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March 14, 2010

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Moving home allows for new style matches

EAGLE-EYE Sunday readers may find this home familiar, with Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue's croissant sofa, Tom Dixon's copper shade lighting, a fushion of colors, the mixture of time and epoch.

But it is the furnishings rather than the premises that are the same because they have been moved to Philippe Jeangeorges' newly rented apartment close to the Bund.

"The previous apartment was very nice indeed, but I wanted more light and needed to have a view of the river and the Pudong skyline," Jeangeorges said. "My real estate agent understood my needs and I didn't have to visit a lot.

"This flat is 40 square meters smaller than the previous one, but the view got me," he said. The floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room take in the Huangpu River and the city's ever-growing skyline.

The welcoming room looks particularly fine in the evening, lit by accent lamps, and a group of candle holders. Jeangeorges loves to relax on the sofa, have a drink, and spy the city as it glitters in the evening.

"Because the glass walls give me a complete view outside, I wanted to change the atmosphere of the apartment by mixing more modern furniture with older items and accentuate the color green °?- the feng shui color of renewal, fresh energy and new beginnings,'' he said.

"The entire feeling of the flat is exactly what I hoped it would be.''

Although it can be the biggest challenge for some people, moving into a smaller home presents Jeangeorges with a refreshing opportunity to start anew and experiment with new styles. He kept his favorite furniture and decorative pieces and let go a few as he revamped and resized.

The intelligent use of lighting along with arranging furniture in a non-cluttered but stylish manner helped immensely in accentuating the space's beauty.

His clear mind, mix-and-match design and willingness to invest in new items helped shape the new apartment even better than the old one.

"It is about constantly looking for things and picking them up as you see them. It's not about deciding you want to decorate and going to one or two shops," he said.

Jeangeorges' inspiration and vision was for a very modern space - rather harsh, clean surfaces softened by texture and art. The white floor and neutral background sets the stage for the impressive collections, from Shanghai Art Deco furniture to posters from 1960s China, from European items, Southeast Asian artifacts to delicate fabrics and more cutting-edge 21st century pieces.

Some people believe no styles should be mixed and, instead, each room should have its own look. However, Jeangeorges follows no rule to combine and mix the styles.

His approach is open and he keeps changing with each house. He knows how to balance so that various pieces are evenly represented and well displayed.

In the spacious living room, Kenneth Cobonpue's tropical style croissant sofa and two very green armchairs make up a compelling seating area. The dining area has a charming glass top table and chairs to ensure every dining experience is stylish.

There is harmony in the colors and styles of different objects in the living room. But everything is always evolving, nothing is ever finished. Jeangeorges loves to add and rotate items to offer a sense of surprise.

"I'm comfortable in any room and each one has its own function. But I must say I feel particularly well in my very cozy study where I spend most of my time," he said.

The study exudes old world charm, with a Tom Dixon lamp offering sharp contrast in tune with the room's earthy color theme. Jeangeorges said this room was the most difficult to decorate but he had to give it a special look to make it relaxing and dynamic.

He first painted the walls charcoal gray to get a restful cocoon effect and then hung a mix of photographs as an artsy, personal way to fill the wall space. Two are triptych macro photos Jeangeorges took in Shanghai that capture the history of the city.

"Even though this apartment is smaller than the previous one I get the feeling of having more living space," he said. "On the other hand, the opening to outside is via two large balconies on either side which provide a panoramic view of almost 360 degrees over the city.''


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