Nestled in a turn of the century brick building that was once a warehouse for the East India company, a rumored opium factory in the 1930s, and an artists’ residence in the mid-2000s, WeWork Weihai Lu is surrounded by an old residential district in the heart of Shanghai.
A historical building that sat vacant for several years the effort was to activate the space and create areas for members and guests to engage. WeWork’s design team collaborated with Shanghai-based design studio Linehouse to celebrate the impressiveness of the space and its rich history.
The triple-height central atrium functions as a common area, and has several key areas of activation for members to engage. From the desks to the soft seating areas and the community bar there are different ways for members to connect with one another during a meeting, over a coffee, or by happenstance.
As a driver of community and collaboration, we included the additional of a stunning steel staircase to connect the floors and provide a way for members to circulate the massive space. Painted an ivy green to complement the red brick of the existing heritage building, the staircase is sculptural element on its own. Cladded in oak wood panels — one side painted in varying shades of blue — the panels of the staircase alternate colors creating gradient tones that shift from wood to blue. As it weaves through floors 1-3, it offers various vantage points of the activity in the central atrium, offering an ever-changing view of the stairs themselves.
Custom neons add an element of fun and whimsy. A blue and pink neon fan gives the back bar located in the heritage building a retro tropical vibe, while “Ring for Service” neon greets members and guests behind the community.