Outstanding design and its makers: the A’tolan House

Once a year, the jury of the Red Dot Award: Product Design awards objects of high design quality. In 2016, only 1.5 percent of all entries received the highest distinction “Red Dot: Best of the Best”. The Create + Think Design Studio was awarded this distinction for the interior design of the A’tolan House.

Located in a picturesque area on the eastern seaboard of Taiwan, the A’tolan House derives its name from the word “A’tolan” meaning “a place with many rocks” in the indigenous language of that area. Thus, both the landscape structures and natural materials to be found there were consistently integrated, among others, by utilising the traditional native architectural techniques developed in this region. Rocks excavated from the very site served as the foundation for building the east-west walls spanning three levels, much like rice patty terraces. The interior also merges the principle of naturalness with a purism that satisfies the needs of people staying there for basic shelter, a feeling of comfort and functionality.

The Red Dot jury stated: “The A’tolan House fascinates with a clarity that encompasses all aspects equally. From the footprint to the materials chosen for the building, its architecture convincingly integrates the surrounding landscape and its structure. The interior design is functionally well thought-out and perfectly structured. It allows light and air to flow through freely from all directions and creates an atmosphere of relaxation and well-being.“ The outstanding design achievement was made by Arthur Ho from Create + Think Design Studio. Red Dot talked to the award-winning maker from Taiwan.

Red Dot: What was your goal when you designed your award-winning product?
Arthur Ho:
The goal was to start with the utmost humility to mother nature, such that the architecture submits itself to the innate characteristics of the site, then blends symbiotically into the environment. The minimal living quarter determined by the minimum requirement of space creates infinite possibilities.

Why did you become a designer?
I have always felt the calling in my soul.

How do you define design quality?
An elegant implementation of design that demonstrates a full comprehension of function.