A cluster of black birdcages can be seen hovering above the reception desk. The desk also floats on a narrow pedestal, creating a sense that all the objects in the bright yet tranquil space are levitating. On a typically foggy San Francisco day, it’s easy to feel drawn into this reflection chamber for sunlight.
Interior Design A Cluster Of Black Bird Cages
When planning the 2,800-square-foot day spa, Jiun Ho’s namesake firm transformed the cages into pendant fixtures by placing bulbs where the birds might have been. The installation is intentionally eye-catching, but there remains “a bit of mystery,” Ho says. “You have to come all the way in to really see it.” True to his word, a tour of the spa’s two levels reveals many atmospheric layers beyond the breezy welcome.
A Malaysian of Chinese descent, Ho was urged by the spa’s Vietnamese husband-wife owners, Johnny Nguyen and Mimi Doan, to use Chinese elements as guideposts. Metal, wood, earth, water, and fire all make appearances as the space unfolds. Nguyen and Doan were also interested in following the principles of feng shui and in keeping things simple-an approach that fell agreeably in line with a limited budget and a low environmental impact.
Many elements are either reclaimed or antique, including the birdcages, which Ho found while traveling in Thailand. The ethereal cages, in pristine condition, find a raw, weighty counterbalance in the weathered oak planks that he used both for the reception desk below and for a rectangular aperture in the dropped ceiling above. As the cages hang from the crisscrossed planks, the ad hoc composition “resembles a nest, echoing the birdcages,” Ho says. “It’s also a great way to gain height while concealing the pipes and ducts that the building code required us to leave in place.”