Cheungvogl, Poetic Pragmatism

Writings and conversations.



20 designers and brands that define our tomorrow, FRAME Magazine 20th Anniversary Edition

Super-Typologies - In conversation with Evan Jehl for Frame, Judy Cheung and Christoph Vogl, founding partners of Cheungvogl, describe how their work overcomes traditional categorizations by re-interpreting definitions and typologies to create contemporary socially relevant architecture:

20 designers and brands that define our tomorrow, Frame, 116, 20th Anniversary Edition, Frame Publishers, May/June 2017.



How to get physical in a digital age.

Jonathan Openshaw in conversation with Judy Cheung and Christoph Vogl, founding partners of Cheungvogl:

Retail Revolution – How to get physical in a digital age, Frame 115, Frame Publishers, Netherlands, March/April 2017.



Inner Space

Tim McKeough in conversation with Cheungvogl on Au Pont Rouge and the Robotic System for Azure Magazine, November/December 2016:

Inner Space - Au Pont Rouge, Saint Petersburg, Azure Magazine, Azure Publishing, Toronto, Canada, November/December 2016.





Cheungvogl on the social relevance of physical space.

Judy Cheung and Christoph Vogl of Hong Kong-based firm Cheungvogl take ‘social relevance’ as a guiding principle in their design of physical retail. Their approach is the product of a sensitivity to dialectical materialism and technological futurism. For physical spaces to retain their relevance in a world where the functions they host are increasingly supplanted by digital media, design must be viewed as a means of actively communicating with its users rather than as a static container or scaffolding. It must become more fluid in its adaptability to different contexts. Cheung and Vogl elaborate on these ideas in a conversation about how they see future projects and the field as a whole: 

Frame, 116, 20th Anniversary Edition - 20 Designers and brands that define our tomorrow, Frame Publishers, Netherlands, May/June 2017

Evan Jehl, Frameweb, January 2018



"As architects we have the possibility to create change, rather than to only have our opinion or talk about it." 

"Cheungvogl is based in Hong Kong, with satellite offices in Mainland China and Germany, and has an international approach to design. But there is something that links the work across settings and scales. "The common thread is the way we look at architecture as a framework for life to happen, similar to a stage set that provides the audience with an open interpretation for the play itself. Architecture only begins as it starts to evolve, transform and inspire people and its communities around it," says Vogl.

The office has tackled everything from small-scale residential work to large institutional projects, but in Hong Kong the designers are perhaps known best for their retail environments for Australian natural-cosmetics company Aesop. Vogl believes that even a retail space can become an extension of public space. "Retail generally occupies the spaces around the most frequented public areas in our cities," says Vogl, "This omnipresence also means that retail holds a responsibility for contribution to quality of life in these public spaces. In these means, retail should not be exclusive, but open and inviting. The visit to a store should not make someone feel obliged to buy a product, but provide the opportunity to see, feel and touch."

Other notable retail work includes the Benetton flagship in Tehran, where Cheungvogl used a translucent wrapper to hint at the veils worn by Iranian women. "We investigate and analyse all aspects and facets of the brand's specific characteristics as a 'personality'," Vogl says. This helps to balance the aesthetic desires of the client with those of the architect. "With this understanding we like to show our clients new ways to communicate and engage with their customers to enhance the brand's identity. In successful retail design, architecture is more to be seen as a communication tool, where we enhance the brand's language with our own vocabulary."

In projects for institutional clients, particularly in the arts, Cheungvogl has enjoyed more freedom for tectonic expression. A recent concept for the exhibition venue Dubai 7 is a stripped modernist presence with traditionalism at its heart. Vogl explains that it makes "a strong reference to traditional Arabic architecture; the exhibition space is formed around an undulating vertical landscape that provides filtered light into the interior spaces as a reinterpretation of the organisation of traditional Arabic courtyard houses". Yet the building's concrete mass also uses contemporary solar technology for cooling.

Meanwhile the concrete structure of Shinjuku Gardens, a parking garage and gallery space in Tokyo, is masked by greenery. Vogl clarifies the aesthetic and functional logic of the decision: "Rather than simply leaving the facades open for natural ventilation to avoid the cost of mechanical ventilation, we introduced a living enclosure of grass. The green curtain does not only create a barrier between the parked cars and the outside, but the changing appearance throughout the seasons also enhances its neighbourhood with a green oasis amongst the dense urban context."

The generosity of the urban gesture is typical of the office's projects, all of which seek to use architecture as a tool for improving everyday life for the building's users as well as for neighbours and passersby. Vogl phrases it in terms of responsibility: "As architects we have the possibility to create change, rather than to only have our opinion or talk about it."

Cheungvogl has just completed a master plan in Chengdu, China and the office is currently working on other projects in China as well as Southeast Asia and Europe."

Cheungvogl: Setting the Stage, Jessica Niles DeHoff,  InDesignLive.Asia, March 2013 




“One common obstacle is the question whether to preserve or to recreate – or at least, how much to preserve. It is a question of material, historical and emotional value of the past and the existing.”, Cheungvogl

In 2008, Judy Cheung and Christoph Vogl founded cheungvogl, a multilingual and multicultural international design studio based in Hong Kong. Cheungvogl has participated in projects varying in scale in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. Their architecture often encompasses multiple fields of design, ranging from urban scale through to details of interiors and products. Their studio is currently working on projects in Japan, China, Germany and North America. Judy Cheung and Christoph Vogl consistently redefine boundaries between architecture, art and design. Their projects not only experiment with architectural phenomenon, they often express certain sensitivity through reinterpretation of materiality. Their passionate engagement with “time” as an integral part of their palette forms a new typology within the limitless context of space and experiences. Quality is not measured by seeing; it is the feeling of comfort that one remembers. The simultaneous engagement between architecture, art and culture is their passion and commitment. "

REmodeling, Damdi Architecture Publishing Co., Ltd, South Korea, 2011



Top Ten: White Out

"[Tadao] Ando's lineage continues with other Japanese architects embracing the ideals of their elder, developing buildings that showcase simplified forms void of material differentiation. Japanese based architects, such as recent Pritzker Prize winning SANAA, have been able to showcase the countries critical regionalism all over the world. Back home a new batch of young architects are following in Ando's footsteps, embracing the creation of white architecture within the borders of this Island Nation. Hong Kong based Cheungvogl have been making a splash across the pond with their designs for the KAT-Ohno urban cultural center and 2 Houses project both soon to be located in Tokyo."

Top Ten: White Out , Architizer, November 2010  



Designer Spotlight: Cheungvogl

"Cheungvogl is a creative partnership of two abstract thinkers in the architecture and design world. Judy Cheung hails from Hong Kong and has experience designing world-class buildings internationally. Her partner, Christoph Vogl, is from Cologne, Germany, and also has design and architectural experience that traverses many countries. Together, the two founded Cheungvogl in 2008. The pair believes in harmony found through the ambiguity of art and memory. What is truly a memory? Can memory be artful? And when does art blend seamlessly into our memories? These are the questions that drive these creative minds to build architectural wonders. Their style is spare and airy. They have designed a variety of landscape and architectural structures, including an outdoor ecosystem known as Shinjuku Gardens in Japan that is currently under construction. Utilizing space as part of the creative process, the designer duo has create something beautifully natural amidst a sea of skyscrapers and concrete. They have also designed a space-conscious house in New York that asks the question: "how do you inject NY into NY?" It focuses on secondary spaces - rooftops, gardens, balconies - and creates a new way of seeing space in a bustling, active city. The above pictured Umarmung chair updates the traditional idea of sitting on the floor in Japan, creating a soft pocket around someone resting on the ground. The design team behind cheungvogl is a talented pair, and one to watch in the future of cutting-edge architectural innovation. "

Designer Spotlight: cheungvogl , Padstyle, October 2010




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