A Xintiandi penthouse by Hong Kong architect Joyce Wang took the Residential Award at this year’s Inside Festival for her innovative use of industrial-inspired metals. In Wang’s words, the space is “a celebration of metal.”
The impetus came from the client’s personal history: he made his fortune from manufacturing micromotors.
“Xintiandi Penthouse” is largely an amalgam of sheet metal, weathered metal, and metal cabling. Wang utilized five kilometers of the latter and employed traditional boat-building techniques to do so. Much of this went to the penthouse’s striking cantilever staircase.
The staircase was the centerpiece of the project and of Wang’s Inside Festival submission. According to the entry, the function of the staircase is triadic. First, it envelopes a dining table, evoking a “‘nest-like’ environment.” Second, it serves artistically as a sculptural installation. Third, it acts as a physical barrier between the dining and living areas.
Wang’s bedrooms are also exceptional. They do not have windows. Instead, they are arranged along a hallway and fenced with one-way mirrors through which daylight can pass. Wang attributes this decision to the client’s familial values.
Though the space retains an industrial ethos that is intentional, Wang believes she managed to “inject femininity into those materials that are traditionally very hard, by manipulating the form and also making them more digestible in terms of scale.” Wood-grain etched concrete, walnut timber and Corten steel are all visible.
China’s industrial history was an important inspiration for the project; however, Wang denies that the interior is “a pastiche of East-meets-West,” crediting her ingenuity to her client’s passions.
Inside Festival took place in Singapore from October 1-3, 2014. This year’s festival will begin on November 4th, also in Singapore. Entries open in February.