In Yinchuan Shi, China, Nanbo Bay Reception Center by Sunson Design is an example of striking architecture that intertwines nature with comfort and eye-catching appeal. The center sits adjacent to China Yinchuan Cultural Park, which is backed by wetlands that appear to have inspired much of the feng shui flow inside the building.

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A plant-filled lobby with natural wood accents around the ceiling.

The experience begins at the entrance, dubbed the “hall of time.” Here, visitors their first impression of the natural yet mysterious space, which is bathed in plants. In fact, the Reception Hall is a mini ecological rainforest with bamboo, banyan trees, plantains and other fresh green plants and low shrubs. This environment invites guests to slow down and look around, enjoying the natural elements while gradually progressing through the space.

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A wood walking path through an indoor rainforest area.

Copious natural light streams in from innovative sky windows overhead, ranging from a spectacularly engaging grilled design to extraordinary skylight effects. The marriage between the outdoors and indoors leaves visitors questioning if they are actually in a building at all. 

A dining table in the middle of an indoor rainforest area, with large, built-in wooden shelves on the parallel wall.

Moving into the adjacent sand table display area, visitors meet more natural materials in the form of floor-to-ceiling stone walls and copious wood accents. Also off the reception hall is an expansive library and sitting area with tables spaced throughout a tiered stairway. On the opposite side of a built-in bookshelf wall sits a bar. The bookshelf itself is filled with discussion-worthy pieces paying homage to ancient Yinchuan. Throughout the dining area, wood tables and chairs, wallpaper printed in food designs, and bamboo screens continue the ecological theme. 

A curved walking path to the left, with greenery and plants to the right.

Nanbo Bay Reception Center also features a landscaped courtyard, awe-inspiring sculptures, and a glass-walled swimming pool area that creates the visual illusion of “zero gravity” for a floating effect. These spaces work together to join the elements of water, stone, light, music and plants.

+ Sunson Design

Photography by Kanghui Zeng