How this 380sqft Wan Chai micro-home created more space by building upwards

Designing a chair presents the opportunity to express my position — it is like a testing ground for ideas that interest me,” renowned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye once said when asked about why chair design is seen as a rite of passage for architects.

In the same way, at least in Hong Kong’s utterly unique housing market, interior designers are increasingly seeing micro-flats in the same light, as the purest expression of their core design principles.

 

To YC Chen of hoo, this exercise began in earnest when he was tasked by a young female professional to redesign a studio unit that clocked out at a mere 340sqft – the smallest apartment in his portfolio by far.

Essentially a single room, Florence, as this project would be christened, presented a “trilemma” whereby the client could only ever choose two out of the following three pieces of furniture: a sofa, a bed, or a dining table. To have all three, the only solution, as is so often the case in Hong Kong, was to build upwards.

See more: Designer Profiles – hoo

Our biggest challenge was to keep the colour of all the custom-designed plywood furniture consistent

Utilising the unit’s thankfully high ceiling, YC decided to custom-build a stacked volume that would incorporate a cabinet on the floor level, while floating a double bed above. This left enough room for a standalone sofa bed from BoConcept and a bar table with bar stools from HAY.

They also settled on a pared-back material scheme that only consisted of light plywood to convey a Japanese Zen mood – a necessary countermeasure to the project’s otherwise claustrophobic dimensions, and the client’s own busy life.

“Our biggest challenge was to keep the colour of all the custom-designed plywood furniture consistent,” recalls YC. Their attention to detail certainly paid off: the result is a calming, if cosy, abode high above the hubbub of the nearby Lee Tung Avenue that welcomes in the west-facing view and even manages to fit a single-gear bike on the wall – sporting an all-white paint job to blend in with the home’s minimalist aesthetic, of course.

More on micro-living: This 600-sqft Lam Tin apartment is all about the curves

With the number of micro-homes only set to increase in the foreseeable future, hoo’s very own testing ground may spawn a winning formula yet.

 
 
 
 
 

This story was originally published in our November 2018 issue as ‘Up and Away.’ Click here for more on small homes, and grab a copy of our November issue, on newsstands now.

Photography: Courtesy of hoo