Airing your dirty laundry is on trend at the moment. While many Hong Kong apartments suffer from clutter that is often the result of trying to cram too much into too little space. No matter how many cabinets people may have, eventually things spill out onto the nearby floor, furniture and sometimes illegally onto common property such as hallways. It’s a never-ending battle that seems to have no real answer in this space-challenged city. So why not take the Zen approach and abstain from the fray?
Filipino-American architect Jason Nogoy’s nomadic lifestyle has encouraged him to edit his possessions. He only keeps what he loves, and he wants to share the love with anyone who visits — or, indeed, anyone who wishes to buy his storage solutions. “Over the past 10 years, I have lived in Detroit (my hometown), San Francisco, New York City, Amsterdam, Bali and now Hong Kong,” says Nogoy, founder of Crafthouse. “I have a passion for people and their cultural construction. From everyday experiences and interactions with the places I have lived, I bring these observations into narratives to colour the idea of furnishings.”
“Topshelf is an ode to the entrepreneurial and renegade spirit of Hong Kong people,” he explains. “I meet a lot of interesting people who come here with random business ideas and who let them fly. Sometimes they are old ideas already played out in other places, but they recreate it with their own style and rules.” Networking is Nogoy’s take on the three degrees of separation between many people in Hong Kong. Guanxi, or the dynamics behind personal relationships, is reinterpreted in an open shelving unit held together by the thinnest of vertical members zigzagging around its form — just like an Internet connection or the visual pulse on a heart monitor. Both Topshelf and Networking are available through Madura in Central.
Homeless’ latest collection also includes open storage solutions by Taiwan-based Studio Domo. Like Crafthouse, Studio Domo’s Chopstick wardrobe appears deceptively simple: oversized wooden tongs with a bar between them. Upon closer inspection, it is evident how carefully each member is constructed for structural integrity and beauty. For anyone who wants to admire his Armani suits or her Chanel jackets from virtually any angle in a room, it is the perfect closet.
South Korean designer Song Seung-yong injects a quirky sense of humour into his open storage solutions. Objet E, part of his multifunction collection of furnishings, is a rocking chair that doubles as a clothes-drying rack. The motion of the chair while in use creates a breeze that naturally dries the clothing above. Objet A is a chair with a very high back that becomes a bookcase. It can be used against walls, ganged back to back or float in spaces for the ultimate mini me library. Meanwhile, Dami is a series of lattice furnishings, storage and lighting inspired by grills used in Korean barbecue.
“There is a fine line between what is considered storage and what is considered an apartment in Hong Kong,” laughs Nogoy. “Most people are essentially living in a 500 square foot — or less! — closet with a door and some windows. Storage here has to do many things. A simple cupboard will hold glasses, the printer, extra pillow cases, light bulbs and wine.”
As the best storage solution cannot replace lack of space, it may be time to throw out the baby with the bath water. “Consolidate your items based on their purpose rather than have multiple places where they may be buried,” Nogoy advises. “Bury them all in the same place. Keep the things that inspire you on display and around you, out in the open. Even if your space is small, it is your most sacred place in Hong Kong. Your home should provide a dwelling for your creativity.”