Did you know that I lived in China a while back? Well, after graduating in Interior Architecture in Milan, I moved to Beijing to attend a six-months internship. It was my first work experience and it changed my life. There is where I learned how to make 'modern luxury interior design'. And this article is plenty of inspiration about high-end residential, so keep reading to see some juicy images!
I was so lucky to be mentored by Fabrizio Gurrado, an Italian interior architect who loves China and who is trying to make it even more beautiful thanks to his design. He's got his own practice IS-AD in Beijing and we clicked immediately. The best project we did together was a luxurious apartment in the fancy area of Guomao.
Last April me and Fabrizio met at the Milan Design Week, and he happily announced: "We can do another one!". He had the occasion to refurbish another flat and asked him to work with him remotely from London. He remembered how easily we worked together in the past and thought we would be a good match to design this project.
What would you reply to this? Well, I don't know you but I must have sounded like "Hell yeah!".
I was involved in the concept phase remotely, which we finished in about a month and a half. We worked really fast, thanks to the time difference: I would design all day, then go to sleep; while I was sleeping it was already day in Beijing so he would keep designing. As soon as I got up I would start again so that we basically designed 24 hours no stop. So efficient!
Today I'm going to show you the living room design (more rooms to follow). But first let's have a look at the existing layout so that you can see the whole space.
As you can see, there is a mezzanine above the living room. We didn't like the existing stair location because it took a lot of space from the living area.
Also, we were asked to make space for: a piano in the living area, master bedroom with fitted closet room and en-suite, kid's bedroom communicating with guest room (so that the grandparents could come and look after the child), smaller kitchen, maid room, extra toilets, storage room.
Proposed layout | EDesign project
This is what we came up with:
The main change was to move the staircase away from the living room, we put it into a room that was previously a toilet. Then we played with the rest of the space to accommodate all other needs. We couldn't move many walls because many of them were structural but eventually managed to make it work.
In this initial phase, we also presented a mood board showing the 'look & feel' we wanted to achieve. The client did not have any specific requirement but she said she loves colours (apart from bright green!). So we made a board that was elegant and high-end, quite structured (because we are both architects and like geometric shapes) but at the same time welcoming and a bit fun.
I know, it seems like a lot to achieve in just one room but it works, I promise!
I also made some conceptual furniture boards for the living area:
And the mezzanine:
The concept | Modern luxury living room interior design
As usual, our goal was to mix Italian and Chinese style. This one project also ended up with a slight vintage twist that we hadn't planned but now love!
Below you can see a couple of visuals of the living room. They were made by Chinese graphic designers and look like real photos. I was really impressed.
Curve shapes were a theme. You can see above that the double height window has got an arc on top. Well, that curve shape inspired the design of the bespoke brass railing to the mezzanine. We think it looks like a piece of jewellery, doesn't it?
The walls are upholstered with bespoke panels painted in a light dusty pink. Originally we had made them grey, and they gave the room a lovely 20's atmosphere. But the client really wanted more colour so the light pink seemed like the perfect compromise (even for me who usually avoid pink as much as possible). I think it works very well in this particular case.
Furniture & Materials
My last task was to make sure that all furniture, lighting, and materials were chosen and carefully specified. So I made the tables below:
Here ended my job and now I'm getting regular updates from Fabrizio on-site and can't wait to see the final result!
I also had the pleasure to take part in choosing some fabrics. If you follow me on Instagram stories you'll have seen me going to Missoni Home to pic the dining armchairs' fabric or to Minotti for the sofa.
Want to see more updates from this huge project? Follow me on my Instagram profile!