Completion: May 2017
Invited by a family living in mid-levels in Hong Kong, HIR studio helped to refurbish their apartment into a subtly deluxe home, by interplaying textural materials and inventive details.
'' Chic, subtle and quintessential.''
Inspired by the artistry of automobile interiors, the new design is an exemplary combination of rich tones, textures, contemporary forms and intricate detailing, creating timeless luxury, comfort and style.
'' The tailored material palette manifests the residents' personality; and fine details reflect their scrupulous attitudes on quality of living. ''
The layout plan is significantly improved, especially at the study and kitchen.
Before renovation, the study room was located next to a narrow corridor behind the solid wall. Corridor is typically found in Hong Kong apartments. It runs in the middle of a flat and divides it into different rooms.
We replace the solid wall of the study with a pair of sliding doors, and the corridor widens to become a Common Room. The once stale corridor turns into a lively connector.
Here a delicate display shelf extends from the study, showcasing the resident's favorite souvenirs and Lego models. On most days the study dissolves into the semi-private Common Room, lets in the sunlight, and connects with the daughter's room as well as the master bedroom. This is where the family can gather to do a canvas painting, or to read a book, or to fiddle with the display artworks, all at the same time.
The entrance corridor fully conceals the shoe's cabinet as well as the maid's room. The corridor is transformed into a tranquil entrance, lined with crisp lighting and decent marble flooring.
The kitchen used to be enclosed by fixed walls, which confined a tiny dining area and cramped entrance corridor. HIR replaces the solid with full height glass doors, so the kitchen can open up or closes off at different scenarios.
The kitchen is enclosed by full height glass sliding doors at the corner, which open up on most days, and the dining area spatially connects with the entrance vestibule. The sliding doors are concealed inside a pocket wall next to the fridge. Occasionally when Chinese food is being cooked , the L-shaped corner can be closed off to contain the greasy smell. The metal door frames are profiled with integrated handles, allowing them to interlock properly with ease.
'' Storage, storage, and more storage .''
In this city where space is scarce, residents always quest for more closed cabinets for storage. What is to store behind the doors, or what to display under spotlights, reveal the residents' view towards their lives, which changes from time to time. It could be the daughter's drawing, their favorite Lego puzzles, a fictional character's portrait, a massage chair inherited from family, or valuable luxury handbags. Our job as designers is to structure a system to express their desires, elegantly and easily.
Most cabinets are built-in and tailored, integrating other uses as a coherent whole. From the air conditioners to televisions, from daybed to study table, from book shelf to a display shelf , the integrated built-ins act as a serene backdrop, concealing the unwanted scene.
'' Conceal it, if you don't express it.''
Niches are strategically inserted into the cabinets, back-lit with diffused lights and framed by meticulous details. The niches are where the gems are stored.They are the spaces exhibiting a facet of the residents' lives.
' Texture of Space is like the texture of food. ''
While residents can transform the space for different uses, the space in turn, through its rich mix of materials and textures, can evoke a subtly elegant sense of tactility.
Texture of a space is like that of food. An Al-dente finish is brought about when different materials blends in impeccably. It is when a creamy fabric surface contrasts with the reflective steel channels, and when the warm veneers meet the cool lacquered plates; It is when a tip of steel leg hits the natural timber floor, and when the leather, timber, upholstery all come together at a door handle, highlighted with a crisp milled stainless steel piece.
To create a timeless sense of subtle luxury, the design manifests an interplay of rich tones and textures, contemporary geometry with chic details, as inspired by the artistry of automobile interiors.
The door handle to the study room is composed of a simple geometrical overlay, while four materials come together layering in various depths. The intense change of texture and sheen dramatise the moment of opening or closing of the double doors, which transform the space of the study and common room dramatically .
The study room table legs taper towards the floor, the tip changes from black iron to stainless steel, upon touching the natural timber floor planks.
The mirror cabinet in the bathrooms are framed in Corian, with a recessed niche for displaying decors under the diffused strip lights.
The project was realised by a close collaboration between HIR, the client, and the contractors. The dialogue was a persistent process of experiments, from mood-boards to layouts, from colour choices to sample submissions, and from lighting refinements to craftsmanship of details. It was though all these dedicated process that the tailor- made design can be well executed, creating a residence that is timelessly luxurious, subtly quintessential and chic.
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