LAAB Transformed Demolished Pier Into A Modern Cafe / World Architecture Community News

LAAB, a young architecture firm in Hong Kong with a strong focus on parametric design and fabrications, has used the piles from a demolished pier and transformed them into a modern cafe. The 46-year-old Wah Chai Ferry Pier was demolished in 2014 due to the Central and Wah Chai reclamation. After the pier was demolished, its piles were supposed to be transferred to the landfill.

Image © LAAB

Wan Ka Ling, an officer from Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department passed by the construction site and discovered all these abandoned structures. She believed that is a way to reuse these materials but it wasn’t easy to find a wood factory that is willing to take the wood.

The Wah Chai Ferry Pier, demolished in 2014. Image © LAAB Facebook Page

These piles are heavily eroded, covered with oyster shells and embedded with iron nails inside, which make it extremely difficult to reuse the wood. Lots of wood factories are not willing to process the wood as it is risky to break the saw during cutting.

Image © LAAB

Finally Wan found Wong Hung Kyun from Chi Kee Sawmill & Timber Factory, who is willing to take the wood. In fact, Wong has been collecting abandoned wood like telephone poles from landfill since 2000.

His business is getting more and more difficult as the sawing process is much cheaper in mainland China. Wong said the pier piles are made out of very dense wood and they will not be easily decomposed in the landfill. According to his estimation, these woods are from the tropical rainforest in North Borneo of Malaysia, which are 500-3000 years old.

To process the wood is tedious, which can take months. LAAB’s architecture director Yip Chun Hang shared that one time when they cut the wood they found lots of ants inside, furthermore the woods are so humid that they cannot use it directly on furniture.

Image © LAAB

After Wong processed the wood and did some tests with wood artist Wong Tin Yan, LAAB and are invited to use these wood in the design of T-Cafe in T · Park, a sludge treatment plant with education and recreational facilities opened to the public.

T · Park. Image © ARUP

The less eroded woods are used on tables and benches. While the eroded are encapsulated into a resin cube in order to preserve its original appearance. These resin cubes can be used as little chairs. The blue resin is like seawater, which reminds people the origin of the wood.

Image © LAAB

The project reminded one of the Log of Officina Corpuscoli, an experimental and interdisciplinary practice in Amsterdam that explores and researches on symbiotic relationships, microscopic spectrum and the materialization of these ideas.

Found by Maurizio Montalti, who is also the co-founder of Mycoplast (a company focus on mushroom-based material) and the Department Head of MAD Master (Materialisation in Art and Design) at Sandberg Instituut, Officina Corpuscoli has been working on biomaterial, digital computing, 3D printing and robotic fabrication.

Log, a resin volume encapsulating tree branches which were left as waste, the work is a reproduction of a natural fossil. Image © Officina Corpuscoli

While LAAB is quite well known for their parametric fabrication in which everything is finely controlled with data, like their project of Textile Alliance Headquarters and Asian Cultural Council; working with old pier wood is full of challenges and uncontrollable variables.

The material itself is a data storage with a huge amount of histories. Holes, cracks and stains are the parameters of the design, in which the design proceed needs to adapt to the material. The team wanted to keep the most from the pier piles instead of over-modifying them.

Image © LAAB

T · Park invited regularly artists and designers who are interested in the concept of recycling to the park. Here is a table made of old comic books, by Woodrite.

Image © Woodrite

To learn more about the production process in this video:

Top image © LAAB

> via HK01 / Hong Kong Design Center / City Magazine Design Post


<<wa.wa.02.sun is shining from every corner>>

by wawa

Wa.wa.02. Sun is shining from every corner, maybe it should be renamed as “Sun is hiding from every corner”. We went to Potsdam with terrible weather, it was raining, hailing and snowing. See what we discovered before we departed :

The drawings of wa.wa.01 are still at Hauptbahnhof! Two of them were “washed” and Angela took them for redrawing.
People of wa.wa.02 were tougher than we expected. You guys were tough and strong, finally after Jonas finished the last piece of drawing. The sun came out. He insisted to finish every drawing even it was heavily raining. But it worth, see how the snow gave life to Jona’s drawing.

After suffering from outdoor coldness for hours, we went to a warm place and had our first intense wawa discussion and sharing. As people from wawa are all with different background, a great diversity of drawings were found. Angela suddenly pop-up a question : “Do you believe one’s drawings can refer his personality?” See what they say about themselves :

“I am lazy so I always only draw half of the drawings. I don’t want to finish them. Also I always find the easiest part of the drawings to draw.”

It was supposed to be a rainy day, but under April’s pen snow became birds.

“Drawing into details and striving for beauty are addictions. As once you started a small part of the drawing in the super details. You have no way to stop it in the middle.”

“I am really bad in using colors, so I learn using colors by using them a totally wrong way.”

“You can choose how to draw a line. Sometimes if I am lazy I just draw a circle for a face.”

Thanks all for the amazing and in-depth sharing! Un beso!
Find more drawings of wa.wa.02 here !
And keep an eye on coming wa.wa.03’s polling, see you in the next wawa!

IDEA “wawa”, come and “wawa” (畫畫) with us !

the first IDEA in berlin to know about…

What is IDEA project?

same as all of us, you must have been attracted by those smiles of the cambodian children, or the crazy monster door of IDEA school 2.

Another IDEA school is coming in this summer and let’s get ready to the open call for design!
There will be an open call for IDEA school design in April and in order to get yourself ready! join us this weekend to know IDEA project more!

What are we going to do?
“wawa” (畫畫 in Chinese means “Drawing”) : a collaborative drawing exercise, we draw around the city and share ideas among the team; a collaborate piece of art will be created at the end of the journey. The idea of the art is to make the city beautiful.
– gathering and briefing : in a cafe we will present our IDEA 2012 project, cambodia background and culture, our site information and other useful information for you to design the school. You will also be able to find possible partner to form in teams to work with.

Time & Duration : 3 hours
Mar 31 1000-1300 / Mar 1600-1900/ Apr 01 1000-1300/ Apr 01 1730-2030 

Register now!
– fill in your available time in here

– send your contact details (name/email/telephone no) to

we hope to draw with you soon!




>From: gmwuai

>Subject: Message from Jason & Ah Lung

>Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 14:57:42 + 0800
























>我們想,一些設計輕便,簡單,容易搭建(例如可讓紅十字會的義工搭建)的temporary/assembly structure會否為災民在災難及不幸中,比布幕較有效地防止疫症的蔓延,減低無常天氣對他們所造成的風吹雨打發疾病?又能否在家破人亡中給他們一個溫暖的住所?









>設計輕便,簡單,容易搭建(例如可讓紅十字會的義工搭建)的temporary structure作為難民的臨時居所。


>同時,我們可尋求HKIA及社會各界(如慈善團體,商業機構)的協助,去讓得獎的設計能夠成為事實。這並非容易,但若我們能夠VOICE OUT這項有意義的計劃,加上設計比賽引起各界關注及傳媒報導,這也未嘗沒可能。


>這是一條很長的路,困難多的是,未必有人采我地,未必達到ultimate goal,可能過一段短時間就失敗或放棄,但是,若這是有義意的事,我們若能影響一人就一人,兩人就兩人,什麼時候失敗根本不重要,重要的是我們遇到有意義的事就應voice out。


>無論成功與否,起碼我們已踏出第一步了。之後,或許我們繼為這件事努力,又或許我們的行動感染到其他人去進行。WHAT WE HAVE TO ACHIEVE IS TO MAKE THE SPARK!










>Jason & Ah Lung

The story of a fisherman – <<The Why Cafe>>

A businessman went on vacation to get away from it all, to “recharge his battery”. He flew to this faraway location and wandered into a small village. Over the course of a few days, he watched the people in the community and noticed there was one fisherman in particular who seemed the happiest and the most content of everyone. The businessman was curious about this, so one day he approached the fisherman and asked him what he did every day.

The man replied that he woke up every morning and had breakfast with his wife and children. Then his kids had breakfast with his wife and children. Then his kids would go off to school, he would go fishing, and his wife world paint. He would fish for a few hours, return with enough fish for the family meals, and then he would take a nap. After dinner, he and his wife would take a walk along the beach and watch the sunset while the kids swam in the ocean.

The buisnessman was stunned. “You do this every day?” he asked.

“Most days,” replied the fisherman. “Sometimes we do other things, but for the most part, yes, this is my life.”

“And every day you can catch fish?” asked the buisnessman.

“Yes,” replied the fisherman. “There are many fish.”

“Can you catch more than just the fish you bring home for your family?” inquired the businessman.

The fisherman looked at him, smiled, and replied, “Oh yes, I oftern catch many more and just let them go. You see, I love fishing.”

“Well, why don’t you fish all day and catch as many as you can? asked the  businessman. “Then you could sell the fish and make lots of money. Pretty soon you could buy a second boat, and then a third boat, and their fishermen could catch lots of fish, too. In a few years you could have an office in a major city, and I bet within ten years you could have an international fish distribution business.”

The fisherman siled again at the businessman, “Why would I do all that?”

“Well, for the money,” replied the businessman. “You would do it so you could get lots of money and then retire.”

“And what would I do when I retired?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.

“Well, whatever you want, I suppose.” said the businessman

“For instance, maybe I could eat breakfast with my family?”

“Yes, I guess so,” said the businessman, a little annoyed that the fisherman wasn’t more excited about his idea.

“And if I wanted to , since I love fishing so much, I could fish a little bit each day?” the fisherman continued.

“I don’t see why not,” said the businessman. “There probably won’t be as many fish by then, but there should still be some.”

“Then perhaps I could spend my evenings with my wife, walking along the beach and watching the sunset, while our children swam in the ocean?” inquired the fisherman.

“Sure, whatever you want, although by then your kids will probably be grown,” said the businessman.

The fisherman smiled at the other man, shook his hand, and wished him well on his efforts to recharge.

<<The Why Cafe>> John P. Strelecky