Stefano Boeri launches nature-inspired interior design studio following public transformation of Shanghai Stock Exchange

More than being an expansion into the world of interior design, this is a matter of seizing an opportunity to take on new challenges
– Stefano Boeri

Italian architect Stefano Boeri, best-known for his ‘Vertical Forest’ tree-lined towers, is launching a division of his practice dedicated to interior and product design, he has told CLADglobal.

SBA Interiors will also deepen Boeri’s research into sustainability and ways in which to make spaces better for human health and wellbeing.

The decision to start the new branch of his firm, Stefano Boeri Architetti, follows the Italian’s involvement in three interior projects in China: the Sino-Italy Design Center in Lize, a commercial complex in Shanghai, and a renovation of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The latter saw the studio preserve the historic architectural landmark, while significantly altering its interior circulation and bringing in elements of its Vertical Forest ethos to create a green public landmark “unlike anything else in Chinese cities.”

“We were confronted with a building that stands as a testimony of the transition of Chinese culture from its rural condition to urban complexity,” Boeri told CLADglobal/ “As a renewal project, there were many urban implications, with the aim to give back to the city a historic building while transforming it into a space with public value.

“The process of intervention was similar to acupuncture, touching strategic areas, such as the courtyard and inserting particular industrial elements into the corridors, leaving historical traces visible in the finishing of the spaces.

“The most powerful operation was to insert the notion of “void” through the typological transformation of the former plateau, where the main operations of the stock exchange were held, into a gardened courtyard, a space of decongestion that is rare in Chinese cities.”

Boeri revealed that the success of the project helped inspire the creation of SBA Interiors, which is already working on a number of projects, including a school and library and further public spaces.

“More than being an expansion into the world of interior design, this is a matter of seizing an opportunity to take on new challenges,” he said. “We always try to have a holistic approach towards architecture, and subsequently to the variety of disciplines that are part of it.”

Meanwhile, the main arm of his firm is continuing work on several major architectural projects in both Europe and Asia – including forested towers in Utrecht, Nanjing, Paris, Tirana, Shanghai and Liuzhou.

They are also organising the first World Forum on Urban Forests, which will take place in Mantova, Italy, from 28 November to 1 December to kickstart “a global campaign on urban forestry in order to multiply the presence of forests and trees in our cities.”

In his own words
Stefano Boeri on why he is launching an SBA Interiors

Why have you decided to expand into the world of interiors?

More than being an “expansion” into the world of interior design, this is a matter of seizing an opportunity to take on new challenges. We always try to have a holistic approach towards architecture, and subsequently to the variety of disciplines that are part of it –– be it interior or product design, or even urban design. Our approach somehow remains the same: the intersection between sustainability and a dialectic process to be established with urbanity, although obviously we will adapt to specific situations in regards to things like scale.

How have you found it so far?

Every new challenge, every change of position or perspective allows to enrich our compendium of strategies. Shifting the scale and also location of our work – from Europe to Asia – has brought the studio to face new realities and scenarios, with their complexities and their potentialities.

What is the most innovative element of your interior work?

Our work relies on a strategic urban perspective which, for me, it’s a matter of innovation. Having that mindset, we transform existing passages into gardened courtyards and staircases into urban halls.

Is there any overlap between your vertical forests work and interior design work?

There will always be an overlapping in our works, despite their obvious difference, because of their intrinsic value. This is something that locates every piece of design in a field of relationships. A symbolic significance that is somehow unique.

Our projects have a profound meaning attached only to themselves, but are also linked to a group of approaches that shaped all of them. For example, we do not talk about the Vertical Forest as an isolated project, but as an example of this approach of ours: one where architecture, in all of its scales, acts as a support to life.

Stefano Boeri  vertical forests  CLADglobal  SBA Interiors  Shanghai Stock Exchange 
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Italian architect Stefano Boeri, best-known for his ‘Vertical Forest’ tree-lined towers, is launching a division of his practice dedicated to interior and product design, he has told CLADglobal. SBA Interiors will also deepen Boeri’s research into sustainability and ways in which to make spaces better for human health and wellbeing. The decision to start the new branch of his firm, Stefano Boeri Architetti, follows the Italian’s involvement in three interior
CLD,ARC,DES,PHR
SBA Interiors will deepen Boeri’s research into sustainability and ways in which to make the spaces we occupy better for our health and wellbeing / Paolo Rosselli
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