A home in Huzhou conveys a sense of poetry and lightness
Maria Giulia Zunino
Huzhou is a city in China’s northern Zhejiang province 93 miles from Shanghai, to which it is also connected by a canal known as the “Eastern Rhine river” due to its intense barge traffic. The city boasts a silk-making tradition dating back 4700 years, and the locally-produced fabric is still highly prized for the quality of its colour and lustre. Historic silk samples are preserved in the Zhejiang Silk Museum, while the ubiquitous presence of mulberry plantations testifies to the continued economic importance of this activity.
The tower blocks and single-family houses located in the city’s fashionable new residential district stand out for their dynamic glass and metal façades designed to allow plenty of natural light to enter while offering expansive views.
One newly built home in this neighbourhood extends over three levels: a basement with garages and private gym, a ground floor with an elegant living space facing onto the terrace/garden, and a first floor with sleeping area. The entire project stands out for its pervading sense of lightness.
The daytime living area consist of a continuous fluid space that extends from the entrance hall and staircase through to the living room facing onto the terrace and garden, then on to the dining area, the piano room, the kitchen and then back to the entrance again. The abundance of natural light, the view of the surrounding greenery and the neutral colours chosen for the materials and furnishings all contribute to the sensation of calm and relaxation.
The home features a wealth of meticulously designed details, such as the series of brass tube lights coiled into soft shapes that appear to dance at the first breath of air. The fireplace partition wall separating the living room from the entrance is a dramatic, eye-catching feature clad with a material reminiscent of Statuario marble, a solution echoed in the dining area. These extra-large porcelain tiles from Florim’s “I classici di Rex” collection recreate the beauty of the original material with soft, sensual veins running across their entire surface.
The light brass handrail mounted on the glass parapet of the staircase forms an angular, zigzag line that seems to protect the thin bundle of wires supporting the suspended cascade of luminous glass stones positioned at different heights. A Caribbean-style miniature garden and baby dinosaur standing guard at the entrance to the house are playful touches.
The fully-equipped gym is illuminated by the backlit polyhedral ceiling which creates the sensation of natural light filtering down from above, while the mirrored wall adds to the sense of space. The expansive feel is further enhanced by the use of decorative strips: dark grey and yellow on the walls and two shades of grey on the floor. The chosen floor coverings are from the “Le Veneziane di Cerim” porcelain tile collection supplied by Florim, a critical reinterpretation of terrazzo flooring available in four colours named after districts of Venice. The disorderly nature of the granular elements creates a sense of continuity and conceals the tile joints.
I Classici di Rex
decoro open book 320x320 cm
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): average value 0,08%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): average value 52 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme