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The Oriental Hermitage Amid Light and Shade

Sophia 2018-04-11 09:34

This poetic idealism in the Imperial Palace represented by designer Guo Ming, was supplemented with a touch of modern living attitude. And henceforth, at the core of Beijing, a new residential masterpiece hidden behind the buzzing streets was born.

The Imperial Palace is located on the ‘Dragon Axis’ of Beijing and at the golden corner of Outer Andingmen Avenue and North Inner Hepingmen Avenue. The surrounding area is tranquilized with a natural enclosure. Nevertheless, a lot of historical heritages are in the area, giving a sense of traditional archaic mood that the capital city beholds. As of the interior design, the style is naturalistic and full of oriental elements at the same time. Walking in the residence is as natural as like strolling along a countryside path. Meanwhile, the structure offers a layered experience, delicate yet profound.

Living in the madding city, yet just like breathing the country air. Thanks to the large green plant wall in the lobby, a mind-blowing green façade flows into the eyes. And it defuses and finally penetrates the glass, resulting in a green shadow cast onto the ground. Moreover, an elegant scent of flowers permeates from the wall. Dreamily, the residence is as if a green forest abounded with singing birds and fragrant flowers. While in Beijing, living in such a place is virtually everyone’s dream.

The union of heaven and human has always been the central ideology of Chinese since ancient times. As the Tao Te Ching said,“Human follows the earth, the earth follows the sky, the sky follows the Taoism, and the Taoism follows the nature.” Both philosophies concern the concordance between human and nature, as everything should follow its natural rules to reach the harmony in between. Such concept was featured in every aspect of the study designing. In the study, the texture of furniture is natural, delicate, yet elegant and implicit. The seemingly careless organization, however, features a beauty of intangibility and flexibility.

The ‘intangible, subtle and quiescent’ living attitude inherited in the details tranquilizes the space and meantime, extends its mood into the distance and helps the dwellers eliminate the madding crowd, sooth their pumping hearts and return to the natural and healthy lifestyles.


Not only the master enjoys in this living attitude, but the visitors also do. As the Analects quoted, “Is it not delightful to have friends coming from afar?” Placing comfortable cushions onto redwood furniture, with a slight touch of incense and a cup of mild tea, the master and the visitors sit together in the room, talk over the universe, or the trivial matters in mundane life, only to enjoy the lapse of leisure time.

Walk on the wooden floor and then enters the guest dining room. The spatial design of which is unsophisticated yet noble. The colors resemble the ancient style, firm but delicate, and also the spun silk correspond with the archaic folding screen, becoming the golden touch of the whole space. The wooden grates separate, but not break the integrity, resulting in a deeper sense of space, which is exactly the essence of traditional Chinese garden style.

“Restore the reality and remold it” is the designer’s aim in choosing materials. The largely used wooden materials bring with their original texture, which are inherited with subdued and honest simplistic aesthetic elements. Moreover, they also reflect the naturalistic taste of space and order in traditional Chinese culture.

The designer fully explored the essence of oriental Sinology and extracted bits for actual designs, finally created multiple layers of meanings through irregular shape of body of the materials. The design has the oriental mood of peaceful tranquility over time.


The VIP room on the fourth floor is another brilliant example of using green plants in indoor space. Wooden grates are again applied here, giving a texture of softness and naturalness, as well as a touch of comfort in the space. Moreover, such design also creates a natural environment for the dwellers to enjoy and relax.

Bamboo has long been a symbol of integrity and virtue in traditional Chinese culture. It creates elegant and refined indoor environment, offers brand-new visual and mental experience for the dwellers and makes the space full of condensed classical Chinese mood.

The designer fully explored the essence of oriental sinology and extracted bits for actual designs, finally created multiple layers of meanings through irregular shape of body of the materials, just like the oriental mood went through the vicissitudes of time.

Along with infusing the space with historical mood, the comfort, convenience and relaxation that modern dwellers’ pursue is also met here. Beams of sunshine cast through the glass roof, resembling ‘waterfall’ flowing through a wooden gallery. Amid the green, the optical wonder plays, resulting in creating varied rhythms of light and shade, bright and dim, and the endless charm of space.

Sparks of light are left on the ground, accompanied by the teapot bathing in the sunshine and it is the perfect place of afternoon relaxation. Choose a comfy seat, with a leisure read at hand and sips of intense tea or a glass of wine. Nothing could be more relaxing than that.


The resting area is mainly furnished with warm colors. With the penetration of natural light, the space and colors reach a harmonious and comfortable balance. The visual experience, which highlights the originality of nature, put space and people closer than ever.

Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, the renowned architect once said, “Less is more.” He advocates the simplicity of design and less is the abundance. The designer of the Imperial Palace researched intensively and abided by the rule of promoting less in material and more in spirit. There is no unnecessary decoration. Simplistic gadgets were applied with gentle natural elements. The whole design is as if a condensed poem, which expresses the pursuit of simplistic and free style.

As the old sayings go, “The sea can hold the water from thousands of rivers and it's big because of its capacity,” and “Hop like a fish in the sea and fly like a bird across the sky.” The pursuit of ‘emptiness’ is a quality and merit. With the emptiness in sight, the mind is emancipated from it. And the mind, with freedom, makes space be infinitely extensive.

A great space is deemed to be a living space. Multiple designing elements must share a common goal in defining the overall motif of work, as well as the fruit of the designer’s full devotion. Located in the ancient emperor city of Beijing, the Imperial Palace is not only a firm voice speaking against the present environment of the city, but also a cultural symbol of the wisdom accumulated through time. Every single piece of stone, wood, painting, or vase here, tells the oriental mood through the light and shade.

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