“East meets West” is a term often used to describe instances where design and culture from the opposite corners of the compass meet and mingle with astute poise. And in the case of this apartment on the 22nd floor of a new, high-rise residential building in Dongguan in southeast China, this exact term couldn’t have found a more apt implementation.
Realized through the stellar collaborative efforts between Minas Kosmidis [Architecture in Concept], an architecture studio based in Thessaloniki, Greece (the “West” part of the term) and YuQiang and Partners Interior Design, a design studio based in Shenzhen, China (the “East” part of the term), this private home is the ideal link between Western design directives and Eastern lifestyle requirements.
The project takes place in a long, narrow and stately apartment whose façade connects to the access street via an elegant bow-window and to a large but not very attractive interior courtyard through a gallery. In between, 140 square meters to resolve more or less conventional housing requirements.
Two key strategies drive the design as a whole. The first is that there are no hallways between rooms; they connect directly via an enfilade of sorts. This gives rise to a series of intermediary spaces that lack a defined code or function, which transforms them into potential play, reading, storage rooms, etc. These spaces which serve as a backbone to the dwelling don’t even feature doors, and their partitions fall short of the ceiling, making them, as it were, rooms within an original container space.
The second decision is structuring all rooms on three sections, based on three levels. A top level – the original wooden beam and ceramic vault ceiling – runs throughout the house and is painted grey. Nothing breaks up this level, since partitions do not reach up to the ceiling. Running from 60 cm to 230 cm and painted white, an intermediary level encompasses and structures the rooms, closing in the space even though there are no doors and the partitions don’t reach the ceiling. The lower level, running from the floor to a height of 60 cm, features flooring rising up the partitions in distinctive contrast for each space, while maintaining symmetry with the entrance – tile for wet rooms, wood for living rooms and bedrooms, and a new type of tile for outdoor-facing rooms, the street-side bow-window and the gallery connecting to the courtyards. The thresholds linking the rooms feature a new material, white micro-cement, which likewise covers the partitions in the entrance, which was re-arranged to clearly establish the public spaces facing the street and the private spaces facing the inner courtyard.
The entire interior space is thus organised as a series of rooms which are set off but connected and which always connect to the two exits to the outside, through which light penetrates into more interior spaces, creating a beautiful light gradation. Spaces which require more privacy follow a similar pattern but with greater privacy.
The gallery leading to the courtyards was completely demolished and was re-built (both structurally and in terms of building materials) using enormous wood doors featuring different cuts and glasses of various transparency that manage to illuminate the interior despite its unfavourable orientation while blurring the unappealing view.
Tamarit Apartment, by RAS Arquitectura
Photography by Jose Hevia
A Danish couple based in South America engaged us to design and equip their newly built Copenhagen apartment. Furniture, fittings, colors and materials were carefully selected for the clients. With the client’s desire to create a modern apartment, whilst avoiding the usual collection of Scandinavian classics, we brought life and personality to the cold white bare rooms and gave their home a sense of meaning and personality. Several bespoke pieces were created for this home – library wall shelving, walk-in closets and benches, office cabinet walls, kitchen cabinet, entrance wall storage and a lounge table with thick terrazzo plates and brass details.
Krøyers Plads, Denmark, by Studio David Thulstrup
Photography by Hampus Berndtson
Under the creative direction of Tom Dixon, Design Research Studio (DRS) have created the interiors for Bronte, a new restaurant located on the Strand overlooking Trafalgar Square. Inspired by the history of the Strand, Victorian explorers, extraordinary collectors and Cabinet of Curiosities, BRONTE is DRS’s first standalone restaurant since Eclectic in Paris.
The restaurant boasts striking architectural features such as an arched glazed facade leading from the traditional colonnade terrace into a double heighted space with a mezzanine level and a more intimate dining room towards the back. Floor to ceiling windows bathe the pantry area in natural light, with a subtle and stylish palette travelling through to the main restaurant.
Bronte Restaurant, Strand, London, by Design Research Studio
Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 is an iconic landmark that has inspired architecture since its inception in 1967. This beautifully composed apartment building offers tenants the possibility of living in a village within a high-rise context. The stacking of each apartment allows each tenant to have a one-of-a-kind unit layout while sharing a garden terrace with an adjoining tenant. The only commonality of these unique spaces is the panoramic view of the city skyline across the St-Lawrence river below.
Our mandate for the H67 project was to refurbish a unit that had been remodeled many times in the past, resulting in views obstructed by opaque interior partitions. As a result, primary challenge was not only to restore the panoramic views to optimize the distribution of light throughout the apartment but to also retain the private interior spaces required for comfortable living. The functional and minimal design of the open space was obtained by removing all interior walls. Then, glass was added to the original concrete walls to add qualities of transparency and reflection.
The apartment gives the impression of being part of a series of moving cubes, evoking the flow of the river that runs beside this modern day version of hanging gardens. Integrating the qualities of an individual home and garden into an urban high-rise, through a medium of prefabricated cubes was a revolutionary concept that rethought the apartment building concept in 1967.
H67, Montréal, Canada, by Studio Practice
Photography by Adrien Williams & Gorgin S. Fazli
Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop was approached by a high end kitchen specialist to create a new wine tasting concept and experience in the basement of their new showroom refurbishment. They answered the brief by creating a wine cave clad entirely in matt black concrete panels. The concrete panels absorb the majority of natural light and create low levels of illumination that give maximum atmosphere for the wine tasting experience. A spiral wine cellar was added into the basement with an opening glazed lid capable of storing 2800 bottles of wine. All metalwork for the project, including staircase, handrails and wine cages were designed by SAAW.
Wine Cellar, London, United Kingdom, by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop
Photography by Nicholas Worley
The project comes out of the need to reorganize the space and to solve structural problems related to the age of the building located in the centre of Milan. The structural refurbishment affects the whole pavement and the load-bearing beams of the ceiling, which have been replaced and implemented for a correct load distribution. The bearing wall that divided the living area from the bedrooms has remained the only pre-existing item of the old dwelling and actually it still divides the two macro areas of the house.
Nevertheless, the entire layout has been redesigned according to the needs of the new ownership, in detail, the kitchen has been added on the living room, optimising spaces. Kitchen is composed by a unique monolithic volume, made out of burnished steel plates. The kitchen cabinets have been replaced by a Carrara marble shelf, which enhances the room, making it an installation. Great attention is put in the choice of the all the materials and in their composition. Marble and burnished steel interact with a third particular finish: a cement effect, which dresses the whole architectural volume made of corridor, kitchen and living room, creating a perceptive unit and a clear separation from the sleeping area.
A particular attention has been given to the development of the bathroom, that becomes a wellness area, characterised by a wide space and precious finishes. Its presence is no longer hidden behind a latch, but it interacts with the living and with the rest of the apartment thanks to a built-in divider in resin.
The bedroom is separated from the rest of the apartment by means of an invisible door with a pivot hinge. Inside it, there’s a wide walk-in-closet, whose walls are made out of panels rotating up to 360 degrees, which can be completely opened, guaranteeing an optimal natural lighting, and which can become at the same time dividers and large containers.
Sought After, Milan, Italy, by AIM studio
Photography by Simone Furiosi
This small loft on the top floor of a 1644 building originally built in Rome by Architect Mattia de Rossi (pupil of Bernini) and renovated in 1719 by Architect Alessandro Specchi ( famous designer of The Spanish Steps in partnership with Francesco De Sanctis ) consists of an open-plan living area and kitchen on the main level in which only the bathroom is compartmented, with a private bedroom on the mezzanine level.
The living area is characterized by the use of reflex glass to produce a sense of expansion and compenetration of space. The table and the sofa are in solid chestnut like the original beams in the ceiling. The floor in the living area is of matt Roman Travertine slabs and the access to the bathroom is characterized by a flush door to the wall of elevated height.
The sleeping area accessed by a suspended staircase is characterized by a white finish curved parapet, by a suspended bed and by the suspended serpentine tv stand (Alessandro De Sanctis prototype). The lighting around the loft is dominated by luminous grooves that produces an indirect light that make the atmosphere more suggestive.
Apostoli Loft, Rome, Italy, by Alessandro De Sanctis – des interior architecture
The owner of this Brighton house required an interior that reflected the geometry of the building’s architecture. To achieve this brief, Mim Design undertook full planning, interior architectural design and decoration. Each view has aspect to a key interior feature or form, and each element within the house proportionally creates a sculptural form. The interiors have a sense of balance, calm and space.
From the front entry, leading through to the lounge with its elegantly curved fireplace, the space feels soft and warm. Light streams through the windows, and natural elements such as smoked oak floors, elegant grey marble, and black stained timber, create a muted sense of luxury.
MAH Residence, Brighton, Australia, by MIM Design
Photography by Peter Clarke