“One can say that the city itself is the collective memory of its people, and like memory it is associated with objects and places. The city is the locus of the collective memory. This relationship between the locus and the citizenry then becomes the city’s predominant image, both of architecture and of landscape, and as certain artifacts become part of its memory, new ones emerge.” –Aldo Rossi.
Neri&Hu’s design for Piaget’s new storefront on Canton Road draws on the wealth of historic architecture in Kowloon, channeling the innate respect for craftsmanship integral to the watchmaking heritage.
Bespoke ceramic tiles glazed in nuanced shades of blue lend the store its architectural presence, complemented by an array of customized metals and concrete – all woven together like an exquisite instrument.
The project celebrates the storefront as a jeweled urban monument and repurposes the commercial façade to bring a new monumental presence and civic potency.
Neri&Hu approached the project with a desire to respond not only to Piaget’s dedication to craftsmanship and innovation in the field of chorography, but also to the site location itself.
Situated in the historic wharf area of Kowloon, this district possesses a set of unique qualities. Energized by the canton railway, which once linked to the mainland, it is a vibrant hub for trade and culture, and this dynamic exchange is reflected in the material selections.
The metal-work makes reference to the site’s industrial past, while the ceramic tiles are sourced from Jingdezhen, a place that has been producing porcelain for over 1,000 years.
Aldo Rossi explained in his seminal work “The Architecture of the City” how memory attaches itself to spatial structures within the built environment. Through time these structures are replaced by modern artifacts which re-write upon the canvas of the city, and thus new artifacts become part of the collective memory of the city.
In many ways Canton Road is still synonymous with luxury retail in Hong Kong; over decades, however, with a constant rotation of tenants and their endless competition for attention, it has become increasingly difficult to filter through the chaos.
Neri&Hu introduces a calm and elegant presence to the storefront condition through the use of authentic crafted materials, whose natural qualities are highlighted by their placement and detailing.
Custom-shaped handmade ceramic tiles, glazed in nuanced shades of deep blue, are framed in bronze. The combination of materials woven together in refined detail injects Piaget’s DNA into its new home on Canton Road.
Much like civic monuments of ancient times, this approach reinforces the notion of architecture as a cultural symbol for the city and a mirror to our shared heritage and values. Source by Neri&Hu.
Location: 17 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Partners-in-charge: Lyndon Neri, Rossana Hu
Associate-in-charge: Lara de Pedro Ubierna
Design team: Ren Tan, Ji Chao, Weili Zhang, Nicolas Fardet
Interior design: Studioparisien
Design Management: Lui Design
Lighting: Voyons Voir Lighting Design
Façade Contractor: United Engineering Ltd
Ceramic Construction: Jingdezhen seed new materials technology Co. Ltd
Steel Construction: Shanghai Huge Promise Industry Co.Ltd
Millwork Construction: Kingwood International Enterprises Ltd
Date of Completion: February, 2023