Architect Briar Hickling Takes on Shanghai

When New Zealander Briar Hickling (pictured right) moved to Shanghai in 2009, she never expected she’d still be living there to this day, Leanne Amodeo reports for Architecture Now.

As luck would have it, the interior designer, who graduated from Wellington’s Massey University, met her current business partner while working at arguably China’s most internationally renowned contemporary architectural practice Neri & Hu.

Hickling and Swedish-Chinese architect Alex Mok were both senior associates at the practice when they collaborated on a major hospitality project. The experience reinforced their shared design sensibilities, cementing a solid professional relationship that eventually saw them branch out on their own.

They established multi-disciplinary studio Linehouse in 2014 and continue to exercise the holistic design approach and careful attention to detail each developed in their previous roles.

Most appealing about their work (the majority of which is based in Shanghai) is that it bristles with an energetic sense of poetry and narrative.

As Hickling reflects, “An important thing for us is to have a strong poetic concept and to ensure it’s realised in the final outcome. Alex and I are always trying to create unique spatial qualities, rather than simply decorating, so everything we do; every decision we make has meaning.”

They are prodigious in their output, no doubt aided by a local construction industry that’s as fluid as it is fast paced. A number of recently completed workplace interiors highlight their adeptness at adaptive reuse, however, it’s Linehouse’s retail and hospitality portfolios that reveal the design strengths of an emerging practice at the top of its game.

These projects are dynamic in their spatial configuration, making for intelligent planning that articulates intuitive circulation paths and embraces any volumetric challenge.

Hickling and Mok are currently working on a workplace project for Canadian brand Herschel, a tea house in the arts district of Shanghai and the fit-out for street wear brand ALL SH’s second Shanghai store.

Original article by Leanne Amodeo, Architecture Now, May 4, 2017.

Tags: Architecture Now  Briar Hickling  Linehouse  Shanghai  

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