Bare Apartment

China, 2012

Bare Apartment was built in 2012, in the industrial town Shiyan, 30km north of Shenzhen. It was a great opportunity to work in an industrial town where our design approaches were at first controversial to the clients, their friends and the builders. The preconceptions about luxurious space of the mainstream decorative design market in the region became a barrier of the project. We had to carry out numerous samples and demonstrations on site in order to pursue a proposal that emphasizes on the substantial spatial quality, for the inhabitants to indulge themselves in the luxuries of tactile materiality and essence of spatiality.

We have designed an interior space that induces the sense of freeness and firmness, resembles to the spatial quality of the factory interior space. The quantities of the partition walls were reduced to minimum by introducing at least two full height openings of doors or internal windows to each room. When the doors and internal windows are all opened, the apartment can be fully experienced as one single space where natural lights can penetrate through from all directions.

The truthfulness and firmness spatial quality was achieved by exposing the structural walls and beams to reveal the structural strength of the architecture. The natural colors and textures of the materials were retained, so that the space can be experienced in its barest conditions.

Through out the project, the craftsmen were irritated about having to leave most of the surfaces exposed, and the clients were in doubt about the exposed structural elements, bare concrete finishes and the openness layout, as the design resembles to the factory interior space of the industrial town where they work. It was a rewarding challenge, at the end the preconception about harsh factory space was reconceived as tactile, firmness and liberating spatiality in this apartment design.