The project is a top-floor apartment located on the west side of Beihai. In order to give the mixed-race daughter a more stable and free growth environment, the client commissioned the designer Wang Daquan a renovation of the apartment. Thus, the East and the West, the new city and the ancient capital, the tradition and the contemporary, the straightforward clearness and chaotic metaphor, are all wisely woven together by space.
Towering in the row upon row of office buildings on the second ring financial street, this is one of the most prosperous areas in Beijing. In a home on the top floor of the international apartment, a large area of organ curtain is hanging inside the corridor glass window curtain with a strong sense of sequence, just like a large piece of Chinese art paper. The sunlight in the afternoon shines on the gaps of the white organ curtain to form grating light effect, taking this small space out of the prosperity.
It is a top-floor apartment located on the west side of Beihai. In order to give the mixed-race daughter a more stable and free growth environment, the client commissioned the designer Wang Daquan a renovation of the apartment. Thus, the East and the West, the new city and the ancient capital, the tradition and the contemporary, the straightforward clearness and chaotic metaphor, are all wisely woven together by space.
The connection between space and people
In this 300-square-meter apartment, the nearly 100-square-meter Japanese-style courtyard in the southeast corner becomes a comfortable and hidden viewing platform above the city. Viewed from the glass wall on the east side, the sight of Beijing spreads from west to east, covering the low houses and tree crown of the inner city as well as tall buildings in the CBD area, as if completing the walking through city on the time axis.
The courtyard is like a forgotten hideaway in the urban forest, which becomes a world of tranquility among the towering buildings. A tatami room is separated from the courtyard by a window, where the owner can drink tea. When the old mellow and fragrant tea soup brings warm and breezy feeling in stomach, the sunlight outside the window just happen to produce the projection of the courtyard landscape into the tatami room, where the dark shadows are swaying with the breeze, and the natural scenery is reshaped by light and wind, creating another texture indoors.
Thanks to the original particular building structure, the inside space becomes relatively open with sufficient lighting after the non-structural walls are removed. The construction method brings the ever-changing natural light into the interior. Filtered by the spatial structure and material, and integrated with the layered landscape, the indoor and outdoor are connected closely to echo with each other.
Under the influence of Eastern and Western cultures, the clients have had many ideas about the appearance of apartment. More importantly, they attach great importance to the creation of a learning and growing environment for their daughter. The original intention of this project is also for the girl who will go to primary school soon and will have a new growth stage here. They want a comfortable and free space featured traditional oriental cultural deposit.
Therefore, in order to create a closer connection between the entire space and the owner, the chief designer Wang Daquan disassembled lots of traditional and contemporary, eastern and western cultural symbols and transformed them into the design elements in the arrangement of space, the change of light, the propriety of landscape, and the setting of functions. The design seems to be extremely retreated here, covering every corner without a trace, but with a more flexible appearance.
Dismantling of dynamics and stillness
In the apartment, there is a narrow and long corridor after entering the house. The process of walking here is like walking slowly to the opposite side of the noise. The glass screen and blinds soaked by sunlight are set opposite to the sliding door of the tatami room on the right side, where the light and shadow correspond to each other.
The sliding door of the tea room can be completely closed, isolating the tea room and the courtyard out of sight. When the sliding door is semi-open, some gaps are left in different positions, through which tea room, the courtyard and the outline of the city far away are cut out as a single frame, entering the sight with some hazy colors. And once the door is completely opened, the sight becomes a scroll of painting that was suddenly unfolded, and several scenes suddenly appeared together. From chaos to clarity and openness, it is only a matter of the owner’s thoughts.
Opening the door that connects the tea room and the courtyard, the cool breeze with the fragrance of plants suddenly penetrates into the room, and there is also the gurgling of the flowing water comes from nowhere. Just like a pavilion on hill, the tatami room has the fresh breeze, flowing water and the fragrance of forest, so that the entire space gets a continuous invisible nourishment. Rather than bustling in the city, the owners prefer to sit in the tea room and stay in the rainy courtyard to get fulfilled in peace and cleanliness.
The tea room space eliminates redundancy, in which all functions are hidden to meet the daily needs of the owner, such as meditation, Buddhist hall, tea party, etc. The restrained design technique increases possibilities, and the space with nothing becomes a space of everything by itself under different opportunities. At the end of the corridor, the Chinese ink painting leads to the open functional area of the apartment.
The living room and the dining room are separated clearly, and the kitchen is also incorporated into this area by the large glass partition wall. The entire surface of bright glass curtain wall brings wonderful light to the open functional area where the family’s daily life is gathered. In addition to rest and being alone, the family members are cared for by each other because of the space layout. Next to the living room, a door hidden into the wall divides the lounge area.
The master bedroom, daughter’s room and main bathroom are distributed on both sides of the corridor behind the door. The daughter’s room also adopts the Japanese style design, and adds more flexible storage space and accessory function. The dark and soft light fills the whole rest area. The two bedrooms and the courtyard share the city view from west to east. Dynamics and stillness convert in the rest area, and the scenery outside the window once again connects the interior with the city.
Details make perfect
Gray and wood colors are the palette of the entire space. The magenta and bright yellow sofas in the reception area are the visual focal points of the space. Outside the window, the landscape in the courtyard also echoes the interior, balancing the space rhythm. Stepped from the Japanese-style courtyard into the more contemporary interior, the modern materials and craftsmanship convey an oriental artistic conception. The straight lines and arcs draw the outline of space, leaving a large amount of blank space to give the space a distinct oriental interest and charm. The open and smooth line and simple and practical functions match the owner’s international living habits.
The kitchen is like a rotating stage, where the family’s daily life can be seen and cared for by each other, and becomes an energy field full of interaction and warmth in the space. Over time, people living in the space are nourished. With colorful and rich daily life and inner peace, the body and mind are purified and fulfilled.
Besides, the owner has extremely high requirements for the practicability of space. The designer and the owner selected some furniture together, such as Italian bathroom hardware, FLOS floor lamps, B&B sofas, Spanish kitchen plates, etc., which are finally all ready inside. The quality details make life relaxed, which is also the basis for free space.
In the design process, the designer Wang Daquan finalized many details on site. At the ceiling of the master bedroom, straight lines and arcs met there. This was not deliberately done, but based on the structural beams and columns of the building. Instead of more coverage, it is better to follow the structure and echo with the entire space. The arc in the space is also a safety guarantee for children.
After fully understanding the owner’s preferences, Wang Daquan even reserved space and lighting for each artwork, waited for the owner to fill it. Two years later, the decoration of artworks and ornaments still maintains the best density and rhythm. The space is still, but it also nourishes the owner over the years and restrains the impulse and anxiety now and again. This is probably another important meaning of home for us.
The water in a corner of the courtyard is streaming continuously, which seems to be still under the daylight. Every morning, the sunlight slowly shines from the bedroom and courtyard to the living room and corridor, stopping and gently reflecting on each rough or delicate wall.
Traditional interest and charm are scattering in form, but they cohere the core in the contemporary space. In the space, the hard lines and arcs merge, the owner’s sharpness gradually becomes softened, and the child grows up freely, fully and independently. In the end, space and people help each other to grow and nourish achievements for each other.
Project name: Yin’s House; Project location: Xizhimen, Beijing, China; Interior design: Tanzospace; Chief Designer: Wang Daquan; Design Assistant: Bai Yuanhao / Liu Yanshuang; Area: 300m²; Design time: 2017; Completion time: 2019; Photographer: Shi Yunfeng;