Borrow Light From A Wall | Shuǐ Xíng Design | IRA Awards 2023

Shuǐ Xíng Design: Winner of International Residential Architecture Awards 2023. The project is an old residence located in the northern part of Haidian, overlooking the rolling mountains to the north. Limited space, lack of storage, and inadequate foyer are all practical problems that must be addressed. During the initial communication, family members expressed nostalgia for living in a large apartment before coming to Beijing, so the higher-level goal of the renovation is to achieve the ideal of making a small home feel spacious.

Inspiration from the Lingering Garden

The first strategy for making a small house feel larger was inspired by the isomorphism relationship of the Lingering Garden to create the planar layout between the entrance corridor and the living room. By contrasting spaces to create a sense of expansiveness, the entrance corridor was outfitted with storage cabinets and an arched ceiling to further compress the width and height of the already narrow space. The brightness of the corridor was also moderately reduced to create a cave-like experience, which contrasted with the bright and spacious living room at the end. This comparision between low and high, small and large, and dark and light made the living room space, as the core of the home, feel more spacious.

“Borrowing light by chiseling a hole in the wall”     

“Borrowing light” is not the purpose of “chiseling walls”. Scenery is often brought by light. Only with light can there be scenery, and only with limited space can there be infinite imagination. The ribbed glass door, arches, high windows, and exterior windows together form a rich hole system, like exquisite Taihu stones. The “scenery inside the cave” shrouded in shadows makes the living room and washing space profound, ambiguous, and interesting.

Making room for more space

The arrangement principle of furniture is very clear: in the horizontal dimension, bookcases, wardrobes, card seats, and all furniture are arranged around the room and attached to the walls; in the vertical dimension, the cabinets are maximized to cover the wall surface, which not only provides sufficient storage capacity, but also maximizes the available floor space, providing more possibilities for future life.

Control lines

 To create a cohesive overall feeling and improve the fragmented appearance caused by multiple doors and windows, control lines were introduced and extended into other areas of the home to unify the space, promoting a sense of harmony throughout the home..

Project Details
Shuǐ Xíng Design

Hang Wang

Project Name
Borrow Light From A Wall

Interior Design – Residential

Project Location

Hang Wang, Jiangchun Xia


Photography ©Credit
©Zenglei Chi

Shuǐ Xíng , taking its name from the formless nature of water, embodies this element’s adaptive philosophy in its approach to design. Just as water molds itself into the shape of its container, whether a jug, cup, or bottle, Shuǐ Xíng Design shapes its designs according to the needs and potentials of a project, crafting interesting and emotionally resonant works.

Shuǐ Xíng Design, was originally founded in Las Vegas, United States, and later established an office in Beijing. Since embarking on practical work in 2018, years of refinement from design to implementation have transformed Shuǐ Xíng Design into an experienced, international team. Over time, we’ve accumulated a large number of cooperating partners who share our artisan spirit and commitment to detail. Our design services span various fields including architecture, old building renovations, interior design, and product design. Today, our work has been featured in domestic and international professional media such as Gooood and ArchDaily, and we have received several important domestic and international awards. These include the Excellent Engineering Design award from the China Survey and Design Association, the American Master of Architecture Award (AMP), and the Golden Eagle Design Award.