on the occasion of beijing design week 2014 (BJDW), local firm BaO architects (benjamin beller) erected a pink ‘fly tower’, sponsored by stellar works, within the middle of a turn-of-the-century guild house in the chinese capital’s historic dashilar district.


the structure occupies the entirety of the building’s central octagonal void, traversing all three floors of its program; thus boldly standing out amongst its lavish architectural surroundings. the juxtaposition of the contemporary tower with its art deco setting rejects any sense of nostalgia, and instead embraces global conditions of heterogeneity as a starting point for the discussions on crafts, design, urbanization, and cultural development.

BaO’s bright pink tower is set within an art deco building
image © designboom (also main image)



the plinth was dedicated to a pop-up library where the visitors are able to access, read and take away publications on the issues discussed during the BJDW’s program ‘making futures’ forum. the structure was served by a series of modular seats, freeing the ground floor of the atrium and transforming it into a space for events, lectures and discussions. during these gatherings, the tower acted as a vertical shaft providing the necessary technical support to the events underneath, the same way a fly tower would function above a theater stage.

the ‘making futures’ forum took place below the hanging tower
image © BaO architects



the upper portion of the design functioned as a vertical exhibition. as people ascended to the higher levels, a series of punctured windows were revealed where small expositions, along with short movies and documentaries related to the fields of fashion, architecture and design were design. the openings were made out of a stretchable white fabric which framed the oblique views internally, while creating a tectonic composition within the pink artifact that could also be discovered from below.

the pink tower occupies a central void in an historic building
image © BaO architects


the volume traverses three floors of the building
image © BaO architects


view showing the top level
image © BaO architects


the lightweight structure hovers above the forum space
image © designboom


windows are punctured through the structure
image © BaO architects


looking up from the ground floor of the atrium
image © designboom