A white house

Growing home in Shanghai

26 August 2020

RIGI designed a 3-story residence in a common Shanghai old-style lane, with the aim to transmit beauty and happiness. There are plenty of similar buildings in Shanghai which is not new, and located in a naturally-formed block, carrying the memories of this city.

The original architecture was completed in 1947, which consists of 3 floors, a surface of 240㎡, 5.5 meters in width, and about 15.2 meters in depth. It faces south and has entrances in both sides. Due to the complicated compartments and deep depth, the overall indoor lighting was poor. Part of the building structure needs to be repaired, the whole architecture reinforced, and unified the height of the entire building. Skylight and staircase are designed to be the center of the architecture, reshaping the whole logic and form of this 3-story building.

Liu Kai, chief designer of RIGI designed a semi-opened area on the 1st floor which blurs the boundary between indoor and outdoor. After reconstruction, the original isolated courtyard has a new connection with the 3-story space. The semi-outdoor space adds enough warmth into living room. Sunshine, plant, interior, exterior, and blurry boundary allows spaces and life scene to switch freely. A hole is reserved in the courtyard, where to plant tree in spring, which could accompany the kids to grow up.

On the 1st floor, the sunlight living-dining room and the kitchen are designed as a whole space, where family spend most of time together. RIGI hopes this space belongs to every scene of life, instead of being defined by functions. 

On the 2nd floor, the door and the storage space are hidden behind the wall, which creates a clean and complete area. During sunny days, it will be a warm family space.

The kid's bed, desk and storage space are connected and let the kid climbing stairs, playing in the courtyard, allowing him to know about the changing world from another dimension.

Following natural daylight, going up along the steel staircase, we can see modified skylights, vertical lighting windows and a pure outdoor space. This is the area RIGI modified most. The whole building starts from light and vertical space. For the main bedroom, the designer kept the slope structure of original building, unified the cloakroom and the toilet into a box, reserving the original architectural form to the largest extent and creating a new connection in the original space which is not big.


photo by Tian Fangfang


Liu Kai, Founder of RIGI Design, Founder and Creative Director of L-HOUSE, and MA student supervisor of Donghua University. As one of the most creative designers in China, LIU Kai's design concerns about the behaviors and experiences, which changes with the spirit of times, commercial trends and lifestyles; cares about the relationship between people and life. LIU Kai puts forward the design theory of product terminal creatively, and through thinking and understanding of the present changing times and life-style, he develops a unique design strategy and logic. In LIU Kai's design, houses diversified design methods and forms his unique design style which was transformed completely into his works.

RIGI design, founded by Liu Kai, has completed many successful works in brand design, space design, visual design, and product design. It has become one of the most creative design teams in China.

Better design, Better life, Liu Kai believes that definitive, clear and warm designs are the designs that belong to this era.