Willow Court Apartment

Gabriel Gomera Studio refurbished an apartment into an historical building in Shanghai restoring its past appearance and creating a space that invites to contemplation.

Gabriel Gomera Studio, Willow Court Apartment, Shanghai, China
Willow Court is one of the most emblematic apartment buildings from 1930s Shanghai. Designed by the French architectural studio Leonard-Veysseyre-Kruze, it is located at 34 Fuxing Street, in the heart of the former French colony.
The apartment commissioned to Gabriel Gomera Studio was recently acquired by a French family of Chinese origin. It consists in a living space, with a day area that incorporates an open kitchen, a small service area and two bedrooms – a master bedroom and a guest room – each with their own bathrooms. It has been redesigned as a mini urban boutique hotel, while also responding to the clients’ passion for an Art Deco architectural style and their interest in Asian culture. 
Gabriel Gomera Studio, Willow Court Apartment, Shanghai, China
Gabriel Gomera Studio, Willow Court Apartment, Shanghai, China

The apartment had undergone renovations of very poor quality in the 1990s, which did not conserve any of the original elements from its elegant construction. But by looking at some of the neighboring apartments it could be restored based on a close image of its past appearance.

The initial work was to demolish and empty the inside to get to the main structural elements, in this way restoring the space to its original state. After this, meticulous work was carried out to find the right materials and constructive solutions to provide new functional elements based on a new contemporary language that reinterpreted the history and life of the space without falling into nostalgia and without renouncing current standards of quality and comfort.

Gabriel Gomera Studio, Willow Court Apartment, Shanghai, China
Gabriel Gomera Studio, Willow Court Apartment, Shanghai, China
In organizing this renovation, a plan for connected, fluid, flexible and open spaces was used. The new distribution connects the “public” or relational space with the private, looking for passages or transition spaces between them. Thus, an entrance hall leads to a living room that incorporates an open kitchen and a dining space. From this room and opposite from the kitchen area, a practical divider developed for the project leads to the two bedrooms and bathrooms while acting as a closure. As if it were an old “Art Deco Chinese screen”, this divider becomes a membrane that closes, opens or hints at what is behind it, generating transition spaces and exterior visions, generating light and its opposite, shadow, one of the most seductive elements of the space.

Willow Court Apartment, Shanghai, China
Architects: Gabriel Gomera Studio
Designers: Gabriel Gomera, Ruben Paez
Design Team: Angel Roig, Josep Puchades, Eva Sanchez
Construction: IE Design&Construction
Area: 100 sqm
Completion: 2014

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