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GUBI goes al fresco with

Cao Feng

Entrepreneur, collector, and creative tour de force behind Shanghai’s 20C GALLERY, Cao Feng maintains a delicate balance of tradition and modernity in his extraordinary countryside holiday home outside of Beijing.



My holiday home is located in the Huairou district of Beijing suburb. I moved here with my family because we wanted to enjoy nature, and it’s a perfect place for our weekends, surrounded by a very traditional Chinese rural landscape. It’s set on relatively high ground, so you can't see the details of the building from the outside, and it harmonizes beautifully with the surroundings.

Even though the yard had been abandoned for many years, I was attracted by the structure of the ancient building and inspired to renovate. We wanted to create a sense of contrasts, and after two years of complicated remodeling, the building is finally complete with a hybrid architectural style that combines the beam structure of traditional Chinese houses with a modern exterior look, generating new aesthetic interest while satisfying function. In the sculpture-filled yard, we chose outdoor furniture to make the alfresco experience more comfortable and enriching. Sitting around in the yard, we can see the stars and hear the sounds of wildlife at night. 



For me, home is the place where you can relax with your family; somewhere that provides space to present and enable its owner’s hobbies and spiritual pursuits. The furniture and art should reveal the owner of the house in terms of their personality and spiritual identity, beyond being merely the accumulation of their possessions.

I usually take a trip to Huairou at least once a week to hang out with my family, friends, and dogs and spend some time outside. It's a very important part of life for me.



My passion for art and design has led me to develop a great interest in spatial design. I continually collect classic and iconic masterpieces from the 20th century, and try to integrate these products to create a new style of space. I choose designs that are interesting and culturally relevant, and I spend a lot of time studying design and art. I feel that art is a guide to where we should go, and design is the best way to go about solving the problem of how to get there. Art is spiritual; design is universal. 

Having only Chinese-style beams, pillars, and antique Chinese furniture would be too old style for me, so I mix in modern elements. It’s important to me that I introduce furniture into the space that creates a harmonious contrast. I think it's a new kind of contrast, something that has not really been done before. This is a very interesting relationship, in which the aesthetics of the Chinese countryside and classic European design collide to create a new visual experience.

In the living room, we added large French windows into the design to break down the boundaries between indoors and out, especially for the summertime when I open the windows and doors to let the breeze come in.

I don't like too much light – I prefer the ambiance that comes from indirect light sources and mood lighting, and I use a lot of different table lamps and floor lamps in my space. 



I love GUBI because the brand has a lot of iconic design pieces and its style is very much in line with our current lifestyle habits. And, of course, GUBI’s collection incorporates a wide roster of design masters: Gabriella Crespi, Paavo Tynell, Pierre Paulin, Mathieu Matégot, and more. One of my favorite pieces is the 9602 Floor Lamp by Paavo Tynell, because of how Tynell combines natural materials and craftsmanship to create an introverted sense of unique sophistication. 

I look for materials that harmonize with common oriental styles, or design pieces with oriental shapes. Gabriella Crespi's designs with extraordinary bohemian vibes are, therefore, perfect for my space. She lived in Asia, and her insights into life here are reflected in her designs. Her influence is reflected in the work of many fashion designers today.  

In the Copacabana Lounge Chair's elegantly simple lines, Matégot has addressed the balance between aesthetics and utility from a material standpoint.