The Alchemist

PrizeHonorable Mention in Interior Design /
Firm LocationHong Kong, Hong Kong
CompanyAtelier E Limited
Lead ArchitectEnoch Hui
Design TeamAmanda Chan, Hinson Siao
ClientCNA Metals Group
Project Videohttp://

Our client’s business began as a metal trading company. Through years of diversification it has now become a leader in the trading of recycled metals and e-scraps. Our client understands that recycling is not merely about preserving the environment but it is also about injecting new life into materials and products that would otherwise be considered dead or obsolete and in so doing they are reborn into new entities that will look and mean differently to all those who come into contact with them. This is the ideology that we seek to express in the new work spaces. The existing premise conveys a cave-like character in its exposed reinforced concrete structure and surface mounted mechanical services. We have deliberately kept them untreated and exposed as it represents the genesis of the Client’s business. Against this backdrop, we have woven an organic “ribbon” around the working spaces (conference room, manager rooms, pantry etc.) which in turn defines circulation volume in between. This “ribbon” is a physical embodiment of our client’s newer recycling business which brings life, fluidity and movement into an otherwise majestic yet rigid space. The “ribbon” is composed of thousands of recycled timber planks that are hinged with recovered metal works, chained and anchored to the floor as if they magically grew out of the ground. These rigid and heavy components weave a sinuous background that leads the eye as one walks along yet at the same time affords glimpses of the working environment between slats. This resulting space is therefore unconventional: it lacks rigidity that typifies modern office of efficiency and yet it’s framed and governed by its “natural “surrounding and intervening materials that is core to the client’s business. The same technique is also employed in other furniture such as desks, conference tables and even lamp shades.