A formidable lineup at the opening ceremony of the Incubation Centre, from left to right:
ZHOU Jianhui (Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Taicang City), ZHU Dafeng (Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress in Taicang City), Daniel Heusser (President of VIRTUARCH), WANG Xiangyuan (Secretary of the CCP Committee in Taicang City), Christian Sommer (CEO & Chairman German Centre for Industry and Trade Shanghai), WANG Hongxing (Member of the Standing Committee of the CCP Committee in Taicang City, Secretary of Taicang High-Tech Zone Party Labor Committee), WANG Liping (Deputy Mayor of Taicang City)

Taicang is known as the capital city of German SMEs in China. 387 German companies are registered here, and more are about to come. To further nurture this development, on 7th of July, the city of Taicang officially opened its Incubation Centre for German SMEs in the German Centre in Shanghai. VIRTUARCH was in charge for the design and project management of this strategically important project. 

A Project with the Highest Priority

The top leadership of Taicang left no doubt about the importance of this new office by personally attending the opening ceremony. The Incubation Centre is located in the German Centre in Shanghai, and it is another strategic point to strengthen Taicang’s relationship with German SMEs. In his speech, WANG Xiangyuan, the Secretary of the CCP Committee in Taicang City, emphasized his determination to further improve Taicang’s attractiveness for foreign-invested companies. Christian Sommer, CEO & Chairman German Centre for Industry and Trade Shanghai also pointed out the importance of this project: “This office will bring both cities, Shanghai and Taicang, different in size, but similarly important for the German industry in China, even closer together”. The idea of the Incubation Centre is simple: German startups are offered free workstations in the office if they register their company in Taicang. This offer needs to come with attractive office space, so the idea. That is why VIRTUARCH comes into play.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

VIRTUARCH, a Familiar Name also in Taicang

It is certainly no coincidence that the city of Taicang chose VIRTUARCH to design the Incubation Centre. The Swiss architecture and project management company, active throughout China, also left its mark in Taicang. VIRTUARCH designed the new production hub and regional headquarters of KERN-LIEBERS with over 39,000 sqm project size, implemented a brand new factory for Tuenkers with around 22,000 sqm and was commissioned to design Taicang’s Industry 4.0 Training Centre; these are only a few examples of VIRTUARCH’s work in Taicang that impressed the city authorities. “When the Taicang government asked us to design the Incubation Centre, we defined the vision of a bright, open and inviting workplaces,” Daniel Heusser, President of VIRTUARCH explains. “The Incubation Centre is obviously not one of our big projects in terms of square meters, however, we totally understand its strategic importance for Taicang and its facilitator role for German SMEs. The challenge was to design a modern, engaging office environment, in which different companies feel comfortable to work in, and to implement it within the ambitiously short time schedule the government defined for realizing it.” 

A cozy space for developing new visions: Christian Sommer (CEO & Chairman German Centre for Industry and Trade Shanghai) and WANG Xiangyuan (Secretary of the CCP Committee in Taicang City) in the new Incubation Centre

A warm welcome: The reception area

A Holistic Approach to Unleash Potential 

The designers from VIRTUARCH usually start from the site, because they believe a contextual approach is key for qualitative projects. They integrate the characteristics of the environment in the proposal, to let the site speak and unleash its full potential. The space allocated lies at the core of the German Centre. This part of the facility volumetry has a very iconic cylindric shape, pierced in its middle by an atrium. The space allocated lies at the Western side of this ring. 

At first glance, the site might look uneasy; a triangle-shaped layout with full glazed partitions at inner and outer sides, leaving possibly minimal privacy for a workspace. Yet the designers of VIRTUARCH like to see challenges as design opportunities. Therefore, the proposal fully acknowledged the site conditions, while meeting the clients’ expectations. 

A lack of privacy because of the glazed partition? It gave the designers the chance to propose a generous lobby, suitable for the function of showcase. How to deal with the conic shape of the layout? A central reception desk and circulation for each side, visually leading to the glazed façade offering a view over the stunning skyline of Pudong was the solution. With Lujiazui and its skyscrapers in the background, another office offers an iconic vision of a successful future. VIRTUARCH worked on the visual and the effect the space can bring to the user. Visible from the office front, the landscape is used as a design element to compose an inviting tableau, full of enlightening promises. Despite the collaborative function, VIRTUARCH made sure to provide not only a good level of privacy, playing with loose partitions, phone booths, meeting room for 8 people, but also the chance for the user to develop interactions, by practicing the discussion counters and a welcoming pantry. 

The overall design participates in the purpose of the client: provide a neutral and business mood suitable for companies from different sectors. State-of-the-art furniture and details complete the picture, creating an inviting workspace where openness and thriving collaboration are at the center.   








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