Fantasy Penthouse in Beijing by Dariel Studio
This fantasy penthouse is a 1500 sqm residential project designed by Dariel Studio. It is the result of combining 12 apartments spread over the two last floors of a building in Beijing, China.
“The last on-to-date residential project designed by Dariel Studio is a truly modern fantasy. Located in the vibrant Sanlitun area, this 1500 sqm (16,146 sqft) apartment features an extra-ordinary décor that pays homage to the client’s eccentric personality. 12 apartments spread over the two last floors of the building have been reunited to give shape to the current penthouse. Thomas Dariel ‘s new interior creates volumes that offer a sense of space, a feeling of immensity.
Openness is indeed the first statement. The first floor is a vast open space. No partition. Instead of walls, Thomas Dariel plays with textures, materials, colours, lines and shapes to create spaces that tell each a different story. The living room features a huge void with supporting spindle-like columns and transversal mirror-covered beams that reflect first and second floors at the same time. Looking at the reflection, ones have difficulty to know where the space starts and ends. While having a rather low ceiling, the entrance also uses an optical illusion that brings the same spatial feeling. When entering, a dark wooden path guides the visitor through the main hall, surrounded by spiralling black and white glossy reflective stripes. Ones have difficulty to position themselves in this psychedelic space. In the perspective, an impressive and once again seemingly endless round-shaped staircase yet helps the visitor to find his path up to the core of the apartment. Masterpiece in itself, the staircase is located at the center of the penthouse, opening, connecting and leading to all rooms. It is the pith of the space structure, the heart of the design.
The way Thomas Dariel plays with the space sets the tone for the whole design. Indeed, this new project is a clear homage to the extravagance of post-modernism. Bright and strong colors, decorative surface patterns, asymmetric lines, shapes that have little reference to function, deliberate eccentricity and playfulness, all these elements featured in the apartment’s interior design are very much characteristics of the post-modern movement known as Memphis and represented, amongst others, by Ettore Sottsass. ‘ I was influenced a lot by the Memphis movement and the designs from that period, these are positive memories from my childhood which I wanted to bring them back into the design’. The whole space is elaborated and sophisticated, featuring an utterly designed environment where ceilings, walls, storages, furniture have been customized to serve this design purpose. Thomas Dariel creates spaces that offer a real experience and that make people feel at ease. Colours are strong tools to achieve that goal. Always associated with emotions and feelings, colours help to define the space functions and their related sensibility. ‘The surface of things gives enjoyment, their interiority gives life’ (Mondrian). Life. Thomas Dariel designs here a playful, eccentric and poetic décor that tells us a story, bringing life to a fairy tale.
Contemporary art pieces are displayed throughout the space, reflecting the client’s passion towards art and design. The “Lost dogs” from Aurele, placed right at the entrance as if ones were entering an art exhibition, complement and contrast with the firmly modern atmosphere. In the art display zone, the emblematic Claudio Colucci “Squeezes” are subtlety enlightening the space with gracefulness and mystery.
If the style is extravagant, the master plan of the apartment answers the client’s needs and requirements. While the first floor resumes the public functions of the apartment – entrance, living room, dining room, kitchen, guest bedrooms/ bathrooms, kids playground and art display area – the second floor accommodates more private and intimate ones – master bedroom/ bathroom, kids bedrooms/bathrooms, family area, dressing room and study. Each space itself and the way they related to one another were thought and designed in collaboration with a Fengshui master to ensure smooth flow and harmony. ‘This project is for me then ending chapter of my design before my 30s. I gathered all my design signatures, references and styles and expressed them through a design, referring to who I am. ’”
Photos courtesy of Dariel Studio