just a singular element, but can be experienced on multiple levels, from various vantage points and on various scales.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, (Beacon Press, Boston: 1969) p. 10

Traversing the open work area, one first experiences an extensive view of the original structures, while black metal mesh panels frame bright clerestory windows above. The exhibition area features a pure floating roof to encapsulate the space while leaving it open and flexible. The board room, on the other hand, is completely enclosed, but also captures the telltale double pitched roof and features lighting fixtures that mimic natural skylights. To culminate the attic experience, a narrow set of stairs brings you to a small mezzanine level, a hidden room nestled within the other larger ones, its windows offer stolen glimpses into other rooms—a moment to reflect in hindsight the spaces once occupied.

Owing to the nature of the client’s work, a given element of the project are pairings of rooms divided by one-way mirror. Expanding upon notions of voyeurism and scientific observation, the interspersed use of varying types of glass—clear glass, frosted glass, one-way mirror, and mirror—forces all the occupants into a state of slight discomfort, as roles of observer and observed can be reversed at any given turn. Through carefully crafted openings and layered materials, each enclosure becomes a viewing mechanism, a filter through which we examine others as we examine ourselves.

Flamingo Shanghai is part of Flamingo Group, a leading global insight and strategic consultancy. Flamingo offer creative brand thinking illuminated by profound people and cultural understanding.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, (Beacon Press, Boston: 1969) p. 10

Gross Area
600 m²


Completion Date
January 2014

August 2013 – January 2014

7th Floor, Building 11, 207 Mengzi Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai

The American Architecture Prize - AAPFlamingo Shanghai Office, Interior Design of the Year & Interior Design - Workplaces Category, Winner
Architizer A+ Awards 2016, Architizer WebsiteFlamingo Shanghai Office, Typology Categories | Commercial: Office Interiors category, Popular Choice Winner
Best on Archilovers 2015, by Archilovers Website Flamingo Shanghai Office, One of the best and the most "loved" projects on Archilovers
The Great Indoors Award 2015, by Frame Magazine, Maastricht, NetherlandsFlamingo Shanghai Office, Concentrate & Collaborate category, nomineed
Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards 2014, by Hong Kong Interior Design Association, Hong Kong, ChinaFlamingo Shanghai Office, Work Space Category, Gold Prize
A&D Trophy Awards 2014, by Perspective Limited, Hong Kong, ChinaFlamingo Shanghai Office, Best Commercial, Retail or Office Category, Certificate of Excellence
Best of Year Awards 2014, by Interior Design Magazine, New York, USA Flamingo Shanghai Office, Project Design’ under Small: Creative Category, Finalist
INSIDE: World Festival of Interiors 2014, Singapore Flamingo Shanghai Office, Completed Building, Shortlist