Extreme Makeover

Stepping into the cool interiors of this Taipei office, visitors might conclude any number of things. Perhaps they could order drinks from the counter while sitting on the custom-designed Cappellini stools? Do the flower-patterned floors indicate that this is the chic atelier of a young fashion designer? Or does the aseptic glow of the translucent Corian walls suggest a spa of some sort? The latter guess comes closest, but it is still way off.

It’s the office of one of Asia’s foremost plastic surgeons, Dr. Jong Ming Chang, as conceived by British designer Michael Young, who moved his family and practice to Taiwan from Reykjavík one year ago. The glass waiting-room floor, which features a large-scale floral design by Young’s wife, Katrin Petursdottir Young, is the most dramatic element in the white space. It is also one of the first floor applications of DuPont’s SentryGlas Expressions process, in which images are printed in four-color ink on PVB plastic film—the same stuff used to make shatterproof automotive windshields—and then sandwiched between two layers of glass.

“The environment is very much a fantasy,” Young says of the meticulously achieved atmosphere. “I got the chairs specially made from Cappellini. It’s all bespoke, every little bit of it. And that’s rare for Taipei.” With a population of more than two-and-a-half million, the Asian capital has had booming economic growth over the years, but little in the way of a culture of style that could rival its neighbors Hong Kong and Singapore. However, as the city is gradually coming to appreciate aesthetics as well as business, its residents have begun pursuing beauty in all its forms.

Though the plastic surgery clinic—complete with operating quarters—is a temple to the artifice of beauty, its designers sought natural references. “It’s almost like standing on water,” Petursdottir Young says of the glass floor. “When the lights are turned out, it has this special surreal feeling, as if the walls are made of snow and ice. When the lights are on, the walls exude a kind of warmth and the space feels a little bit sacred.”

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