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The Transition: House of a Filmmaker, Beijing, China by Fon Studio

Project name:
The Transition: House of a Filmmaker
Architecture firm:
FON Studio
Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Fon Studio
Principal architect:
Design team:
Luo Shuanghua, Li Hongzhen, Jin Boan, Song Yuanyaun
Interior design:
Built area:
380 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Tools used:
Residential › House

The project site is a lower part space of a duplex villa residence, owned by a young couple. As a film producer, Mr. Cui hopes this house is not just a cosy living place but also an experimental field - like his own "Life studio" to accommodate his unrestrained imagination. Thus, the designer's priority is to build a "transition" stage between chance and imagination through reasonable transformation of the existing site, so that the life stories and plot emotions of the house owners are naturally and lightly connected and presented.

The original design included two storeys and a five-meter-high basement. A staircase connected these spaces, making them parallel and relatively isolating. The basement was only lightened by a row of skylights on the south side, and the air circulation was fairly limiting. After site inspection and discussion with the client, the FON team made a proposal – to connect the ground floor and basement by “opening” a part of the floor slab, which could enhance the vertical expansion and introduce more lights into the basement, to discover the possibility of "flow" and "extension" of space.

Although it seemed to reduce the usable area by “opening” the floor slab, a new space experience has been created. Stairs have been moving from the original place, the interior part of the building has been “cut” ingeniously, the path towards the first floor and the basement has been separated, the functional layout of the space and the flow of activities can be flexibly re-planned.

The wide view of the staircase brings a nearly 8-meter height visual space, the changing perspectives guiding the owners to break the activity habits of the plane space. This approach not only improves the cross-ventilation inside the house but also brings more natural light underground, creating an excellent lighting and ventilation environment, effectively avoiding common problems such as wet and dark underground. A new level of interesting space is created.

From the garage into the basement - the main daily entrance of the home, a marble stone wall that runs through the space like a "spine", from the underground all the way up, guiding people's vision to extend upward, as if it has the power of growth, such as the continuous flow of time.

Considering the basement is high enough, the designer proposed a mezzanine to create a guest room with a skylight. When the folding door is opened, the room can be connected to the multi-function space, it expands the dimension of experience and forms an open underground space. It can be used not only as a play area for children but also as an ideal place for parties and many activities.

The family room, dining room and kitchen arranged on the ground floor could provide convenience to daily needs. Out of the lobby, a semi-open glass corridor connects the interior and the courtyard blurring the boundaries of indoor and outdoor. Along the stairs, there is a relatively private, independent, comfortable and quiet rest space, where several bedrooms and closets for family members are arranged.

The overall tone of the home is dominated by warmth. Steady and elegant timber, ivory-white travertine with a natural texture and unadorned limestone, give the space natural warmth and texture. Bold colours, artwork and furniture - even Mr. Choi's collection of nearly 50 different design chairs could all find their suitable places in this home.

A house is not just about walls and ceilings. A good space design should show more concerns about the atmosphere, lighting, route and scale. The free wandering of light, shadow and colour breaks the stillness of the space and brings a unique vividness like "transition".


The architecture design office FON STUDIO was established in 2016. The three partners, Jin Bo'an, Li Hongzhen, and Luo Shuanghua, had the same passion and interest in design practice during their studies. After years of practice in each, with awe of design aesthetics, they decided to join forces in many practices such as space, product, and vision. The establishment of the firm allows us to still firmly believe in the interesting energy of open experiments and rational analysis. We are curious about new things and strive to bring each work with its due temperature and texture. We also continue to observe and study the city, the land, and the spiritual field of daily life. Design is always the art of facing and solving problems. All our skills and thoughts eventually penetrate, manifest, and solidify in practice.

By Liliana Alvarez

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