Architecture

Form follows time in tiny Hong Kong home

The Small Home Smart Home is located in the Central district of Hong Kong
The Small Home Smart Home is located in the Central district of Hong Kong
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The Small Home Smart Home is located in the Central district of Hong Kong
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The Small Home Smart Home is located in the Central district of Hong Kong
The Small Home Smart Home has motorized drop-down cupboards
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The Small Home Smart Home has motorized drop-down cupboards
The Small Home Smart Home has under-cabinet storage space
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The Small Home Smart Home has under-cabinet storage space
The Small Home Smart Home has a large fridge
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The Small Home Smart Home has a large fridge
The Small Home Smart Home hides facilities when they are not in use
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The Small Home Smart Home hides facilities when they are not in use
The Small Home Smart Home has storage space under the floor
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The Small Home Smart Home has storage space under the floor
A number of parts of the floor in the Small Home Smart Home open up
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A number of parts of the floor in the Small Home Smart Home open up
The Small Home Smart Home has slide-out walls to change how the space is used
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The Small Home Smart Home has slide-out walls to change how the space is used
The Small Home Smart Home has a slide-down partition to provide privacy
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The Small Home Smart Home has a slide-down partition to provide privacy
The partition in the Small Home Smart Home separates the main living space and the bath
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The partition in the Small Home Smart Home separates the main living space and the bath
Furniture in the Small Home Smart Home can be folded away flat for efficient storage
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Furniture in the Small Home Smart Home can be folded away flat for efficient storage
The Small Home Smart Home has Philips Hue lighting
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The Small Home Smart Home has Philips Hue lighting
The Small Home Smart Home has up to three beds
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The Small Home Smart Home has up to three beds
The Small Home Smart Home has a full-size bath
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The Small Home Smart Home has a full-size bath
The bath in the Small Home Smart Home can be turned into additional home cinema seating
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The bath in the Small Home Smart Home can be turned into additional home cinema seating
The Small Home Smart Home has a flat 4K TV
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The Small Home Smart Home has a flat 4K TV
The Small Home Smart Home adapts for cooking, eating or relaxing
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The Small Home Smart Home adapts for cooking, eating or relaxing
The Small Home Smart Home has features for work-outs
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The Small Home Smart Home has features for work-outs
The Small Home Smart Home covers 309 sq ft (29 sq m)
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The Small Home Smart Home covers 309 sq ft (29 sq m)
The Small Home Smart Home has a make-up table that can be hidden when not in use
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The Small Home Smart Home has a make-up table that can be hidden when not in use
The Small Home Smart Home has a cat staircase
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The Small Home Smart Home has a cat staircase
The Small Home Smart Home has a cat walkway around the ceiling
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The Small Home Smart Home has a cat walkway around the ceiling
The Small Home Smart Home has a hidden den for cats
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The Small Home Smart Home has a hidden den for cats
The Small Home Smart Home has slide-out food bowls for three cats
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The Small Home Smart Home has slide-out food bowls for three cats

Hong Kong-based architects LAAB describes the city as "one of the most expensive places in the world to live." So keen were one couple to live in the city's Central district, though, they bought a 309-sq ft (29-sq m) apartment and had LAAB squeeze in a host of full-size features.

The Small Home Smart Home is one of a growing number of small apartments with space-saving designs that can allow the residents to avoid having to pay for larger accommodation or live in an area that might otherwise be out of their price range. ICOSA's Domino Loft and the University of British Columbia's new Nano suites are two other recent examples of this.

"Central is the heart of Hong Kong, really, and we couldn't imagine living anywhere else," explain Small Home Smart Home apartment owners Michelle Tennant and Andy Knight. "Because we wanted to leave in Central, we had to buy somewhere that was small."

The couple went on to interview a number of designers, with a view to finding a way to fit all the things they wanted into a space that seemed impossibly small. These included a large kitchen, large bathtub, home cinema, gym facilities and cat-friendly features. Only LAAB is said to have been able to deliver what was required and did so using what it calls a "form follows time" philosophy.

This approach sees the design of the Small Home Smart Home apartment put together not only using its three-dimensional space, but using the fourth dimension of time as well. The apartment is able to transform based on the time of day, with features brought into and out of use as required.

The Small Home Smart Home has a full-size bath
The Small Home Smart Home has a full-size bath

One area of the apartment, for example, can take the form of a bathroom with a bathtub, two separate bathroom spaces, a second tier of home-cinema seating or a guest bedroom. Elsewhere, the design uses moveable walls, roll-down partitions, motorized drop-down cupboards and hidden under-floor storage.

Many of the features in the apartment are to be used temporarily and so must be stored efficiently. Items like the 4K curved TV, the dining table and the make-up table are able to be hidden away flat to save space and to keep the place neat and spacious.

Having managed to incorporate all of the aspects needed by the clients, LAAB also had to include features for their three cats. These included a cat walkway around the ceiling, a cat ladder, a litter box hidden beneath the bathroom sink, food trays hidden within the kitchen cabinets and a hidden den in which the cats can relax.

The Small Home Smart Home has a hidden den for cats
The Small Home Smart Home has a hidden den for cats

Beyond the physical design of the apartment, some app-controlled smart home technologies were also included. Philips Hue bulbs, for example, allow the mood of the apartment to be altered depending on time of day or activity, and an August smart lock allows not only the residents to come and go easily, but for access to be provided to friends when required as well.

LAAB says that, in order to achieve the multifunctional nature of the apartment, a great deal of experimentation was required and over 30 design iterations were produced. In addition, the final design was said to have a tolerance of just 3 mm (0.12 in) in places.

The Small Home Smart Home apartment was started in 2014 and completed last year, but LAAB has only just published details.

The video below provides a look at the Small Home Smart Home.

Source: LAAB

Small Home Smart Home by LAAB Architects

3 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really well done.
dsiple
Brilliantly done. Excluding whatever they paid for the apartment, what was the final cost of the upgrades?
Timelord
I personally wouldn't be that interested in living in Central. Hong Kong has such a good transit system that TST or Admiralty would be just as good, what with a network of subways, trams, buses and ferries to choose from. Anyone who wants all the amenities of Central just outside their door would probably not be spending that much time at home.