Paris-based agency Jouin Manku took on its first large-scale integrated architectural and interior design commission in 2003, when YTL Design Group from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, invited it to design the residence of a Malaysian power family. Completed in the latter part of 2008, the residence is the ultimate expression of the taste, influence and industrial-scale capabilities of the prominent family whose entrepreneurial activities have shaped Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. Three generations of the family inhabit the 32,292 square foot (3,000 square meters) residence designed to accommodate both private and public functions. The building includes nine bedrooms, two family rooms, a family kitchen and a private dining area, a family library, a game room, a study, a public reception area, a formal dining room, a ballroom, chapel, 21 bathrooms, a swimming pool, two guest suites plus indoor private and guest parking.
With the lush vegetation of a posh Kuala Lumpur residential area, and in spite of the boxiness of the structure, an elegant circular softness manages to permeate the sightlines and key details of the building, making it an agreeable part of its landscape. Inside, prominent examples of this curvilinear elegance include the amazing staircases resembling the inside of a shell when viewed from above, and the round ballroom chandelier of 13,000 custom-designed undulating petals of unglazed cast porcelain biscuit. The curved walls both inside and out have a functional purpose of providing privacy and enclosing each function gently in its own space.
The overall sweeping feel inside the spaces invites the viewer in and creates soft, arching vistas. The concept consists of three layers: the base for public functions, the ring for guests and the private house for the family. The inside of the magnificent residence is gorgeous with its high ceilings, large windows and abundance of light. White color and natural wood are dominant elements but they allow the view from the vast, mostly retractable, windows to remain the main visual attraction. The residence is also a wonderful study of contrasts between inside and outside, private and public, traditional and ultra modern, man-made and natural.
Photos: Roland Halbe