Voice-activated technology and space-saving furniture helped Sim-Plex Design Studio turn a two-bedroom home in Hong Kong into Smart Zendo, a four-bedroom apartment with hidden storage.
Smart Zendo is in Hong Kong’s Coastal Skyline neighbourhood. The project has been shortlisted for Dezeen Awards 2020 in the small interior of the year category.
Sim-Plex Design Studio converted the home for a couple who often travel for work and needed room for multigenerational living.
“Eric and Lory moved to Hong Kong from Taiwan many years ago and have a son,” said Sim-Plex founder Patrick Lam.
“Eric needs to travel frequently throughout the country, and Lory is a flight attendant. The lack of time spent at home means they often need their grandmother to take care of the children,” added Lam.
“Eric and Lory often talk about the scenery and homestay in Taiwan and how they missed them so much.”
Sim-Plex Design Studio aimed to recreate the feeling of their old home in Taiwan while building a flexible living space that could make the most of the 492-square-foot home.
Wide windows make the most of the views and pale Maplewood floors and cabinets were chosen to create a calm and warm atmosphere.
The floor of the living room is a raised platform with trap door-style elements that lift to reveal hidden storage for children’s toys and other household necessities.
A coffee table up rises up from the platform to create a sunken bench where the adults can sit and enjoy tea ceremonies.
Technology is everywhere in the apartment, but the interior designers deliberately made it less obvious, preferring a subtle approach rather than overtly futuristic placements.
Smart homes should use technology to enhance the lives of busy city dwellers, not distract them, said Lam.
Voice-activated technology allows the residents to open the curtains, turn on the lights, lock or unlock the door and even raise the table.
Curtains, screens and the home security system are all controlled by apps and remotes, and plugs and wall sockets are all secreted away.
“The integrated TV cabinet wall and the wooden floor platform are plain and warm, yet hide a large number of intelligent devices,” said Lam.
“The design is also integrated into the traditional Feng Shui doctrine, to create a spiritual space where tradition and technology, people and scenery are combined.”
Eric, in particular, is a keen practitioner of Feng Shui, so Sim-Plex Design Studio carefully oriented the living space according to this. Maplewood was chosen to represent the wood element of Feng Shui.
“Although the traditional Feng Shui aesthetics and smart technology seems to be contradictory, if applied properly, they also have their compatibility,” said Lam.
The open plan kitchen and living room freed up the old kitchen room, which has been converted into a third bedroom for the family’s live-in maid.
Sliding doors can screen off the living area from the kitchen to create an extra fourth bedroom for when the grandmother comes to stay.
Space-saving furniture has been used throughout, including rounded benches that tuck under the dining table in the kitchen area. More storage is integrated into the base of the chairs and the slim drawers in the tabletop.
In the child’s room, the platform-style bed doubles as a chair for sitting at a desk, while the master bedroom has a hidden makeup table and the bed can double as a stool for using it.
The bathroom, with its marble-tiled walls, was modelled on a boutique hotel aesthetic.
Sim-Plex Design Studio was founded by Patrick Lam and specialises in small space solutions for Hong Kong residents.
The studio recently designed an apartment in Yuen Long for a multigenerational family – and their pet cat and parrot.
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