Natural light is a key component in professional photoshoots, so when Taiwanese practice Han-Yue Interior Design was commissioned to transform an existing building built in the early 1980s in Hsinchu city in north-western Taiwan into a photography studio, they introduced a series of transparent and translucent layers that allow ample daylight to percolate throughout the interiors. At the same time, they have managed to harmoniously combine the building’s period features with a contemporary aesthetic of subdued elegance, making Bon Appetit Photography Studio a welcoming workspace of whimsical beauty.
In order to increase the amount of natural light entering the interior, a large portion of the ground floor façade was reconstructed in glass blocks thereby imbuing the building with a sense of weightlessness. The use of glass bricks has also been extensively used inside to create translucent partitions that allow daylight to reach deep inside the building without sacrificing privacy. To that end, the designers also preserved the building’s wood-framed foldup windows, which are now dispersed in the studio’s interiors allowing visual contact between rooms and facilitating ventilation, while a permeable brickwork screen dividing the reception-lounge area from the working areas also enables the propagation of daylight. The decorative screen also echoes the geometric composition of the glass block walls as well as the bold geometric patterns of the black and white marble flooring which has been kept intact.
Besides the marble flooring and foldup windows, the designers also preserved and restored the wooden front door and the fence-like wall that shields the first-floor terrace from prying eyes. While such retro elements, which hark back to the architecture of the Japanese colonial era, are whimsically complemented by colour-washed walls, terrazzo surfaces and vintage furniture, the interiors feel neither dated nor quaint thanks to an underlying sensibility of contemporary minimalism reflected in clean lines and uncluttered spaces. What’s more, bold gestures such as painting part of the ceiling a forest-green and introducing curved surfaces further imbue the spaces with a modern aesthetic. Perhaps what best encapsulates the playful fusion of past and present and old and new however, is the sleek bench that the designers seamlessly incorporated into the front of the building which connects the new photography studio with the surrounding neighbourhood.