In the end of 2016, as the only architects in our group who just reach their 30s, we naturally take the job of designing houses for our friends.
Based on previous design experiences, we believe that today’s apartment building in Shanghai, with stabilizing and repeated forms, has no longer relevant to the idea of “home” and become indistinctive in Basel, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and many other countries in the world. Yet the interior design has varied between China and the rest of the world.
Compared with the mild and slow-changing style in the Western and Northern Europe, interior design in China varies and changes a lot, European, austere European, new Chinese, American, industrial, retro, Japanese, Nordic…these words and tags have been spewed along with the market and media in the past 30 years. It also changes very quickly, the design of architraves, carvings and teakwood floor that were quite popular to our parents from 1960s and 1970s have become tricky problems to the next generations.
In China, interior design is a set of scenes, a play on the stage, a machine for dream making, and another set of statements of globalization.In Shanghai, interior design is fashion, a fast-moving consumer product, a symbol of identity, and a field for the competition of beauty.All these realities are contrary to our values, that is, good design should be durable, simple, resistible against the rapid consumption while responsible for social fairness.
怎样避免落入快消的陷阱？如何让室内设计具有超时性？怎样让步入成年的年轻人意识到，对于一个家庭，独特的价值观远重于物质传递，而设计则是这一切的暗喻？面对这一系列问题，对客户的特征分析被置于首要。 我们的业主是一对年轻夫妇，受过高等教育，具备美学基础，有着现代都市青年的特征及生活习惯。这是一个理性的家庭，井井有条，自省，与我们在欧洲工作中接触到的年轻人相似，而这也是社会步入工业化后新一代年轻人的写照。 如何在方案中体现这一特点，设计一套宁静克制的住宅，并且避免过度设计，以便业主未来自行安排，成为项目的主要策略。
How to avoid falling into the trap of fast consumption? How to make the interior design go beyond time? How to make the new generation understand that unique value is much more important to a family than materials, and that unique value can be represented through design?To respond these issues, we believe the top priority is to analyze the client. Our client is a young couple, highly educated with sophisticate aesthetics; they share the characters and lifestyle as other young people who live in modern cities. They have a rational family, well organized, self-reflected, similar to the young people we met in our work in Europe, which is a portrayal of the new generation of young people after industrialization. How to present this feature in the program, and to create a quiet and restrained dwelling without over-design to allow maximum flexibility?
▼入口厢内望：宁静克制的住宅，view from the entrance: a quiet and restrained dwelling
We start de design from functionality and streamlining. Such decision is made as a response to the irregular plan in domestic housings. The apartment enjoys very good natural light and the function areas are quite straight, yet the space itself is not charming. The design team once proposed to remove the kitchen wall to enlarge the living room area, or to enlarge the main bedroom area, but after consulting with the owners, we chose to respect their expectations and retained all existing walls, we simply replaced the functions of a few rooms.
After the basic plane was determined, we further researched the interior atmosphere and the palette. Considering the dust in Shanghai, we decided to choose simple blocks with straight lines to make it earlier to clean and maintain.
▼体块感强线条简练的设计，choose simple blocks with straight lines to make it earlier to clean and maintain
At the same time, in order to make the design more persistent and to avoid it becoming “popular” under the trap of consumerism, the architects recommended to use white, grey and wood color and keep the existing floor by simple restoration. The refreshing floor color not only distanced the space far from the outside world that is constantly changing, but also gives the entire apartment a quiet atmosphere like an art gallery. It is also in line with the characteristics of the owners themselves. The background is clean as an exhibition hall, furniture thus become visually prominent, then the architect chose simple lights, sofa, tables with similar outlines. Air-conditioners were hidden in the cabinets or installed on secondary walls to maintain the flat and uniformed environment of the space, all tubes were installed in the outside.
▼以白色，灰色，木色此类中性色为主色，to use white, grey and wood color and keep the existing floor by simple restoration
而为了让整个室内具有连贯性并在多年后看上去依然简练耐久，在装饰品的选择上团队劝退业主购买时下热门的装饰，而建议选择Ellsworth Kelly，Josef Albers的画作。尽管创作于七十年代然而至今来看依然克制美观。而客厅中则选用Assaf Hinden的摄影，他擅长将荒废的器物重组并赋予新的含义，也与设计概念接近。而在更细小的一些日用品上我们则建议视觉上具有逻辑性且与整体统一的装饰品，并将更多的室内空间留给业主自行打理。
To create a coherent and durable space, the architects chose to convince the owners to give up popular decorations but to select paintings by Ellsworth Kelly and Josef Albers. Their works, although created in the 1970s, still look beautifully restrained. Assaf Hinden’s photography was in the living room, his reinterpretation of abandoned objects is quite relevant to the concept of the space. For daily necessities, we suggested to introduce objects that are visually logic and relevant to the space, and we also tried to leave more space to the owner to decide by themselves.
▼选用与家装契合的装饰品，choose decorations which is relevant to the concept of the space
The project gradually developed as we expected, yet the owners’ baby was born unexpected three months before the construction was completed. How would the baby feel about the space? And what kind of impact would it have on this baby? It will be another generation who will grow up in a completely different time. We hold both expectations and uncertainty, and time will explain everything after. Finger crossed.