The story began when a cryptic facsimile arrived in our Paris office in 2003. A Malaysian architect had clients requesting that we design their home. An unusual commission of a 3-generation private residence covering 3,000 m² in Kuala Lumpur… would we be interested? For our first large-scale integrated architectural and interior design project, we hesitated ever so briefly.
Commissions for private homes create an opportunity to study how a family truly inhabits a space – the idiosyncrasies of their lifestyle, the lines that run between their public and private personas. This commission also allowed us to explore the larger contrast between the way private power has traditionally been expressed in Kuala Lumpur – the ubiquitous borrowed language of historic European architecture – and the search for a new architectural vocabulary specific to this emerging culture. Drawing upon the poignancy of the natural landscape, and a taste for the ultramodern, evidenced by the city skyline this entrepreneurial family helped to build, we looked to create a brand new architecture for this home: new shapes, new ways to connect spaces, new awareness of light and sound, new references to the exquisite natural surroundings, and new combinations of cutting-edge technology and traditional local practices to bring our dreams to life.