There are armchairs that stimulate the imagination like a sculpture. Bao is one of them. In its bold, contrasting forms, a Chinese developer saw the forms of yin and yang. The armchair inspired his interior architects to build a round ceiling with radial wooden spokes. Beneath it, in the Bao armchairs, his business associates now sit, smoke cigars, and are reminded of traditional parasols as they look up at the wheel-like ceiling.
The curved Bao armchairs can be found in Beijing, in Chinese developer Li Bao-Gang’s cigar bar. They are a small part of a large project that the interior designer Arnd Christian Müller considers one of the most extraordinary of his life. He designed a large number of rooms with very different functions: reading, relaxing, conferencing, receiving, partying, eating, and drinking whiskey. And he was able to fulfill his dream of furnishing all the rooms “from a single source”, as he says – with furniture exclusively from Walter Knoll.
The highlight of the ensemble in Beijing is now a villa that developer Li uses as his own private cultural club. Here he meets friends, acquaintances and business partners for concerts and conferences, exhibitions and banquets. The pieces of furniture are partly semi-official, partly private, depending on the room, says Müller. “And yet they all clearly come from the same place and breathe the same philosophy.”
Cubic, clear Jaan armchairs and sofas stand ready for receptions. Isanka armchairs invite you to cozy up in a gallery upstairs – a retreat for Li and his wife. Banquets with twenty guests take place at the long, rectangular Mason table; informal chatting afterwards next to organically rounded Tama side tables. Leather armchairs are the place for drinking wine because, as Müller says, “Good wine means cork and leather.” Finally, distributed over the several levels: FK bucket chairs. “Their lightness fits in almost everywhere,” says Müller. They remind Li, the developer, of classic cars: they only get more beautiful and valuable with age.