Suzhou, Venice of the East, is well-known for meticulously designed Chinese gardens (yuanlin). How would Seesaw Coffee, a specialty coffee brand originated from Shanghai, find its spatial character in Suzhou? How would the classical Chinese garden be readapted and fit into a limited indoor space located in a shopping mall? In search of the possibilities, Nota Architects has been exploring between the spirits of Chinese garden and its meaning in the contemporary context, and completed a gardening practice (zaoyuan) with reinterpretation of materials, functions and garden imagery.
Introduced by a wooden plaque with the brand icon, the blue-base-terrazzo Lotus Pond (hechi) with loose sets of one table & four stools is presented in the middle, on which bridges, the cashier and the bar come across. The coffee bar, made of customized laminated glass, almost floats in the water, giving dramatically different perception in color as one moves around.
▼来访者由主入口Seesaw字样的木质牌匾引入，visitors are introduced in by a wooden plaque with the brand icon
▼入口展架，the display track
▼由蓝底水磨石构成的“荷池”上是咖啡吧台和收银台（吧台和收银台在右侧），the blue-base-terrazzo Lotus Pond (hechi) with loose sets of one table & four stools is presented in the middle, on which bridges, the cashier and the bar come across (on the right side of the picture)
▼蓝白色水磨石细部，detail of the white and blue terrazzo
The white-base-terrazzo, standing for white sand (baisha), fills the space between the buildings and the water. As per the architectural forms in classical gardens, the waterscape is surrounded by a series of verandas (youlang), pentagon pavilions (wujiaoting), and water pavilions (shuixie), which provides not only a wide range of seating options but also dynamic spatial experiences.
▼四周墙面依次布置“游廊”、“角亭”、“重楼”，“湖石”、“水榭”、“半轩”，“水榭”与边上的小轩，the waterscape is surrounded by a series of verandas (youlang), pentagon pavilions (wujiaoting), and water pavilions (shuixie)
Similar as the window walls in the classical gardens, window frames of varies propor-tions and sizes are carved out of white painted walls, creating depths of sceneries mixed with landscape and people. The landscape outside the glass curtain wall is borrowed in as parts of the “borrowing scenery” (jiejinng), which extends the garden imagery to a greater perception. Piling stones (dieshi), is also deconstructed here and recomposed by cement fibre boards to perform as a sales rack. Plant species are selected per the spatial atmosphere and indoor living conditions, gently lit by customized outdoor-feel landscape lighting.
▼门洞和窗洞将景框入观者的视线，window frames of varies propor-tions
Track-lights filtered through the metal roofs, casting woven shadows, tone of which re-appears in the morning led by actual sunlights. It is an imagery extracted and inspired by lights and shadows of the real, and all together, a hand-scroll of classical Chinese gar-dens.
▼白天日影斜入，榭、轩、廊，逐个体量明晰，空间感受籍时而变，track-lights filtered through the metal roofs, casting woven shadows, tone of which re-appears in the morning led by actual sunlights
▼夜间自然光消减，重重叠影应之显现，the dance of light and shadow in the night
▼吧台夜景，night view of the bar