Penda creates igloo-inspired interiors for a Chinese ski retreat

Penda creates snowdrift-inspired interiors for a Chinese ski retreat

A warren of interconnecting spaces moulded to resemble melting snow form an après-ski apartment in China's Hebei province by Vienna and Beijing-based studio Penda (+ slideshow).

Snow Apartment by Penda

Located 160 kilometres north of Beijing in the ski resort Zhangjiakou, Snow Apartment was designed by Penda as a weekend retreat for the client and his friends.

Set over two floors, the first level of the apartment accommodates seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, a cloakroom and a central living room.

Snow Apartment by Penda

Thickly plastered contoured walls, intended to resemble partially melted snow, line the hallway that sweeps around a central circulation well connecting the upper and lower floor.

Snow Apartment by Penda

"The design of the apartment is inspired by a melting snowfield in spring, when nature slowly revives from winter," said a statement from the designers.

Snow Apartment by Penda

The undulating plasterwork floats five centimetres above the fir floorboards, disconnecting the walls and ceiling from the floor of the property.

Snow Apartment by Penda

To produce the curved shape of the walls, plaster was applied over a series of hand-constructed arches formed from individual wooden slats. To maximise space, bathrooms, storage areas and stairwells are exempt from the plastering technique.

Snow Apartment by Penda

The walls are plumbed with a network of heating pipes that, according to the architects, emit a gentle warmth to give the sensation that the walls are slowly thawing around their edges.

Snow Apartment by Penda

LED lighting positioned in the gap between floor and wall, and along the top of each alcove, gives a peripheral glow to the walls.

Snow Apartment by Penda

The whitewashed walls are also inset with a series of fir-lined alcoves providing storage space, ski racks, seating areas and nooks for flat-screen televisions.

Snow Apartment by Penda

Textiles in a palette of oranges, purples and warm greys soften the wooden seating areas and drape around the windows to offer "a contrast of cold and warm, white and coloured." Glass shelves and plinths displaying artworks dot the corridors.

Snow Apartment by Penda

The client has hung paintings on the walls of the stairwell, taking advantage of its flat surfaces. Sculptural works sit directly on the floor and a cluster of unshaded lightbulbs are suspended from the centre of the staircase.

Snow Apartment by Penda

A centrally located lift and spiral staircase at the rear of the property provide access to the upper floor, named the Ice Apartment.

This space offers an angular and cool-toned contrast to the curves of the ground floor of the Snow Apartment.

Snow Apartment by Penda

Downstairs, formal bar and dining areas cater to guests and provide access to a roof terrace that overlooks the surrounding mountainous terrain.

Snow Apartment by Penda
Floor plan and wall details – click for larger image