By his own estimate, advertising executive Guang Liu’s passion for collecting vintage furniture has only grown over the last decade. "About 10 years ago, my obsession with used articles began, and I started to buy a lot of them, and gradually developed my ‘guilty pleasure,’" Guang. "My office and my friends’ warehouses are filled with weird things that I have collected."
More recently, Guang asked his friend, designer Bob Chen of Bob Chen Design Office, to help him outfit a home that was up to the task of storing and displaying his treasures. "Bob and I have known each other for about 15 years, and have been working our way through our own careers in Hangzhou together," he says. "We are good friends, and at the same time we learn from each other."
Chen led a talented team of designers and makers to create a cohesive home for Guang and his collections, one that combines and contrasts the homeowner’s favorite finds with bespoke and modern pieces.
Getting the mix right started in the living room. There, a 15-foot custom sofa anchors one wall, with one end incorporating a discreet tea station housed in a cabinet. The cabinet stores water, accommodates an electric socket for plugging in the kettle, and stores tea and tea-making supplies. "My wife, who loves to drink tea, is very fond of the design," says Guang.
At the opposite wall, the team placed a low-lying console carved from a single log that was over 18 feet long. "My good friend, Yonghong, who is the creative director of the furniture brand SoLIFE, took me to Indonesia for half a month to find [the log]," Guang recalls. Chen then designed a coffee table from four pieces of 19th-century Bluestone from the Netherlands, and paired it with a rich garnet velvet Pumpkin loveseat designed by Pierre Paulin for Ligne Roset.
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Such deft combinations proliferate throughout the home, thanks to Chen. According to Guang, the first step in the process was realizing that he couldn’t tackle his house’s design as he would a regular work project, but would instead need his friend’s guidance and expertise.
"I built a file folder on the desktop of my PC and threw in my favorite pictures, including structure, function, technology, decoration, and details," says Guang. "The more I looked at it, the more doubt I had about my own ideas. And I began to understand that a perfect home cannot be sewn up by fragmentary points and surfaces, and space design is not like a jigsaw puzzle. So, I went to Bob and said, ‘Come on and help out.’"
Now, the home is filled, not only with all the pieces that Guang has scouted, but the skills and contributions of Chen and many other talented makers and friends. "If we break all the walls, a ‘home’ typically displays items that embody the owner’s memory," says the firm. "Visiting one's home is like going through one’s past and walking into their emotions."
Landscape Design: Shenshan Landscape Design
Interior Design: Bob Chen Design Office
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