Architects and industrial designers, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, have managed, ever so quietly (in a field not known for its diffidence), to provide us with a fascinating new slant on design’s speaking to questions of innovative cogency. Having been educated and having launched careers in the U.S., they quite recently (9 years ago) decamped back to the Orient, settling in that most historically glamorous and mysterious of Chinese cities, Shanghai.

The factor they decided they could not live without was Shanghai’s legacy of dark, narrow streets and corridors. From a North American standpoint that would seem to be an odd attraction, given the premium here upon expansive, uncluttered configuration. In the photo above, the heaviness of the stairways drags down the lightness of the room’s context. What could they be thinking of? 

A bar can be a place of profound reflection, and their bar design here helps the tippler along. Shanghai was a notorious scene for confounding sweetness and light. And the dynamic duo have gambled and won by virtue of setting in relief a dark, troubling gravity against which to contend.
This fireplace with attitude certainly goes beyond, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Mix till it hurts, could be the watchword in this architectural mise en scene.

We shouldn’t underestimate the cinematic qualities of their design frappe. Young buyers—as with this shoe store cum haunted house— have not been slow to embrace the dramatic heart of this production team.
Their product lines run from tables and chairs to lighting. I love the punchy, sword-like figures here, in comprising both upswing and downturn.
Neri And Hu are presently intent upon extending their market beyond China. (They have recently opened offices in New York and London.) Neri has wittily summed up their partnership (and marriage): “If a project was led only by me, I think it would go crazy. If a project was entirely led by her, it would be completely monastic.”


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