Beijing Kunlun Tower Apartments, China

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A huge new development in the centre of Beijing provided an interesting challenge for interior designers creating the ultimate luxury apartment.

Beijing’s Kunlun Towers hold luxurious apartments enjoying panoramic views across the Forbidden City. Inspired by China’s holy Kunlun mountain range, the two towers are 115m in height and built on a single solid four-storey base. Made largely of glass, with two lateral strips of slate that hold the lift shafts, the towers are composed of 23 residential units, each set on a different level and designed in three different styles: simplexes – single level apartments covering 300sq m; duplexes – constructed over two levels covering 600sq m; and two 900sq m triplex attics, each with its own terrace and outdoor swimming pool.

In the apartment interior designed by Lee WeiMin of LWM Architects, the aim was to create a living environment embodying person-friendly simplicity and European styling.

A sense of grandeur is created with the use of large Italian ivory colored marble tiles. A screen of subtly lined-up branches within a glass casing hides the large elevated dining area from the entrance hallway. A Baxter dining table sits underneath two fragile-looking Penta lighting fixtures. The indirect lighting reflects down from a wood-paneled ceiling onto generous, leather-upholstered dining chairs.

The dining area is sandwiched between the living area and the kitchen, and is reachable from both the front doorway and from a hidden service entrance located behind sand-colored Berloni kitchen cupboards that are laden with Siemens appliances.

The client was keen to show off the apartment’s double storey height, so in the design stage of the building LWM collaborated with the architect to have the living room windows stretch over two floors. The living room is dominated by double-storey windows draped in Sahco curtains. So while the living room is not enormous in terms of floor space (50sq m), it certainly takes up a lot of cubic metres (300m3).

For LWM to sell its design, luxury had to be central – a tricky task for someone known for minimalism and clean lines. LWM challenged the idea of being dependent on unnecessary embellishments, and the design process was therefore less of a collaboration and more a case of the designer influencing the client.

A sense of luxury was created by complementing furniture like the Minotti sofas, which are placed around a lacquered wooden coffee table top on a chromed steel frame. All this is tied together by a Fendi fur rug. The living room is only sparsely decorated with some strategically placed candle holders and two standing dark colored Flos standing lights.

LWMcreated a balustrade to break up the large pane of glass of the second floor section of the living roomand also have an open space where the owner could communicate between the first and second floor.

By the side of the staircase, tucked away behind large wooden blinds is a small office that is old-world in color and texture yet modern in line and form. A large desk table is set centrally underneath a hanging Artemide light and can look out on to the corridor or be hidden if the blinds are closed.

Behind the office are two small bedrooms and upstairs, the master bedroom looks down into the living room. A small section of living room ceiling on the second floor functions as a galley way to a large walk-in closet. A king-size Minotti bed sits against a mid-grey natural stone covered wall and is flanked on both sides by Minotti side tables and Flos lights.

A large white Flaminia bathtub, surrounded by hardwood decking and shaded by Venetian blinds, sits in front of the window. The decking extends into the shower cubicle, with double Fantini rain shower heads, and contributes to an outdoor feeling. The bathroom sinks are made of natural beige stones with large mirrors above and like the showers are adorned with very minimal and square Fantini brassware.

The apartment is fitted out with halogen spotlights to give a general even lighting and indirect lighting has been placed in the ceiling coves. The unobtrusive lighting allows the single light fittings to help create a warmer environment.

LeeWeiMin has shown how a luxurious apartment can be designed in a minimal way and yet have all the warmth required for a family home.

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