A British Furniture Brand Built This Round Village in China

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By David Rudin / Published by Dwell
In Gaoming, China, the furniture company Timothy Oulton erected eight round houses, including one breathtaking domed structure, for its staff to live and work.

Next to its showroom in Gaoming, China, British furniture company Timothy Oulton erected a village of circular buildings to inspire and house its design staff. The conglomeration centers on the Dome Home, which contains a number of electrifying work areas under its semispherical wooden roof. The Dome Home is surrounded by seven two-story towers, known as Round Houses, that provide accommodations, including bedrooms, a laundry, and gym. 

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Clad in red shingles, the house’s titular dome is located in the midst of a lychee garden. All of its parts have been neatly fitted together, allowing the home to meet German Passive House standards and keeping energy consumption to a minimum. The benches, walls, and frame for the outdoor seating area were built from reclaimed wood and brick.

The village is united by environmentally-conscious commitments. The Round Houses and Dome Home were built in large part using reclaimed wood and brick. Moreover, the Dome Home was designed to meet the most stringent energy efficiency standards. This harmonious relationship with nature extends to the village’s layout, which includes meandering pathways for visitors to experience the peaceful man-made retreat.

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A sweeping spiral staircase occupies the center of the self-supporting dome. Its reclaimed pine treads echo the dome’s ceiling and contrast pleasantly with the raw steel railing. PAK LED lights installed in the floor add an extra touch of drama to the home’s showpiece.

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The Dome Home is divided into separate areas where designers can gather or break off to explore ideas. In the loft, a wooden desk blends seamlessly into its wooden environs. Meanwhile, on the lower level Timothy Oulton Shabby sofas with cushions made of real sheepskin off-cuts provide a comfortable place to congregate.

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Triple-glazed windows dot the dome’s shell, blurring the distinction between a window and a skylight as they rise. They illuminate a custom-made marble dining table that is encircled by Timothy Oulton Crossfire chairs upholstered in the brand’s Baa Baa sheep’s wool.

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A full-service kitchen is nestled under the dome’s loft. Clad in stainless steel, its custom-made cabinets match the appliances and the wine glass holder that hangs over the island. The kitchen’s black marble countertops echo the surface of the dining table.

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The Dome Home is part of a small community that also features seven round houses designed to accommodate designers and visitors. These round towers are all clad in reclaimed bricks. The Dome Home’s visual cues continue throughout the village, manifesting themselves in the form of curving paths and staircases.

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The Round Houses feature sleeping quarters outfitted with Timothy Oulton Brigadier mattresses and covers. The bed and wardrobe unit were both custom-made using reclaimed pine. Beyond the bed, a Halo Brussels armchair and marble coffee table serve as a space for private contemplation and relaxation.

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In the Round House’s bathroom, a custom black marble basin protrudes from the white marble-tiled walls. Smaller tiles follow the curve of the house’s outer wall, a curve that is echoed by the sculptural white bathtub, which sits under a Timothy Oulton Gyor crystal chandelier.