For a couple, moving in together provides the opportunity to integrate possessions and create a space that evokes a concert of styles and tastes – ones that are representative of each individual and, at the same time, harmonious. The romance of this convergence is perhaps greater still when the newly cohabiting pair are merging their lives in an apartment conceived expressly for them, as was the case for the talented, animal-loving occupants of this 2,600-sq-ft loft located on the south side of Hong Kong Island.
The couple enlisted the help of another creative duo, Elaine Lu and Vincent Lim of multidisciplinary studio Lim + Lu, to help mould the expansive location to fit their lifestyle. Prior to the renovation, the location had been left in a state of disrepair. “The design intention was to maintain some of the natural, raw characteristics and pair these with refined elements to give the once-forsaken space a second life,” explain Elaine and Vincent.
The greatest challenge the designers faced in the renewal of this property was in crafting its layout. “It was originally open-plan with no divisions, no kitchen, no bathrooms, and with windows only on one side,” recalls Vincent. “We had to strategically plan the layout to allow for the filtration of light and to facilitate the clients’ activities, which include art and baking.”
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The resulting design is fluid and flexible – elements at the core of many of Lim + Lu’s creations – featuring sliding partitions and a mutable approach to public and private spaces. Areas such as the art studio, kitchen and living room are open, while more traditionally discreet environments, including the bedroom and bathrooms, can be sequestered by simply sliding the glass and steel dividers shut.
The interiors of the apartment have been left largely untouched, with pillar-box red pipes and white walls recalling its industrial past. “We design with the context in mind – being mindful of the surroundings as well as the inhabitants,” explains Elaine. “In this instance, we were working with a space neighbouring many industrial complexes and a client who has a deep connection with New York. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to harmonise Eastern and Western cultures.”
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“We borrowed elements from the surrounding industrial neighbourhood and intertwined them with the idea of a New York loft,” Elaine continues. “When inside the space, without looking out the windows, you’re transported to a loft in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. When you look out, you’re immediately connected to Hong Kong. The idea of a warehouse-type New York loft in Hong Kong seems unusual, yet it is perfectly fitting in the surrounding industrial environment.”
Of course, it was down to the couple that would be inhabiting the space (along with their five pets) to complete its conversion into a home – an endeavour that was realised with the consolidation of their furniture, artwork and personal effects under one roof. The result is one of uncomplicated cohesion, where two mismatching sofas sit side-by-side in obvious unity and myriad titles occupy the same shelf space.
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Throughout the apartment, objets d’art tell stories of independent lives now shared, while newly conceived spaces – such as the enviable bathroom – open a fresh chapter of the couple’s unique journey, which continues in these stunning surrounds where old and new and East and West collide. As Vincent says: “I think the success and the beauty of this project lies in the fact that it has an unexpected quality to it. It is not something you see every day in Hong Kong.”
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Photography: Moses Ng