f22 foto space is an award-winning photography gallery in Hong Kong dedicated to photography and design. Designed by LAAB Architects in collaboration with Carlow Architecture & Design, f22 offers exhibitions, a photo book shop, a camera boutique, and a lovely café. To create a cinematic entrance, the design team studied camera development and used design elements from various generations of the camera lens to design the door.
Paired with smart technology, the kinetic door rotates to create different pocket spaces that cater to different programs. For example, it can be rotated to create a pocket space for reception, or to transform the entrance into a waiting area for latecomers during a seminar. When the camera door rotates, the overhead aperture also controls the amount of light at the entrance space.
The circular stair is a hanging structure. Inspired by camera aperture, it plays with light, shadow, and speed. The design team worked closely with structural engineers to translate camera elements into structural elements. To create a precise twist, each step was constructed using 3-D printing and casting. Both the door and the stairs were fabricated using brass and painted in black. Just like a black-painted camera that documents its interaction with the photographer; f22 also documents its interaction with time and people. Over time, the black paint will wear off to reveal the brass underneath. The two galleries were designed in black and white to form a dialogue between the two floors.
CAFÉ 22 offers a gathering place for cultural activities. It has an exhibition space for budding photographers to organize their first exhibition. A mirror is installed behind the counter, visitors can watch the baristas perform. There is a square table in the middle of CAFÉ 22 for visitors to gather and talk about photography and design.
f22 has won 8 international design awards, including German Red Dot Design Award, the American Institute of Architects International Region Awards, and the Design for Asia Award. The meticulous craftsmanship of f22 has also been recognized by the 2019 FRAME Award jury and won the Best Craftsmanship Award.