The Cloudscape Library of Haikou, China

The beginning of a new book is often a moment that readers cherish: a venture into the surreal or the unknown, and a gentle removal from everyday reality. The experience of visiting The Cloudscape is similar. MAD Architects

Project type Public facility
Location Haikou, China
Architects MAD Architects
Roca Products GAP basin, Loft faucets, Euret urinal

Libraries in the 21st century are shaping up to be one of the most exciting typologies in contemporary architecture, presenting new opportunities and challenges for innovative architects and designers. The library of the future is no longer scholarly or confined to just lending books. Their role has been extended to that of a social and cultural hub for the entire community - a place where minds meet. Designed to be sustainable, civic landmarks with a high-volume of users, they present a blueprint to express experiential design and innovation - all values that align with the essential values of Roca.
Redefining architecture and transforming spaces

In this sense, the new wormhole-like library in southern China, for which Roca supplied the bathroom fittings, is a perfect match. Perched on the waterfront of Haikou Bay, the work of Ma Yansong’s Beijing-based studio MAD Architects, the library was dubbed ‘The Cloudscape’ since its official opening in 2021. The design shows the architects’ typical ‘anti-material’ approach, where user experience and ‘mood’ take priority over structural expression and show-off materiality.

The graceful structure emerges with smooth, fair-faced concrete forming a sculptural and fluid silhouette on the water’s edge – a metaphor for a marine creature or an ancient cave that could have been formed by nature. The roof is punctuated, seemingly at random, with portholes that let in natural light, while the curvaceous façade has wraparound windows that look out onto the sky and sea.

Much like this concrete building, Roca products are transformed into durable and versatile features that not only complement but enhance the overall aesthetic. The creative collaboration between MAD Architects and Roca is a seamless blend of visionary design and innovative craftsmanship, with Roca's products playing a pivotal role in transcending conventional boundaries and infusing the space with remarkable beauty and functionality.

Heightened experience through aesthetic and functional excellence

Given the multifunctional and civic role of The Cloudscape library, plus the fact that many users spend long hours within its walls, functional and attractive service facilities were paramount. Half of the overall scheme was designated to public amenities, including restrooms, barrier-free restrooms, showers and a nursery. Recognising Roca’s high-quality products, experience in large-scale public buildings and design-led ethos, MAD Architects selected Roca as the ideal partner to outfit the bathroom spaces. Their product selection reflects the structure’s distinctive design and complement its experiential qualities. “The products we chose are eye-catching, eco-friendly and energy-saving,” said the architects. “They do exactly what we intended, that is to create a comfort-oriented, immersive experience for all visitors.”

When searching for a countertop basin to place on the bespoke benches of the public bathrooms, the ‘Round’ basin from the best-selling ‘The Gap’ collection was a natural choice. Now recognised as a modern classic in contemporary bathroom design, its sleek minimalist and curvilinear shape complement the organic forms of the bathroom furniture, enhancing their gentle fluidity. In the same sense, the avant-garde, contoured design of Roca’s ‘Loft’ touchless faucets have become an extension of the space’s striking visual language. The sober lines of the electronic ‘Euret’ urinal also acts as a design feature, while providing important energy and water efficiency with its smart features.
The products we chose are eye-catching, eco-friendly and energy-saving and help create a comfort-oriented, immersive experience for all visitors.
The Cloudscape breaks the mould of public libraries, and shines as a stellar example of how thoughtfully designed civic architecture can add tremendous value to everyday life. Roca’s versatile products adapted perfectly to the needs of this mission and the practical demands of a public space intended to be used by everyone. As the architects sum up, “When stepping into the public bathroom space of the library, we are happy that users can perfectly enjoy safe and durable solutions provided by Roca.”