by Anmol AhujaFeb 23, 2021
Interdisciplinary architecture and design studio via. has revealed the arch filled interiors of House of Madison, a one-stop, multi-brand concept space dedicated to home furnishings and lifestyle labels such as Rimadesio and Sub Zero. via. reimagined the elegant interiors for The Madison Group’s newest Hong Kong flagship store with a vision to “explore the intersection of design, culture, and expressive living.”
Covering 483.09 sqm across two storeys, House of Madison is accessible through street level, and expresses a mix of a shop house and a residence, through a series of intuitive, shifting interior passages connected by polished, bronze arches. The realised spatial flow encourages visitors to navigate, discover and interact with the brands on their own, and other spaces.
Frank Leung, Founder and Principal of via., shares that the space before via.’s design intervention seemed uninviting and cavernous, with a pre-existing, black, stainless steel staircase. “My instinct was to carve the space into a sequence of ‘scenes’, to create more intimate moments and a sense of progression,” he shares. via. drew inspiration from the existing space and the context it sat in - House of Madison is located in a rapidly changing area where there used to be a lot of traditional shop houses. “To create a dialogue with the context, we envisaged the project as a town house, where the ground level features the public facing component that evolves and changes with time. The upper level is our interpretation of a refined living space. While a lot of showrooms tend to feel sterile and transactional, we steered away from that approach by focusing on a more residential experience that emphasises personal exploration, discovery and creation,” Leung adds.
The insides of the retail store are majorly defined by a beige and bronze colour palette that sits against pared back, exposed brick walls, complemented by tiny pops of colour and texture from cacti and other indoor plants, custom-built rugs, rounded, coloured furniture and glass elements. The main entrance on the ground floor opens into an impressive interior courtyard of The Gallery, a retail showroom with shallow arch lines and grand metal clad columns. According to via., this space is designed to be an experimental platform that displays a curation of lifestyle and design goods, as well as a place to host social events.
Resting at the front and centre from the point of entry, the sculptural stairway here is made with beige limestone and hairline bronze balustrades, giving off an atmosphere of classy, composed grandeur. A double height arch frames The Stairway and highlights the raw, red brick background. During the design process, via. labelled it as the ‘Social Staircase’ not only because it drew in people with its visual charm, but because it can be accessed from multiple points. The dramatic staircase also acts as a multifunctional feature - as a display platform, a grand landing that becomes a stage for speeches and discussions, its steps becoming seats to host casual conversations.
A double height arch is visible as one ascends the stairway that connects the ground and first floor, drawing the eye up toward it. The upper level covers over 371.5 sqm, conceived as a lush penthouse and designed as an ode to sophisticated living, its interactive and private areas segregated.
The arch comes back as a recurring motif here too, its bronze mesh establishing visual layers and injecting the space with curiosity. “The repeated arch is a subliminal reference to the Madison House, whose brands trace back to grand European heritage. Arches are also one of the most archaic, recognisable architectural forms found within a house, a church. As opposed to its perceived solidity, we transitioned them into veiled layers here, through the use of bronze metal mesh, which is anchored with ultra slim bronze frames,” informs Leung.
Up ahead lie three areas that spread across the multilayered flagship’s vast picture windows that bring in natural light and the views of the lively streetscape outside. From the staircase landing one enters The Kokoro Room, an open bar and dining area with a duskier interior design, dark and light timber notes sitting in contrast with each other. Across the bar rests the multifunctional, expansive Meraki Kitchen displaying the brand’s premium culinary range. The far end is taken up by The Lookout, an intimate sitting corner with indoor cacti, velvety red and teal blue cushioned armchairs sitting atop a sandy rug, the space offering views of the outdoor plaza.
The interactive areas transform into private spaces – here one encounters floor to ceiling glass panels, sliding screens and a change in wall materials that separate two enclosed spaces in the private quarters. These include a sumptuous Rimadesio walk-in wardrobe (the Dressing Room), and Studio M, a private dining room adjoining the kitchen that doubles as a material atelier. These rooms surround The Glass Lounge with relaxed, coloured seating resting on bespoke rugs, and sophisticated décor sculptures, literature, instruments and vinyl records. “There are subtle material transitions across these areas such as walls lined with Kvadrat fabrics juxtaposed against light concrete and wooden finishes, which combine with diffused lights to elevate a tactile experience,” informs the via. design team.
via. also shares that they took great effort to assemble a stunning collection of pieces to adorn the House of Madison, including handcrafted furniture pieces from Wittmann, custom cabinets by Rimadesio, Viabizzuno lights and commissioned area rugs that feature prominently alongside the flagship’s signature brands.
Elaborating on the strong architectural influence in the interior design, Leung says that the use of rhythmic arches, the coppery and light material and colour palette and other structural elements act as “abstractions of what used to be there in the past that would frame the present. The contrast between what seems to be unyielding and preexisting is juxtaposed with new, polished product displays, heightening the overall experience and lending a sophisticated touch.
“We had a tremendous time working with the whole team from House of Madison, their vision and perseverance really made this design possible,” says Leung.
Name: House of Madison
Location: Hope Well Centre, Hong Kong
Area: 490.5 sqm
Year of completion: 2020
Client: The Madison Group
Project lead: Frank Leung
Designers: Wian Lau, Ali Li, Sally Richardson