A Minimalist Home Entrenched in Chinese Culture

This minimalist home managed to preserve the Chinese culture tastefully in a modern setting with a clean and chic design strategy. To bridge culture into their next phase of life, the homeowners of a 40-year-old corner terrace home called upon the creative services of UPSTAIRS_ to reform their home for the future.

Through the consultation, it was determined that the homeowners were deeply entrenched in the history of Chinese culture yet envisioned a home that incorporated elements of modern architecture. With the knowledge that each member of the large family unit had differing lifestyle habits, the design team pulled from the temple of design to conclude a plan stacked on creating diverse spatial environment while staying true to their roots.

Keeping it clean and chic

The architectural changes in this minimalist home envisioned by the team were simple yet technically challenging – the external façade was envisioned as a modern architectural shell constructed with century-old clay bricks reclaimed from gentrified streets of olden China. Bricks jut out and form an intriguing pattern on the exterior, attracting the eyes of curious passersby.

From basement to attic in this minimalist home, the four levels were arranged in a pile of intersecting levels. On the ground level, the design team conceived of the floor as one with an outward-facing view with the area intended as a communal space for family gatherings. On the same plane as the entrance, the television area is the first room visitors find themselves in after stepping past the sliding glass doors. A wide built-in sofa curved to the shape of the level functions as an inviting gesture for guests to make themselves at home. From the entrance hall, a short flight of steps leads visitors to the kitchen and dining area demarcated by the granite-clad platform.

A floor down, the underground level was intended to serve as a self-contained unit devoid of natural light. It is a dramatic turn from the light-filled presence on the ground level, channeling a subterranean feel with intimate pockets of space removed from each other. Light still penetrates the underground however as slivers of light fall dramatically on the textured surfaces of natural granite and concrete.

Integrating oriental details within a pared back context

The level above the ground floor resides as a private domain for rest with each room retaining the soothing design language with segments of the Chinese brickwork exterior remaining visible in each room. The cool touch of the bricks then segues into the warm notes of wood flooring and transitions into the headboard structure. Fenestrations were deliberately created within the façade by shifting selected bricks on the wall to offer brief glimpses of the outside world from the bed.

The top floor heralded as the Sky level, functions as a split-level that allows light to creep in from an open roof at dawn. The calm and idyllic meditative space is used as a place for quiet reading or just a place to wind down after a long day at the office.

In the right hands, a new home can be transformed into a project of marvel and intrigue. For the Ply House, the renovation process took slightly over six months and the result is a contemporary approach that pushes the boundaries with traditional craft and design intellect. The ambitious hands-on experimentation by UPSTAIRS_ have heralded a new design movement and shattered the glass ceiling for designer homes.

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