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December 13, 2020

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The art of a cozy, light-colored living cocoon

MOST people dislike the fuss of moving house. Packing your life into boxes prior to a move can be overwhelming and stressful for some. Yet there are a few who enjoy the thrill and excitement of changing their environment, such as Cissy Chen, who recently settled into another flat inside the same compound.

“I focus on the upside of moving. It forces me to clean out the house and get rid of unwanted and unneeded belongings,” the Shanghai native said.

“As an interior stylist, I enjoy moving into different spaces so I have the chance to redecorate my home and give it a refreshing new look from the previous one.”

Chen was looking for a new apartment but didn’t want to move too far. She enjoyed her current compound because of its central location and its peaceful environment full of greenery.

“Our favorite bakery is nearby which is also a plus. One of the best moments we enjoy on a weekend is when have a freshly baked baguette from MBD bakery, breathe in fresh air with birds singing,” she said.

Chen, with her French husband Olivier Lionnet, son Enzo and daughter Eva, love the posh neighborhood lifestyle and nesting in their new sophisticated, cozy, 150-square-meter refuge.

“The apartment’s condition is perfect,” she said. “It features all the basics I need. Our windows look out to plants and trees and the interior, filled with natural sunlight, features all the basic comforts such as central air conditioning and heating radiators.” With the white walls, a light-colored wooden floor and enough storage, Chen noticed the potential of making the interior warm and cozy right away. The clean backdrop is ideal to create a neutral atmosphere and make her contemporary art collections stand out.

“The living room is much smaller than the previous one so I immediately imagined a cozy light-colored living cocoon. A minimalist style is just not an option at all,” she said.

Chen loves to mix things up — East meets West, classic yet modern. Different kinds of wood and linen materials are abundantly used to emphasize warmth and comfort.

Chen knows how to create a sense of coherence by integrating a mixture of patterns, textures and styles. She stamps the interior with her personality and passion for art, as different functional rooms show.

The clean lines of modern furniture and white walls create a neutral background for a collection of amazing works of art. Chen has always been sensitive to art and started collecting Chinese contemporary artwork in 2007.

Her interest in the contemporary style, however, isn’t purely aesthetic: She wants to provoke conversations about the artworks with anyone who visits. That’s why picking the right works of art for the interior was a priority.

“If the artworks set the tone of the ambience I can easily decide the accent colors and accessories according to the hues of the paintings,” Chen said.

Ding Yi’s major piece “10 crosses” is the highlight of the living space. This particular work, with a signature use of cross symbols in black and white colors, draws Chen into a universe that is peaceful and dreamy.

Ni Youyu’s painting is another fascinating work that makes you pause and savor the moment. Ni’s works often explore themes relating to nature, time and traditional art.

“After displaying these two artworks as the key accents of the living space, another two white-colored paintings from artists Zhang Hui and Huang Kui were picked because they are aesthetically compatible to the rest,” Chen said.

Chen meticulously curated the setting up of every single piece of artwork as if she was setting up a small exhibit.

The collection on display also features artists Zhang Ruyi, Hu Zi, Yuan Yuan and Geng Yini.

The portrait of Francesco Clement by Hu Zi, hung right above the living room sofa, was a birthday gift Cheng bought for her husband.

“Many people thought it’s a portrait of Olivier as they look alike. When he was still blocked outside of China due to the coronavirus situation, seeing this portrait made it feel as if he was present with us,” she said.

The overall color scheme is neutral throughout the apartment but with accent colors such as terra cotta, yellow and green in accordance with the colors from the artworks.




Q: What’s the best thing about living in Shanghai?

A: Shanghai is a real open-minded city, full of newness and opportunities. It is cosmopolitan, comfortable and safe.

Q: Describe your home in three words.

A: Art, cozy, warm.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home?

A: Wash my hands and have a cup of hot tea.

Q: How do you unwind?

A: Light my aromatic candles, turn on music, and have a cup of tea while reading an magazine or a book.

Q: Where do you spend most of the time at home?

A: I love the large and wooden table for dinning and working.

Q: What’s the view outside your window?

A: Garden and greens.

Q: What’s your favorite object at home?

A: My favorite object is always my art collections.

Q: Where do you source furniture?

A: As I do interior styling, I have an online store called ADESIR, selling furniture and decoration products that are stylish and affordable. Most of our furniture comes from ADESIR.


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