Streamlined Sanctuary

Lean living gets elevated in this Hong Kong loft

'It’s easy to make a big space look good but the same really can’t be said about smaller, more compact spaces,’ muses YC Chen, founder and creative director of Hoo Residence, an interior design studio based in Hong Kong. There is a certain draw that comes with achieving precision in space planning, and it’s precisely this kind of design challenge that Chen’s group is compelled to meet. One of Hoo’s latest small-space projects — a loft apartment in Hong Kong's Wan Chai neighbourhood — is a case-study in minimalism, Zen and functional planning. ‘The homeowner is a single professional living on her own,’ explains Chen, who also says that the client’s propensity for numbers, accounting and costing was another strict parameter that the firm had to work with in coming up with a design that was functional, aesthetically pleasing and well within budget.

The solution for the tiny 30-square metre space was to expand vertically. ‘It was impossible to have both a sofa and a bed, for example. But because we were working with a three-metre high ceiling, we were fortunate enough to have a chance to build upwards,’ he says.

The high ceilings don't just give the combined living, dining and kitchen space some room to breathe, they also emphasise the natural light afforded by its floor-to-ceiling windows. With walls swathed in fresh white paint, finishes in a light wood veneer, and light fabrics and pendant lamps kept in a monochrome gray and white palette, the entire area is visually uplifted . ‘Because the space is so small, we wanted to keep the amount of materials to a minimum,’ adds Chen, whose design preferences lean toward natural materials. Aside from the pendant lamps sourced from Australia and stools purchased in Denmark, the majority of the furniture and small objects within the home were sourced locally in Hong Kong.

The loft’s pièce de résistance is the built-in storage that features wrap-around steps leading to an upper-level bed. Everything was custom built, maximising every possible avenue for storage opportunity. The result is a cohesive unit where everything necessary for daily living is within reach. ‘The advantage of living in a small space,’ says Chen, ‘is knowing where everything is — seeing the entire space come together in just one glance.’

Text / Chinggay Labrador