Comfort ZoneComodo’s timeless interiors put customised comfort at the top of the list

With a strong residential portfolio and an eye toward more commercial projects in the near future, Comodo Design, whose name derives from the Italian musical term meaning “unrestrained” and “comfortable,” founder and design director Alain Wong talks with Square Foot about the disconnect between East and West, respect for living space and aesthetic unity.

You spent some of your life in San Francisco. Does that have an influence on your work here?
Living there is obviously very different. When I first got there, we had a house, a back yard and a garage and so on. Life in Hong Kong was and is very crowded, and people tend to have a lot of possessions. Small space and a lot to go into it make design foci very different. You have to use every inch. Most of my clients need wardrobes, desks, beds as well as space for children to play in. You can’t change the space someone has, and so you have to make it seem more spacious and watch the proportions of the furniture. My [American] experience and education taught me to see how things will ultimately look in a big space and I scale it down.

You design furniture too. Does that help with realising goals here?
It does. We divide projects into three parts. We start with the frame, which comprises the ceilings, lighting and doors of the space. The next part is furnishings and all that goes into the space. Lastly there is decoration. We look at the whole a unified way and come up with a carefully thought-out plan. We consider the space, what people have — for example a home entertainment system — and design based on that and existing materials. An exemplar is the dining tables that can be bar table and dining table in one that we’ve created, which have a mirrored hidden cabinet underneath. It’s not so bulky and it keeps the design unified.

Are you noticing any prevailing trends that clients are requesting?
No one comes to me and asks for their spaces to feel smaller. Generally people are putting more thought into their living space. I also see a fusion trend; everyone has their own style, their own character. There seems to be a minimalist trend too.

It seems people are individualising their space more and more.
Yes. I think it’s the reason there are so many interior designers here. You can’t do DIY in your garage or go to something like Home Depot here. It’s one of the reasons I came back. There’s more opportunity here.

Is there anything in particular you’d like to try designing that you haven’t yet?
When I studied interior design, one of my instructors was an architect, so that was a major focus and it was the reason I went back to the United States to study architecture. I don’t think I’ll get an opportunity to design a museum or anything, but I’d love to build a house from top to bottom, inside and out. There are properties in Yuen Long that can be purchased for a reasonable price. Maybe I’ll knock one down and start again from the beginning.