Stealth, secrecy and surprise – these contrarian qualities formed the crux of KS Studio founders Kenwin Chan and Kevin Mok’s vision for the renovation of a 1,700sqft duplex apartment in Tseung Kwan O’s Parkview residential estate.
They suited the client’s brief for a masculine interior that could operate much like a Swiss Army knife, in that it would transform in shape, function and mood as needed.
Seemingly embodying Plato’s age-old “Allegory of the Cave” – a thought experiment that questions reality as perceived through our five senses – this modern-day man cave deals in illusions, with a show-stealing S-shaped wall that winds languidly along the length of the entire property. Built into this volume are multiple “trap doors” that hide secret rooms – such as hidden wardrobes, storage cabinets, shoe racks and even a cocktail bar – that preserve a sense of mystery until revealed.
“Under normal circumstances, these elements would exist separate of each other, but we wanted to incorporate all of them into a single wall,” explains Mok. “Opening each door in this wall will unveil a different surprise, transforming the space around it and creating new perspectives, urging the user to investigate its role in more detail.”
The apartment’s other winning feature is the unhindered view of Victoria Harbour that can be seen from almost every corner. To accentuate this, the designers reconfigured the original partitions to create an open-plan arrangement that reduced visual obstructions to a minimum – all the better to appreciate the vista through the original floor-to-ceiling windows.
Despite the luxury of long sightlines, the design duo ensured a large degree of ease in expanding or contracting the public and private spaces within the apartment as needed. The multifunctional wall facilitates this, serving up a folding door from its bowels to section off the cinema space at the far end of the home for a greater degree of audiovisual immersion, or even to carve out a guest bedroom.
Hewing close to the geological theme of this project, the designers chose to utilise elemental materials to express the mine-like appearance of the home. The feature wall is rendered in a metallic wallpaper that gives off a copper-like sheen. The top edge of this volume meets a dropped wooden ceiling that sublimates into a false concrete ceiling – a material progression that alludes to the Industrial Revolution.
The floor, meanwhile, is paved in hexagonal imitation-concrete tiles that open a dialogue with the ceiling area around the chandelier, where an intricate geometric pattern has been impressed into the surface. Elsewhere, brick walls adorn the interior of the hidden wine bar, while the dark, pearlescent tiles and brass fixtures of the bathroom further underline the subterranean metaphor.
Discarding contemporary notions of lightness, this home nonetheless achieves drama and gravitas through its masculine material palette and an unflinching approach towards functional versatility. It lends itself equally well to entertaining guests as it does to brooding on the occasional Platonic parable.
Opening each door in this wall will unveil a different surprise, transforming the space around it and creating new perspectives
This story was originally published in our July 2018 issue as “Brave the Cave.” For more inspiring masculine homes, pick up a print or digital copy, on newsstands now.
Photography: Mitchell Geng
Styling and production: Emily Leung