ART-FOCUSED SERVICE DESIGN
User experience strategy for an immersive auction environment that supports newly developed behavioral personas.
China Guardian is building Guardian Art Center, an unprecedented auction house in Beijing that is designed to be an immersive art destination. The unique combination of programs (auction house, museum, restaurant, bar, private club, boutique hotel and corporate headquarters) make it unlike any other art center in the world.
"The art centre will be a tangible link between past, present, and future. It celebrates history and tradition while also representing an important social and civic amenity for the capital."
- CHEN DONGSHENG, CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER, CHINA GUARDIAN
China Guardian invited the research team behind the scenes of the third largest fine art auction house in the world to learn more about their user's experience.
Research started with on site observations and interviews at the set up of fall auction at China Guardian in Beijing and continued to the close of Auction Week in Hong Kong. Parallel to these studies, secondary research and user interviews were conducted with key stakeholders and identified arts buyers, sellers, collectors and consultants.
What differentiates a Chinese auction house in the world's second largest art market? How does the broader cultural understanding of brand affect this?
The research team observed 8 different auction houses in Hong Kong and Beijing during the very hectic fall auction season, including Christie's, Bonham's, Sotheby's, and Beijing Poly. High level brand affinity, outside of the auction world, was one of the key areas of research with users. An array of favorites were analyzed and visited to inform the development of emerging behavioral personas.
The iconic arts center, to be completed in 2016, is located just two blocks from the Forbidden City on one of Beijing's premier commercial streets.
"Going beyond the traditional functions of an auction house, the Guardian Art Center will also house museum spaces, exhibition and auction rooms, several restaurants, and a 120-room hotel in the floating ring portion of the building, made of oversized glass bricks that again resonate with the urban texture of the surrounding hutong courtyard houses. The center of the building features a 1,700 square meter column-free exhibition and event space, with two large auction halls in the basement and expansive exhibition areas on the second floor."
- DARRYL WEE, BLOUINARTINFO
"It's both an auction house with a museum and other support things attached, but it's actually also a cultural center and a museum, which feeds into lifestyle components and an auction business backwards. So it's this explicitly hybrid nature in which a series of conditions both merge and collide and energize each other, which I think in a very interesting way addresses the question of what a contemporary art space has become."
- OLE SCHEEREN, ARCHITECT & FOUNDER, BURO OLE SCHEEREN, ARCHDAILY INTERVIEW EXCERPT
User Research and Design Strategy: Anjali Kelkar, Sharon Lee, Brian Strawn, Crystal Yin
Architecture: Büro Ole Scheeren (Ole Scheeren, Eric Chang)
Interaction Design: Kram/Weisshaar (Reed Kram, Clemens Weisshaar)
Hong Kong Design Centre: Victor Lo (Chairman), Dr. Edmund Lee (Executive Director), Dr. Jon Lo (Senior Consultant), Elaine Chow (Director, Programme)