An Apartment Without Center

by Lee Chul & Liu Jing

'An Apartment Without Center' is a small dwelling with natural and simple beauty, located in Beijing, designed by Chinese architects Lee Chul & Liu Jing.

Chul renovated the 90m² flat for his wife, who wanted a more flexible layout that would also create the illusion of greater space. Walls were knocked through and the space redivided to decrease the scale of utility rooms such as the kitchen and bedrooms in favor of larger living areas. The bathroom is now the only room in the apartment with a door.

The design tries to find a kind of open-plan living space to release the program and traffic, and motivate more possibilities between user behavior and living space. Spatial organization can influence people's behavior. In the city most Chinese people live in apartments that are designed by commercial companies. In this kind of apartment most family life happens in the living room, which becomes the center of gravity.

At first, the client's family didn't understand the desire for a more open-plan layout, because the concept is only just catching on in Beijing. Chul said the influence for open-plan design is coming largely from architects educated outside of China, but that he believes its popularity will grow — even though it is already going out of fashion in other parts of the world.

Different zones of the apartment are all linked, creating one continuous space where the only distinction between dining room, bedroom and lounge is through furniture.

The walls are painted white throughout to add to the illusion of space, while the floors and furniture are made from matching light-colored timber to create a pared-back aesthetic.

Mismatched seats are arranged around a pair of wooden tables stationed at either end of the living space, which can be used as working or dining areas.

Other furniture is tucked away in nooks or against walls to create an obstacle-free living space along one side of the apartment.

Two beds with wooden frames are set into niches and secluded by fine translucent curtains at night. Further curtains hang between each section of the living space, allowing it to be segmented into a more traditional layout that provides a degree of privacy.

Design
Lee Chul (李喆) & Liu Jing (劉晶)
Location
Beijing, China
Date of design
Date of completion
Photographs
Liu Jing (劉晶)