On a quiet beach along the coast of Bohai Bay, in northern China, a museum amidst sand dunes: Ucca Dune Art Museum

Designed by the firm Open Architecture, Ucca Art Museum stands on an area of 930 m² under a great sand dune that has taken form over thousands of years thanks to the wind that blows in from the sea. The design is inspired by the way children dig in the sand on the beach, and the structure is like a primitive cavern.

The aim of the design is to preserve the vulnerable ecosystem of the dunes, which thanks to the museum will remain, rather than being bulldozed for real estate speculation as has happened to many other such areas along the coast.

The museum is lit by large openings in the ceiling, offering a view of the changes of the sky and the sea throughout the day. A spiral staircase leads to a viewing point, guiding visitors from the darkness of the cavern-galleries to the light of the beach.

Nothing has been left to chance, including the surfaces. Three solutions by Ideal Work have been utilized: Microtopping for the walls, ceiling and washstands in the restrooms, as well as the external balcony, the cafe tables, the stairs and outdoor tables; the Ideal Work Lixio Venetian flooring for the gallery, the reception area and the cafe; and Nuvolato Architop, with its industrial style, for the surfaces of the internal balcony.

Photos: WU Qingshan