Yantai Experience: A New Paradigm in Exhibition Centre Design

More Design Office Transforms the Typical Exhibition Centre into a Human-Centric, Interactive Space

More Design Office (MDO) has reimagined the traditional exhibition centre with their Yantai Experience project. This innovative design, inspired by the coastal city's unique topography and culture, challenges the norm by placing a public area at its heart, fostering interaction and connection.

The typical exhibition centre is designed as a loop or a one-way path, often with a courtyard or site model at the centre. MDO, however, decided to create a public area at the centre of the Yantai Experience, a place for discussion and interaction. The other functions are arranged as peripheral crystal ramifications, connected to the central heart, making the space more human-centric and welcoming.

Yantai is a coastal city defined by its hilly topography, fresh seafood, and winter snow. MDO was commissioned to create a landmark at the corner of the central axis of a new development area, south of the Tashan Scenic Area. The surrounding building fabric is typified by tall blocks of office and residences. MDO envisioned the new building as a contrast to the homogeneity of the new development, through form, materiality, and relationship with the landscape.

From the exterior, the building appears as a series of fluted drums wrapped in a glass skirt. The drums vary in height depending on the internal function. They are finished with silver aluminum panels which gently reflect the sky and surrounding landscape. The glass skirt employs six meters tall frameless panels which allow light and views into the interior. Despite the plan appearing to be freeform, the facade was rationalized to use a single size and radius of curved glass with glass fins structure.

The central space is sunk down 1.2m to define the transition to the lounge area and to enhance the ceiling height. The step creates a column lined circular gallery, from which each external space is accessible and which encourages visual links between the different functions across the main space. In the most open part of the snow-crystal, MDO created a stepped amphitheater. This space is created for circular meetings, group activities, and for children to play; a multifunctional space that can be adapted to different purposes.

When first approached by the client, their intention was to create a temporary sales centre to host the negotiation activities for the development. MDO proposed a demountable and reusable option, in order to avoid producing a big amount of waste, that was rejected. However, MDO managed to convince the local government that a sales centre could be much more than just a commercial building. It could play an important role in the neighborhood as a catalyst of social interaction and inclusion. As a result, the local government finally decided to keep the architecture as a permanent establishment. When the development of the area will be over, all the sales functions will be dismissed and the government would make use of the architecture uniquely as a cultural and art centre for the emerging community.

The Yantai Experience Sales Centre is a testament to MDO's innovative approach to design. It not only serves its intended purpose as an exhibition centre but also fosters community interaction and engagement. This design has been recognized with a Silver A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award in 2023, a testament to its outstanding expertise and innovation.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: More Design Office
Image Credits: All materials on the site belong to More Design Office Co.,Ltd
Project Team Members: Architect: Justin Bridgland and Architect: Jaycee Chui
Project Name: Yantai Experience
Project Client: More Design Office

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