Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Challenged with balancing his personal and work life in his Oakland loft, Liu Ming, a renowned feng shui consultant, contacted his former student and architect, Toshi Kasai, to realize his vision. Toshi, cofounder of the interior design and architecture firm, SPACEFLAVOR, worked with Ming to distill his essential activities: study, sleep, and meditation, into a compact, 8-foot cube, freeing up ample square footage for his growing feng shui classes.
“He was facing a dilemma familiar to many urban warehouse dwellers,” says Toshi. Ming’s 1,100 squarefoot industrial loft apartment felt vast and deserted when he was alone, yet he needed more open and flexible space for his popular feng shui classes. Ming was often forced to juggle his desk, dressers and other hefty personal furniture to accommodate his popular classes.
“We souped up the cube with racecar-blue industrial casters,” Toshi chuckles. “Ming can freely move the cube and arrange his loft however he wants while preserving his crucial personal spaces.” Taking advantage of its mobility, Ming continually re-orients the cube towards auspicious directions, which he analyzes weekly based on the Chinese lunar calendar. “It is nice to see the cube rotated in a new spot every time I visit,” Toshi says with a satisfying smile.
Equipped with adjustable, translucent roller shades, the cube allows daylight to filter through the study and bed niches while responding to varying needs for views, privacy and enclosure. “The sleep and study sections provide a sense of cozy missing in the loft’s vastness when I am here alone,” Ming describes his new home-within-a-home.
The cube’s design was based on the fundamental principles of feng shui, the ancient Chinese science of balancing the energy in the surroundings. “Yin and Yang represent two opposing forces continuously evolving and rebalancing in the universe. The cube responds to the Ying (private and enclosed) and Yang (public and expanding) in the live/work space with its efficiency, mobility and flexibility,” Toshi explains.
Openings to the bed and the study are placed at opposite corners to create a sense of gentle movement, emulating the flow of passive Yin and active Yang elements. Secluded from the activities below, the meditation/tea ceremony loft is accessed by the concealed stair.
To minimize on-site fabrication and for future relocation, all components, including steel frames and stairs, were prefabricated to fit through a standard 3-foot-wide door. Assembly was completed within 48 hours. Simplified connections and building parts allow Ming to disassemble and reassemble the cube with regular DIY tools. “We made sure that the cube can migrate anywhere it wants with ease,” affirms Toshi.
Interactive and filled with small surprises to reflect Ming’s personality, the stair and cabinet doors, including a stair-drawer for shoes, are concealed only hinting at the openings for a sense of discovery.
“Green was a factor as was a sense of Zen-modernism,” emphasizes Ming. Humble, yet expressive in its nature, Ash plywood panels were hand selected for their unique grain patterns, resembling Chinese ink landscape paintings. Sustainably harvested, soy-glued plywood panels were used with all natural, made-of-insect Shellac finish to negate harmful off-gassing.
With the cube up and running in time for Chinese New Year, Ming prepares for another spin towards the year of Rabbit.
SPACEFLAVOR provides full architectural, interior design, and feng shui services for home remodels and commercial interiors in the San Francisco Bay Area.
SPACEFLAVOR’s unique design approach integrates feng shui principles with modern design to address clients’ health, career, relationship and other goals as well as functional, aesthetic and budgetary requirements.
As LEED and Bau Biologie accredited professionals, the firm’s holistic practice includes sustainable and healthy living principles. SPACEFLAVOR actively cultivates an extensive knowledge-base of eco-materials, products and building methods to create healthy, sensuous spaces.
For more information, please visit http://www.spaceflavor.com.