ByteDance Regional Headquarters: Music Boxes

Xiamen Island and Binbei Super Headquarters Base District

Xiamen Island Enhancement Headquarters
Xiamen is a rapidly evolving port city on China’s southeast coast, bustling as a national tourist destination and business center. The well-planned city is green, enjoys good air quality and climate, and is known to be quite livable.

The ByeDance campus occupies a premier island site strategically designated as part of a government Enhancement Plan to accelerate the execution of “one base, multiple centers” for the headquarters economy. Ten thematically orchestrated headquarters districts include the Binbei Super Headquarters Base, centered by the ByteDance campus.[1]

Binbei Super Headquarters Base District

ByteDance Campus Inspiration

Positioned as the gateway to the Super Headquarters Base, ByteDance’s regional mixed-use headquarters serves as a key hub connecting the Cultural Arts Center, Sports Center and Binbei Super Headquarters, showcasing a landmark public destination for Xiamen.

The ecologically precious area boasts diverse natural scenery, including islands, mountains, valleys, and forested open space. These conditions, reinforced by Xiamen’s reputation as a subtropical “garden on the sea” inspire a robust landscape strategy for the project. The district is planned as a demonstration area for environmental health and conservation.

Campus Clearing in an Urban Forest

A contemporary urban forest envelops and buffers the core ByteDance campus, framing a “clearing” where primary activities occur. An inviting arrival experience lures pedestrians beneath a tranquil woodland canopy to arrive at lively central spaces.

Two major building masses straddle a pedestrian promenade called the Music Wave Boulevard. As an urban valley, the “wave” tumbles through music gardens, amphitheaters, outdoor dining, and a recessed movie court. 

Music Wave Valley and Boulevard

From rooftops to street level and sub-grade spaces, valley “walls” are animated with a cascade of activity spaces such as green balconies and shaded sky stages for musicians, dining terraces, music boxes, and outdoor meeting terraces.  Specialized vertical landscape designs distinguish these elements but coalesce as hanging garden façades. Funneled breezes bring vines to a dance.

A stacked mix of uses co-mingles apartments appealing to creative professionals, hotels for the entertainment-minded and business crowd, and office space for ByteDance employees and collaborators. Compositionally these elements convey a whimsical, dance-like feel – a set of music boxes. Organizationally and expressively, the dancing boxes facilitate engagement and incite creative energy.

ByteDance Innovation Philosophy and Campus Expression [2]

ByteDance has rapidly emerged as a consistently innovative and productive company, generating dozens of hugely popular internet products with enormous numbers of users.

The spectacular success of the company is attributable to its assertive approach to innovation, much of which is employed in the design of the Xiamen campus. The philosophy is linked to the benefits and rewards of human interaction that take place in inviting public spaces, both physical and digital. The best ideas emerge from accessible environments that facilitate diverse participation. The campus design embodies TikTok’s belief in community, inclusivity, and delight.

The corporate philosophy fosters bottom-up innovation, promoting the unimpeded generation of entrepreneurial ideas from employees at all levels. Management encourages creativity and a can-do culture. A non-hierarchical, public mingling environment facilitates such behavior.

Gardens and Music-Themed Restaurants

Music and Gardens Converge

ByteDance develops software, news platforms, video-sharing social media platforms, video games, and conducts AI research. ByteDance developed the widely used video-sharing social networking app TikTok. ByteDance also developed Tik Tok Music, a “social music streaming <that> app allows users to highlight and share lyrics, comments and other user-generated content alongside music track streaming.” [3] Tik Tok Music is the inspiration behind the Xiamen Headquarters Campus.

Not coincidentally, Xiamen is an epicenter for music in China, with a major symphony orchestra, international music festivals, and concert halls. It is fertile ground for nationally acclaimed musicians.

The ByteDance Xiamen campus showcases Tik Tok Music’s appeal for members to be part of a music community, whereby users connect with other like-minded music lovers. The “dancing boxes” theme brings the music community to life, reverberating across the site with a Music Wave Boulevard and Music Wave Valley, with stages and rhythmic plazas, live houses, music gardens, recessed movie courts, entertainment amphitheaters, and music-themed restaurants. A majestic, vase-like “Music Tree” sits atop a primary box, canopying seemingly endless musical performances.

Coastal Gardens

Robust coastal gardens with native plants and iconic ocean elements sweep across the site, evoking Xiamen’s identity as China’s Sea Garden. The garden valley reverberates with distinctive places for outdoor dining, relaxation, programmed events and live entertainment, together with ever-popular people watching. The energy of the valley emanates from the collective interactions between creative professionals, hotel guests, and public visitors, all infused with music and performance.

Music Wave Boulevard

The Music Wave Boulevard is crafted as a linear urban living room, a place for people with an inherent desire to connect with people. The corridor conveys a sense of movement, inherent to Tik Tok culture. The boulevard engages a range of intimate and grand venues, including the Rhythmic Plaza, ByteDance Amphitheater, and Music Garden. These spaces are layered with gardens, shade trees, food, public art, and strolling promenades. Intimate forest venues reinforce tranquility and comfort, while large-scale open spaces accommodate festival celebrations. The publicly open campus is fertile ground for Tik Tok users, where high levels of engagement prevail.

ByteDance Amphitheater
Recessed Movie Court

The grand ByteDance Amphitheater cascades from the 2F dining terrace to street level, and farther down to a recessed Movie Court. The court is equipped with an ultra-high quality LED screen, an homage to Tik Tok’s fame as a monumental public video maker. Both the LED screen and step lighting devices are interactive, amusingly reflecting pedestrian movement and pronouncing the vitality of the spaces. Here, dance is a reverberating exercise, and the vibe is palpable.

Intimate Music Garden

Surrounded by restaurants and streetside cafes, Music Gardens instills relaxation with surround sound effects, offering an immersive and contemplative experience.

Smart Garden
Smart Garden

Smart Garden spaces offer opportunities for business activities in beautiful settings that inspire dialogue, relax conversations, and elevate creativity. Smart gardens are managed by automated devices which monitor and supply water, nutrients and even oxygen. Studious guests enjoy high-speed Wi-Fi and electricity access, task lighting, and adaptable furnishings. These spaces embody Tik Tok’s role at the intersection of technology and entertainment.

Rhythmic Plaza

Breaking down divisive site access barriers and celebrating public life, a lively Rhythmic Plaza embraces visitors, welcoming them with motion-activated dancing fountains. Synchronized to announce pedestrian arrival, fountains playfully recognize public engagement. The plaza is programmedfor informal gatherings and festival events. The exuberant ByteDance experience is launched.


[2] Research on the ByteDance’s Approach to Develop TikTok, Yicheng Zhu(B), University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh


ByteDance Regional Headquarters: Music Boxes

Text Credit: Charles Ware, Author; Yi Zhu, Author

Location: Xiamen, China

Landscape Design: TOPOS
Lead Landscape Architect: Yi Zhu, PLA, ASLA

Collaborators: Nikken Sekkei Architects

Client: ByteDance

Conceptual Image Credits: TOPOS Landscape Architects

Photo Credits: TOPOS Landscape Architects (Photographer: Qi Xi)