LYFE is a minimal bakery located in Guangzhou, China, designed by Projject Studio. In the heart of Guangzhou’s rapidly evolving Huakang community, a unique fusion of past and present is taking shape. LYFE, a local bakery specializing in fresh Danish dough, has recently set up shop in this vibrant 25-year-old neighborhood. As the area undergoes significant transformations, LYFE’s design embraces the community’s rich history and changing landscape, offering a new perspective on urban renewal. Located near the luxury mall Taikuhui, Huakang community was established in 1998 and consists of eight buildings, all below 25 floors. This low-rise urban fabric sets the stage for a charming and intimate street scene, which has drawn a new generation of lifestyle brands to the area since 2017.

When the team behind LYFE first connected with the space, they were struck by the building’s passage of time. Originally a lottery shop, the location’s yellowish lottery trend chart and exposed yellow mud bricks, popular construction materials in the 90s, piqued their curiosity. With a focus on the contrast between the old and the new, the designers sought to pay homage to the space’s history while ushering in a fresh chapter for the bakery. Throughout the design process, the team emphasized the preservation of the space’s original structure. They painstakingly removed thick layers of latex paint from the columns to reveal the raw concrete texture beneath.

Similarly, they carefully excavated the original paint on the ceiling and beams, leaving just a glimpse of the yellow mud. This meticulous approach showcased the handcrafted details and authentic condition of the space, allowing it to tell its own story. To further emphasize the juxtaposition of past and present, the designers incorporated new elements that respected the space’s original character. A semi-open seating area, defined by a newly constructed white ceiling, greets visitors at the entrance, while a new white wall sits behind the original partition, highlighting the kitchen façade. Handmade red bricks and concrete, featuring naturally formed air bubbles and porous textures, were used to create functional elements such as bar counters and furniture.

This layering of the old and the new establishes a dialogue between past and present, inviting visitors to reflect on the area’s evolving identity. As a new member of the Huakang community, LYFE aspires to contribute to the neighborhood’s long-term wellbeing. Instead of focusing solely on cutting-edge design, the bakery emphasizes a familiar atmosphere that appeals to both new and longstanding residents. Through its thoughtful design and commitment to the community, LYFE serves as a bridge between the past and the future, preserving the area’s rich history while embracing its ever-changing present.

Photography by Junning