A raw concrete villa on Yu-Guang island in the Taiwanese tropics, which architect Mao Shen Chiang designed and built for himself. Measuring 330 square meters, the triangle-shaped home covers three floors and includes a spectacular tea ceremonial room facing the forest. While tradition dominates this room, the rest of the home is a contemporary design den fitted with Danish design classics. The kitchen, dining area and lounge live on the ground floor, along with the master bedroom and bathroom, while a glass staircase leads up to the first floor that’s lined with wall-to-wall bookshelves. On the second floor, under the pointy ceiling of the pyramid is a guest room and a prayer room.
In 2012, architect Mao Shen Chiang purchased a piece of land in the Taiwanese tropics, measuring 879 square meters. After three years of designing and three years of construction, a raw concrete pyramid with hidden design treasures is now his main home.
The self-taught architect and owner of the go-to place for Scandinavian furniture in Taiwan, Moricasa, has put his stamp on both the cityscapes of Taiwan and its interior. Considering himself an architect-artist, he never repeats any work. Each building grows as an individualist, yet a common trait for his work is his love for concrete. As a self-confessed concrete-connaisseur, he most often opts for exposed concrete as it embodies his philosophy of making buildings last unchanged for the next century to come. True to this ideal, he built his own home in the same material on the Yu-Guang island in Tainan, surrounded by tall trees and bordering the Taiwan Strait.
An open-plan kitchen and dining space occupies the ground floor of the triangle, with direct access to the garden.
The kitchen design is by Vipp; ‘My philosophy of good architecture is shared by the design intensions of the Vipp kitchen; to be practical and to last across generations,’ Mao Shen Chiang explained. ‘My favourite aspect of the kitchen is the steel table top which is easy to clean. Also, the storage ideas make it a unique piece of furniture’, he continued.
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The staircase sits in this space too, dividing the kitchen from the lounge space on the opposite side.
The open-plan kitchen flows into a dining area, with the wood table and chairs offering a warm contrast against the concrete setting.
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A wood slatted wall behind the dining table adds further texture.
The table was designed by Mr. Mao himself, while the chairs are the classic Hans J. Wegner’s ‘Y’ Chairs.
Across from the kitchen and dining area is a tucked-away lounge and study.
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Like in the rest of the house, the raw concrete is contrasted by wood in the master bedroom and bathroom. The bespoke wooden bed is designed by Mr. Mao with an integrated wall spot from Vipp.
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The bathroom is designed with the same three materials; concrete, wood and glass.
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Up the concrete, wood and glass staircase is a space fitted out with wall-to-wall bookshelves, mirroring the ones directly below.
This in-between level offers a quiet place for reading.
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The landing leads onto a balcony, with views over the garden.
The architecture also accommodates a tea rooms on the first floor, offering plenty of space for theatrical ceremonies.
This is the architect’s favourite room. When Mr. Mao visited Japan many years ago, he attended a traditional “Noh” theatrical performance, and found that the actor showed the traditional aesthetics in a very western, modern style such as using classic Bach music as a background music. He was fascinated by the stage form.
GARDEN TEA ROOM
There’s a second, smaller tea room in the garden, in a box-shaped garden house.
Photography / Anders Hviid