Right On Key
Annie Block -- Interior Design, 11/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe isn't the only one who thinks architecture is frozen music. Shichieh Lu, principal of CJStudio, sees a strong connection between the two—their relationship to history, their focus on rhythm—and he plays Johann Sebastian Bach's sonatas and Ludwig van Beethoven's symphonies all day long in the studio. What's more, Lu's projects are fittingly lyrical.
The son of physician parents, he spent his childhood drawing buildings and constructing model airplanes. After earning his bachelor's in architecture at Tung-Hai University, he left Taiwan for London to receive his diploma from the Architectural Association and work for a year at the firm Chora.
He returned to Taipei and founded his studio in 1995. His first major commission, the United Hotel, took four years, during which he also taught at three local universities and renovated several apartments. One of them caught the eye of the fashion duo behind the Stephane Dou Changlee Yugin label, and they hired Lu to design their showroom. Then they brought him back for a boutique featuring a stainless-steel display fixture inspired by the swooping forms of a Marcel Duchamp painting, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2). "I always see an intersection between art, fashion, and architecture," Lusays. He's since completed three additional projects for Dou and Yugin; two more are in the works.
Another repeat client has been Australian skin-care company Aesop—and no two of his seven shops are alike. Because one is inside a bookshop, products there are arranged, like books, on black-painted steel shelves. Another is in a shopping center with a young clientele, so walls are a casual burnt orange and display fixtures are eco-conscious recycled pine.
His residential projects are equally individualistic, with many including custom furniture. Meanwhile, a sideline in production pieces—from sofas to ceramics—is flourishing under the name Shichieh Lu. "I still love to draw, build models, and work with my hands," he says. As for his lifelong love of music, he's just started taking piano lessons.