True Harmony – Cangshan Villa Photographed by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

You can obviously approach architecture in many different ways. I often think those people who are attracted to the engineering side of things are fascinated by the structure and how the construction comes together. Not knocking this way of thinking, but I feel contemporary architecture has put so much emphasis on the outer shell that they’ve forgot about the soul and how this is harboured.

Photographer Jonathan Leijonhufvud has been on my radar since 2016 with his visit to Japanese gallery Toki No Kumo (one of the inspirations for our own shop). Since then I’ve been enjoying all of his series, the new one for 2020 titled ‘Tea Spaces’ is also exceptional, but today I decided to highlight this build photographed in 2019 in a city named Dali nestled between the Cangshan mountain range and Erhai lake in Yunnan province in China.

I have to commend Leijonhufvud here. His use of a large format film camera captures the wonderful rustic vibe of this specific property. Designed by SYY Design, although the exterior is modern and contemporary, the interior has a perfect mix of handmade objects and classic design that brings everything together.

Owners Xie Ke and Zhi Hongxin spent three years observing and digesting each space before moving to transform this 4-storey building. This careful study has really paid off as it truly does feel like a home meant to be lived in, rather than just looked at. Really the antithesis of what’s happening in modern architecture today.