City dwellers often have to settle for small spaces. When Hong Kong residents Michelle Tennant and Andy Knight decided to reside in the expensive Central district, they compromised on a small 309 square foot flat. They then enlisted LAAB Architects to utterly redesign the space so they didn't have to feel so confined by their new digs. The architects accordingly transformed their nondescript apartment from a drab flat into the high-tech Small Home Smart Home.
Tennant and King had big dreams for their space: they wanted a large kitchen, bathtub, home cinema, storage and gym. In 309 square feet. LAAB Architects, founded by Otto Ng, Ricci Wong, and Yip Chun Hang, accepted the challenge. Inspired by Ng’s robotic walls design, they created a transformable house that shifts to meet the needs of the couple, whether they are relaxing, preparing dinner, exercising, or entertaining friends.
Ng said they thought beyond the three-dimensional space, incorporating a fourth dimension: time. The architects said, “We began considering time as a factor, eventually designing the space around a ‘Form Follows Time’ philosophy, which mean[s] that spaces open and close depending on the purposes needed at that particular time.”
For example, when entertaining guests, a TV pulls out, closing off the kitchen. The bathtub turns into an additional couch, allowing two tier seating so several people can be accommodated at once. Then, if a few guests decide to say the night, the couches turn into beds, which can be closed off by roller blinds to allow privacy. For the couple, a bookcase folds out to provide a wall for their bedroom.
Underfloor storage allows the couple to maximize the space, and using straps and hooks, King can use the ceiling to work out. The kitchen includes a sink which can be utilized as a counter as well, and food storage space that comes out from the wall and ceiling. Furniture from the kitchen table to the TV are largely flat and designed to be stowed away so the couple can use the space however they wish.
The architects also considered the couple’s three cats in their design. Around the ceiling, a catwalk gives the cats space away from the humans, and they also have a cat ladder and cat den. Beneath the bathroom sink sits the litter box, and cat food dishes are hidden in kitchen cabinets. LAAB recognized the challenge of a space with three cats and two humans, and incorporated elements such as a ventilation system in the litter box to keep odors to a minimum.
Technology plays a large role in the home as well. Small Home Smart Home is equipped with Philips Hue bulbs that slowly lighten the space in the morning and provide ambience at night. August smart locks provide a way for the couple to see who’s at the door or give electronic keys to catsitters.
The couple reports they’re incredibly happy with their new home and are the envy of friends who own larger apartments; one friend reportedly came over to cook at their pad despite having a larger space. Small Home Smart Home completely redefines the potential of city living.
Via The Verge