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LOAM CAFE by Studio 8 ARCHITECTS: grado’s Pioneering Integration of Household Furniture in Public Leisure Areas

grado has always been guided by the principle of designing for contemporary needs, allowing our designs not only to integrate into home spaces but also to extend to various types of public leisure areas. A typical example is the lounge chair, or single-seat sofa. It is more flexible in use and handling compared to multi-seat sofas, and more comfortable than a chair, making it easier to incorporate into the interior design of public leisure areas. Recently our Zong sofa was chosen by Studio 8 Architects for the LOAM CAFE project, becoming one of the most used pieces in the space.



The transformation by Studio 8 includes the interior and facade of the building. The designers created an unconventional leisure experience for customers coming to LOAM CAFE, enabling them to feel and reconnect with nature, becoming a part of nature without being completely isolated from the outside world.


Located in one of Asia’s largest art gathering areas, this round building was originally an art exhibition hall, with its front covered with green porcelain blocks. The designers needed to convert this building into a café with bar functions, allowing the space to easily shift in functionality and scenes at different times and during special events.



The initial spark for the design came from a maple tree situated at the center of the site, inviting people to engage in activities like drawing, picnics, and other social gatherings under its canopy, providing a serene space to nurture their bodies, minds and souls. Studio 8 aimed to create a “deceleration point,” encouraging passersby to take a pause, relax, and reconnect with their inner comfort, while maintaining a connection with the surrounding environment. They have laid lush lawns around the building, and strategically repositioned the closely spaced porcelain blocks to create a gradient effect, enclosing the entire building while introducing unique light and shadow play. Viewed from the outside, the building resembles a small island in an urban oasis, seamlessly connecting the indoors and outdoors, blending into the urban greenery with an open attitude, only a few steps away.



The pathway of the building is paved with white gravel, with the maple tree rooted in the center, surrounded by semi-outdoor spaces on one side and indoor spaces on the other, separated by glass to allow smooth entry of outdoor light and views. Outdoor seating is placed in the courtyard for enjoying the maple tree and the blue sky, while inside, grado’s zong sofas single seat are positioned near the windows. Inspired by the traditional Chinese food, zongzi, the triangular shape is elegantly integrated into the sofa with meticulous stitching and well-balanced geometric contours, offering a rounded yet orderly and harmonious appearance, especially suitable for public leisure areas. The beige upholstery complements the space’s color tone, possessing waterproof, oil-proof, and stain-resistant qualities, making it easy to clean and durable for long-term use. The spacious seat and backrest accommodate various sitting positions, while the high-density foam ensures a comfortable relaxation experience.  



The core concept of this design is the seamless and open interaction between people and space, which served as the foundation for Studio 8’s vision. Following this principle, the designers at Studio 8 crafted a narrative spanning various aspects such as the facade, interior layout, colors, materials, lighting, and furniture. The goal was to create an immersive journey of “walking under the tree,” transcending the ordinary spatial experience by leveraging the flow and guidance inherent in the space, where individuals and the environment merge into one cohesive entity. This reinterpretation of the “porcelain house” injects a fresh perspective into the cultural oasis of West Bund Shanghai.


This design project holds particular significance for grado as well. Thanks to Studio 8’s unique design approach, the integration of the Zong Sofa – traditionally used in residential spaces – into other public leisure areas has broadened the utility of the product line. This shift has sparked new design inspirations and pathways for grado’s furniture designers. In the current pursuit of tranquility and comfort, and the embrace of a slower lifestyle, public leisure spaces now demand the same degree of coziness found in the home. We remain attuned to societal shifts, empathetic towards individuals, responsive to contemporary needs, and committed to crafting designs and furniture that are truly people-centric. This focus extends beyond residential spaces to create living environments as a whole that suit everyone, exploring the essence of life and the inherent value of living.