Hong Designworks Combines Unexpected Colors and Sensibilities at a Xi'an Office

The reception area of ECCO's Xi'an, China, workspace features a leather brick wall installation. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.

When Danish shoe manufacturer ECCO tasked Hong Designworks with creating a contemporary workspace in Xi’an, China, the design team found an imaginative way to incorporate the brand’s primary material—leather. The space, awash in golden hues and soft shapes, features an eye-catching leather brick installation in the reception area that also serves as a nod to the city’s centuries-old walls. Each multi-colored brick is impermanent, functioning as a gift box visitors can keep, enabling the wall to undulate and take on new forms over time. The various colors also represent distinct phases in the company’s leather-making process, while bringing to mind the patina of natural brick.

That same notion of fluidity is evident throughout the space. "Nature and rhythm are the sources of inspiration for ECCO, and provide the power for continuous innovation," the designers said, noting that these ideas shaped the overall aesthetic. The airy workspace, complete with a rest area and VIP lounge, incorporates natural elements, such as a striking suspended wooden table in the break room, as well as materials used by ECCO during the shoemaking process. Each area represents a cultural exchange, paying homage to ECCO's Danish roots as well as the history of its new locale in Xi'an and, ultimately, blending shoemaking traditions with modern sensibilities. 

Visitors are welcome to take home a leather brick as a keepsake. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
The ECCO Xi'an workspace features a palette of warm, natural hues. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
The reception area opens to a waiting area, complete with a photo of the wheat field next to ECCO's Danish factory, melding the two locations. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
A private resting area features hanging leather artworks inspired by the Shaanxi shadow puppetry and made of ECCO's leather materials, integrating Xi'an and Danish cultures. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
The conference room features handmade shadow puppetry art installations. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
The break area's horizontally suspended wooden table has steel structure inside, which enhances stability and is inserted into the wall to separate circulation routes. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
A bright yellow hue highlights defines the break area, surrounding the space from top to bottom. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
The VIP Lounge features a large glass curtain wall that provides an open view to the historical Yongning Gate nearby, which welcomed guests to the city centuries ago. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
For the VIP lounge, designers drew inspirations from shoe last, a traditional shoe-making tool, to decorate its backdrop wall. The unique artworks become a visual focus. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
One of several open working areas in the space. Photography by Tan Xiao/Studio Ten.
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