Wuxi, China – 2015
A standard cookie-cutter Chinese apartment turned personal space with contemporary comfort, through thoughtful interior design that reflected the traditions and aspirations of the homeowner.
Interior design is always a personal project, but for this client there was more at stake – Wuxi, his hometown, like many cities in China, is quickly becoming a sea of anonymous high rises and compounds. The apartment was acquired to be closer to his family, but the ambition was to transform the standard cookie-cutter place into a personal space with contemporary comfort. The task, then, was to design a space that reflected the traditions and aspirations of modern China.
Structurally, the high didn’t leave much room for spatial changes. We decided to focus on creating impact through material. If you’ve ever been apartment shopping in a Chinese city, you know what the layout of these compounds are like – the living room is in the center, without much contact to natural light or air. But the idea was there’s always more than meets the eye – we counted on high quality material in clever ways to be the agents of surprise. Reflective materials bring the light deeper into the apartment. Copper wall transitions into the surrounding spaces reinforces that there’s more than meets the eye in this home.
Mahjong card tables, a karaoke room, and a large dining room feature as major entertainment spaces. It is a hometown apartment, after all – comforts of home and ability to host is important!
The master bedroom is hidden behind a bookcase, adding to the playful secrecy of the design. The rooms are infused with brightness and color, and soft furnishings that provide different, unique experiences.
The furniture is marries contemporary style with function – ceramic stools resembling classic Chinese drums, marble topped coffee tables, and eclectic, modern sofas all make this home the perfect place to relax in style.
We love the idea of a gem like this, hiding in plain sight in a sea of high rises. It was an opportunity that mirrored the philosophy of AIM – bold, refined, unexpected – and an interesting direction in Chinese culture that favors individuality and style, but never without tradition.
Design scope: interior and FFE
Design team: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf, Ivan Yu, Rachel Wang
Photography: Eiichi Kano & Johan Sellén