AML Design Studio, Beijing, China. The firm is characterized by its projects with a minimalist approach and a holistic thought behind the design output. Respect for the natural context of the site and a distinct identity to the materials used is a stand-out feature in the projects. Listed are some of their works worth a look- 

1. Homestay Home

LOCATION- Beijing, China | YEAR- 2020

The project is a home renovation for an 80 years old man and a homestay for many. The project lies in a locality having a compact urbanscape and similar-looking sloping roofs. Living spaces arranged in a C-shape plan and an open courtyard at the center is a typical feature here.

Homestay is a habitat where sunlight brightens the day, and enlightens the minds. A simple flower bed by the window makes the living environment tranquil and imbibe the positive sparkle within. The skylights within the pitched roof over sleeping areas offer an experience of sleeping under the open, starry night sky. Overlapping functions and intersecting spaces, here encourage casual meet-ups between the guests and the old man, their privacy on the other hand is not compromised either. The simplicity of the village and the folk culture is reflected through the design. The residents become part of the unbuilt environment though they stay for a short time.

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2. Xiaoye Valley

LOCATION- Yanqing, China | YEAR- 2018

A residential living space, originally built as a conventional, uniform Beijing house. As the name Xiaoye (meaning ‘stay up late’) suggests, the building has a mesmerizing and wild surrounding of hills to look at all day and night.

The limited economic resource flow for the project leads to unconventional design solutions. The wild valley around is reflected in the design elements. Thorns picked from the hills are efficiently used in making sunshade. They wrap up the building façade and the adjustable louvers invite the prevailing monsoon winds connecting the inside to outside. Exposed conduits and unplastered concrete ceiling are all a part of the minimalist interior. Solid colors and mild textures dominate the living spaces. Dining and common gathering areas are privileged with daylight and are surrounded by the greens outside. Scaffoldings are used in the courtyard providing shade to sit under and admire the natural beauty surrounding the place. 

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3. Color Hostel

LOCATION- Yanqing, China | YEAR- 2020

The Color Hostel is designed as a blank canvas with minimal use of finishing materials.  Presented roughly, the exposed concrete of the walls complements well with the forest wood color of the table-tops. The skylights, windows all are placed in an intended manner to create a ‘light and shadow’ composition within the built mass. Rooms are planned around a central atrium bringing-in daylight and keeping the passages well-lit. The ‘to be continued’ experience of the unfinished spaces here is unfamiliar, strange yet fresh. The room interiors have the least furniture with a surprising punch of a solid-colored wall. Users are an integral part of the design and this design empowers the user to complete the unfinished living spaces around him.

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4. BROW LAB

LOCATION- Beijing, China | YEAR- 2019

A brow shop, outstanding for its artisan’s trim theory. The entrance is ‘the three door-frames’ that depict three different perspectives. Distinct colors and textures are seen through the door-frames. Three spaces represent states of life and our attitudes. A bar and waiting area in bright red on the extreme left is an attention seeker at the beginning. The working station in the center and a VIP station is present on the right. The interior layout plan is simplistic with distinct functional areas all having a straight approach. The natural color of concrete is adorned and harmonized with the furniture color scheme. A visual conflict in colors, textures, and materials is attained.

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5. Mom Restaurant

LOCATION- Dali Baizu Zi Zhi Zhou, China | YEAR- 2017

Mom Restaurant provides the diners with a low-dimensional built environment, a rare attempt in today’s world. The serenity and simplicity of this place justify the name (gained from a music album). Coincidentally a humble tree sits in the center of the site. The earthy walls seem to emerge from the central courtyard having a natural shelter that shades and protects. Dining under the tree, informal squat sitting allows relaxation and brings comfort among the diners.

The place has an open stage area for live performances, flexible enough for the audience to sit or stand, and enjoy their musical dining hour. The upper floor has seating arrangements for different combinations, each having its solitude. Light materials used to lessen the load, steel framework filters the daylight, and beautifully connect the interior with the exterior. Modesty and simplicity can be experienced in spaces, materials, and food!

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6. VAN ROU

LOCATION- Beijing, China | YEAR- 2019

Van Rou is a store having an interior that characterizes the amalgamation of nature and human interventions. The spaces are a metaphor for growth, irreversible as in the earth’s crust, as in human beings. An attempt has been made to respect the original aspects of the materials in an ever-growing environment. The spatial planning is simple with assigned functional areas. Movement and vitality exist in the composition of spaces and the selection of materials. A palette of stone, plywood, and glass is harmonized effortlessly. Artificial lighting is an integrated part of the design as it subtly links the functions. Colors and textures, and the greens within the interior space, altogether are a depiction of ‘life’.

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Author

Compulsive speaker and an attentive ear to the other side of the story. She believes in the power of architecture and stars.

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