Valued moments in architecture are manifested through the synthesis of the exterior with the interior. In an urban context, these moments are often public and ephemeral, noticed only through the interplay of dappling sun-rays, shifting shadows and passing breeze as one strolls down the street. However, sometimes, our encounter of nature can be more intimate and permanent.

In the design of our workplace, that moment was revealed to us in a forgotten courtyard. Here, we found an old chimonanthus tree, also known also as a ‘wintersweet’. We wanted it to be our secret, and more importantly, we wanted to protect it.

The site is located in a li-long – a typical late 19th century Shanghai neighborhood characterized by the laneways that connect the history, buildings, inhabitants and gossips within. We surrounded the tree with the spaces we would spend most of our time in, namely the conference room and our working area.

A light color palette was decided for the work spaces, transforming the interiors into constantly changing dapple of light and shadow from the tree. The Wintersweet is integrated into the built form, and we enjoy it as a moment of architecture in our everyday.


  • NET AREA 133m2
  • SCOPE Architecture, interior design, custom furniture & lighting design
  • DESIGN December 2013 – January 2014
  • CONSTRUCTION February – April 2014
  • PROJECT TEAM Christina Luk, Wesley Shu, Scott Baker, Mavis Li
  • GENERAL CONTRACTOR Shanghai Dong Yuan
  • PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Dixie for LOTAN Architectural Photography
  • FURNITURE SUPPLIER Hay, Paustian, Fermob