Inspiration: The Temple House | Chengdu

Earlier this month we spent a few days at The Temple House in Chengdu, China. I was really inspired by the tasteful and well-balanced space.



I wasn’t expecting to have one of my best hotel experiences in Chengdu. Chengdu is a massive city and apparently considered the San Francisco of China in the sense of being its tech hub. It’s hectic and crazy and famous for its spicy Sichuan food (and pandas!). So the peaceful and elegantly understated Temple House came as a surprise. In fact Chengdu kind of reminds me of LA in that way—not an obviously beautiful city when you arrive, but its charm reveals itself slowly to you as you spend time in the right nooks.

From The Temple House website:

“In Chengdu, a beautifully restored traditional courtyard building leads you along step stones to The Temple House, a very contemporary hotel inspired by a Chinese aesthetic. Make Architects designed an alluring 100-studio hotel with 42 residences, three restaurants and a bar, engaging event spaces, landscaped hills and courtyards plus an urban day spa with a teahouse and subterranean event spaces.”


I can go on and on about my qualms with the typical ostentatious “luxury” mindset and aesthetic, especially in China where I feel they could do so much more with the culture’s historic aesthetic and grace (and I imagine they will get to that point) in the country’s current development boom… But I’ll just say I thought the design of The Temple House was perfectly balanced in terms of old vs new, luxury vs understated, east vs. west. I don’t get too academic when it comes to architecture. I’m more interested in the moments created by the space—the feeling you get from particular compositions of lines and colors, and how they can change depending on your perspective and interaction. I suppose its emotional aesthetic.

Here are some of the moments I liked most at The Temple House.

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Old meets new. The older structures are restored from the Qing dynasty.
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Stairwell flows
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Bikes for your fam/squad, should you dare to venture out on your own into vehicular mayhem
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Corners meet and disappear into the glass
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A seamless transition from the upscale Tai Koo Li retail portion into the hotel grounds
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Hanging plants and grassy mounds
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Lines + color moments everywhere. Though the structures are bold and the colors dark, the overall feeling was of a pleasant calmness. I really admire that achievement.
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Walkways between the residence and hotel blocks
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View down from our hallway, almost a bento box feel
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The space feels perfectly sized and there are intimate hideaways at every level.
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Still in my airplane getup, but was getting a kick out of the fact that my entire colorless suitcase was matching this place ^^ This was just in the hallway outside our suite (which was also great but my inspiration focus was on the building).
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Couple of details. They had great accent picks.
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Small sculpture piece in their lobby area. I really like this, another example of old meets new done well.
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Spa/tea area in a separated building, previously an old temple ground’s garden courtyard.
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Complete with a little well. Actually they give you a little old coin to throw in before the spa. I personally thought it was cute.
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Saying goodbye… a shot from the subtle entrance, capturing both old and new. I really liked that the entry way was just through a peaceful little restored courtyard.
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I’ll end on this random picture I snapped of J while we were waiting at the tea house. Because I like it.

(By the way, I can’t take credit for finding this place. It was all J’s dad haha. I was invited to join J’s family on their trip to HK/China earlier this month. I didn’t know what to expect, so I expected nothing except to hopefully see some red pandas (yes! the lesser panda. THEY’RE GREAT.) and not drive each other crazy 🙂 It turned out to be totally amazing. We enjoyed every minute of it. I owe J’s family forever ^^*)

Thoughts re: Work

I’m always struggling to find my own balance in my work. Light vs. heavy, bright vs. dark, playful vs. serious. I guess it’s a reflection of my personality, that I can be at once happy but somber, cheerful but contemplative. It’s a big challenge to do justice to everything I care about. It was great to see a balance between things I admire done so well here.

Next post: moving to the other side of the spectrum, inspiration found in the natural wonder than is Jiuzhaigou national park.



2 thoughts on “Inspiration: The Temple House | Chengdu

  1. Thanks for posting, beautiful photography. I will be going to China with my boyfriend and his family next spring! I look forward to the possibility of seeing red pandas 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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