Hong Kong Design ConceptThe multi-functional — residences, offices, retail — Wanchai-based design studio had a busy 2012 and is in the thick of a 2013 that could be defined by Chinese-influenced design elements and if founder and director with Man Wu has anything to say about it, a house or two. Square Foot chats with Man.

You studied design here in Hong Kong. How does being a Hongkonger with a Hong Kong education help your work? Different countries have their own character, and of course Hong Kong is a small place. Everyone needs to use the space very functionally. Through communication we can get to learn more about clients’ needs and hopes, and offer suggestions based on our experience, which can improve the quality of the home in a limited space.

Design Sector has been operating for just few years, but things in Hong Kong change really fast. Has your approach to design changed since you founded the studio?
The only change is in colour and style, and that is very easy for us. ‘Home’ means living inside and feeling great are one and the same. That’s why we always keep our work clean and tidy. We also need to match the lifestyle of the client [with the space]. That’s very important. Every client has their own feelings regarding style and colour, so I would never make sweeping statements about applying them.

Past Projects
What stands out for you from last year’s work and why?
A project at Sea Crest Villa was great, because we used three styles in the same home: The living area needed to match with some existing furniture; the client bought a four-foot tall cabinet in Vietnam, which is yellow, red and blue and they also had a dark brown sofa and dining table. We used walnut strips to create uneven wall panels and blue textured wallpaper there. In the son’s room they were going for a dark, moody vibe, so we used a grey paint and grey feature wallpaper, and then indirect lighting to create that mood. And for the master bedroom again we went with textured wallpaper and rough floor tiles and lighting.

It’s still early in the year. What do you see emerging as interior trends for the rest of 2013?
This year will keep going for the simple shape and minimal style. Also some Chinese style and details will be added in together with pop-out colours like pink, orange, sky blue and so on. China’s economy keeps growing and many people are developing an interest in design from the country.

Wish List
What would you like Design Sector to accomplish this year?
Some house projects, like two- or three-level [buildings] with a front garden and rooftop, mostly because the space can have more layers and include more vertical elements so that we can create a relationship between the different levels. Front gardens can provide more green in the home and rooftops also let us develop a relaxing space.