Lifestyle

Best of Both Worlds

interiors

When searching for an apartment in Hong Kong, the typical party line is that you can't have it all—if it's convenience you want, you'll have to give up on space or peacefulness, and vice versa. This couple, however, got lucky when they stumbled upon this 850-square-foot flat on Prince's Terrace close to Soho. "The tranquil neighbourhood is rich with old street features," explained Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui, design director at London- and Paris-based architecture and interior design firm Bean Buro, who was commissioned to design the space. "[The couple also likes] the charming quality of the tong lau building, the pedestrian street with beautiful trees, and the area's heightened sense of community." 


interiors

The apartment itself was a different story. Cellular and stuffy, the space was originally chopped up into a number of small
rooms—a far cry from the haven the couple envisioned. "The clients' brief was to create an open, spacious living area with maximum natural daylight," said Lorène Faure, the other design director at Bean Buro who worked on the project. "A cosy apartment where they could transition from their busy city life outside while bringing out the charm of the neighbourhood views." To accomplish this, Kinugasa-Tsui and Faure combined a variety of aesthetics and concepts: the Swiss chalet, the Japanese teahouse, and Bean Buro's signature approach of "fresh, calming, simple and humanistic",
as Faure described it. 


interiors

Opening up the space required completely gutting and then replacing the existing layout with a more flexible one that places central joinery and ingenious usage of partitions at the forefront. "Our approach was to introduce clearly defined spaces while keeping the apartment as open and spacious as possible," said Kinugasa-Tsui. "Joinery elements were introduced to connect different areas throughout, while partitions were designed to increase flexibility." The central joinery links the kitchen, foyer, dining and living areas, whilea guest room is partitioned from the lounge.Storage is discreetly hidden, with a concealed walk-in storage area hidden at the entrance and a Murphy bed tucked into the wall of the guest room. The open kitchen and full length mirrors in the foyer also serve to open up the space. 


interiors

Integrating the outside greenery with the interiors was a matter of colour, with plenty of light timber and cool tones permeating the apartment. "Various shades of green respond to the green vegetation and trees outside," said Kinugasa-Tsui. "This creates a dialogue between the inside and outside. The designers also took inspiration from the Villa Müller in Prague designed by the late Adolf Loos, an architect and theorist of modern architecture. The idea they utilised was the "theatre box", or a faux balcony along the windows off of the lounge area. Sitting on a raised platform, it emulates Japanese teahouses and features a built-in table, planters, bookshelf and seating, making for a relaxing space that's closely connected to the surrounding views. It's here that the couple most enjoy winding down while enjoying the peaceful vibes of the neighbourhood they inhabit.