Northern Minimalism in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-based Studio Adjective has created a sophisticated and petite apartment that draws on Japanese and Nordic aesthetics


Tseung Kwan O’s southern waterfront promenade is home to a sophisticated and sleek apartment for a creative couple. Housed in new residential development Alto Residences, the upper-level space has been reimagined by Studio Adjective as an ultra-compact living and working space that evokes Japanese and Scandinavian minimalism.

Designed for a couple who work in the creative industries and often from home, the modest 30-square-metre space maintains a tranquil and open ambience. The northern influences were a request from the couple, who are fans of the aesthetic, in particular favouring the use of dark wood.  

As the owners also enjoy hosting social gatherings, the design team distinguished private and public spaces using a transparent L-shaped wood and glass screen to separate the master bedroom from the living room. The bedroom is placed on a raised platform that also offers storage, and this platform extends to become the living area’s dining table and shelf, with a single curved wooden leg as a support.

Rather than relying on a style of transforming furniture found in other compact apartments, the design team instead aimed for a liveable space. They resized the existing wall behind the kitchen and kept the existing open cooking area with hidden kitchen appliances. The striking staircase leads to an open-air rooftop and was designed to encourage the clients’ friends to gather socially around the open kitchen as well as showcase the owners’ collection of objects. The staircase and other interior details were placed specifically to maximise the amount of natural light that flows into the home.

The apartment embraces a soothing and sensuous palette of walnut and light grey marble. The bedroom’s ceiling is composed of two slanted walnut surfaces that cover existing beam structures, and wooden boxes hand-crafted by artisans in Hokkaido feature on the bedroom shelf. The home includes accessories from Marimekko and a sofa from Ibata Interior in central Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, which work with the material palette and intelligent design to offer a sociable, workable and liveable home.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Courtesy of Studio Adjective