Most people think of wall tiles as an accent material for the bathroom and kitchen to provide a bit of water resistance and perhaps a touch of pattern. Rarely do you see them splashed across an entire room, especially not in a bold mix of colors and motifs. The fact that tile is usually so time-consuming to install probably has something to do with it, but this apartment in Chongqing, China by 000 Design proves that using tile as a primary design statement can be well worth the effort.
The owners of this 1,065-square-foot two-bedroom apartment facing a forested hillside clearly aren’t risk-averse. They trusted the youthful architects and interior designers of 000 Design to craft a home bursting with personality, incorporating unexpected materials, clashing patterns, vivid colors, and most of all, fun. From the moment you walk in the door, you know you aren’t in an ordinary apartment.
The designers decided to throw out conventional ideas about how the feel of a home should be different from that of a business. Why not incorporate elements you’d normally see in high-end retail or commercial design instead of intimate residential spaces, if it results in a space that still feels relaxing and inspiring?
“With the development of internet and society, people spend more time living and working at their own dwelling,” says 000 Design. “We are willing to change the stereotype of a residence space which originally should be only cozy, warm, and relaxing. We hope this apartment also shows an impression of passion, fashion, and visual impact, [giving] a different attitude of the lifestyle with more freedom and maybe a little more [angst].”
An abstract mosaic of red, pink, yellow, blue, and white hexagonal tiles unifies the entire home, surrounding the main entrance and continuing inside the primary bedroom on several walls and ceilings. The small size and random patterns of this mosaic are contrasted by larger, more minimalist square white tile on the floor and on the walls of the bathroom. Out in the main living space, another tile motif in black, white, and gray brings a sense of geometric order to a balcony overlooking the landscape. Large glass walls and crystal-clear furniture keep the visual emphasis on the pattern and the view.
Careful editing is a big part of what makes the “Live & Fun” apartment a success. What the designers left out is just as important as what they brought in, leaving blank spaces for the eye to rest before moving on to the next chaos of color. In the hallways and living areas, smooth white surfaces are augmented by pale wood built-ins offering storage space, tables, and benches. The kitchen and dining nook are cut into two expanses of white built-in cabinetry, each one bedecked in neon colors for a striking jewel box effect. The lack of cabinet hardware helps the space feel clean and orderly.
And let’s not forget the ceilings, because the designers sure didn’t. Most noteworthy is the mirrored ceiling that visually elongates the common living spaces, augmented by lighting contained within red, green, and yellow acrylic boxes. A metallic ceiling surface perforated with thousands of tiny triangles complements the tile and doubles as a unique light source.