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A MINIMALIST FORMULA

by Mavis Wong on Aug 14, 2012 in Interiors
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A clean design doesn’t necessarily have to be boring – it can be homey, chic, playful and functional all at the same time
 
At Robinson Place, Mid-Level West, Hong Kong-based Boutique Design recently undertook a challenge to transform a 1,300sq-ft apartment into a newly-wed couple’s love nest. The resulting design might look simple – but obviously it was no easy task. 

From the charcoal grey corridor and the open kitchen to the cosy living room and the playful bathroom, surprises and great attention to detail are evident throughout. Creative director Thomas Letourneux – one of the rising stars of our 40 Under 40 programme this year – walked us through the heartfelt design.

Tell us about the brief from the client.
The view is really the main feature. They wanted something really uncomplicated, simple but functional; for it to have a natural, homey feel even though everything is so clean – so that the outside can really be the main focus and the inside is not too heavy, not attracting too much attention.

Did you achieve this via the material choices?
We tried to use natural materials that would age nicely — for example, the wood we used for the flooring is unpolished. The master bedroom has the same flooring as the living area, but in a different layout – we used the herringbone pattern to give it a twist. In fact, we used a lot of wood and veneer to create a simple, earthy tone.

With wood and a white palette dominating the space, the dark corridor really stands out…
We made the whole corridor wall in charcoal grey, almost black. Actually it was supposed to be a chalkboard, but the client was a bit afraid of the idea… I think it’s a shame; it would have been really cool. We wanted to create some sort of a backbone, giving unity to the flat, as if all the rooms are connected to this big black line, basically. And this black line really makes the kitchen stand out, making it feel bright. It’s also to enhance the feeling of united space between the kitchen, living and dining areas.

The design of the semi-open kitchen is intriguing, too.
The kitchen was quite a challenge. All the walls around it are structural so the only thing we could do was to rework the space. We totally opened it up so now it feels like part of the living room, rather than a separate room like it used to be. Also, you can enjoy the beautiful view (through the living room windows) as well.

Did you rework the living area, too?
The shape of the living room is a little special. To make it square-shaped, they had a TV cabinet in the corner – which was a pity, as the space is quite large and nice. Therefore, for the view purposes, we moved the TV wall to the other side. This opens up the space and brings the view from the outside to the centre, and then through to the kitchen.

Tell us more about the TV wall.
The clients wanted to find a way that they could display their books – that’s why we designed this huge shelf. If you use a floor-to-ceiling closed cabinet, it would move the wall forward and the room would appear smaller. In order to make it less bulky, we conceived a design which looks lighter. The same idea can be found in the master bedroom, where we used two ladders on each side as storage space. It’s playful and open.

In the master bedroom, the windowsill looks different. What is it for?
The client wanted to have a TV in the bedroom, but space on the wall is very limited. Thus, we have a channel behind the wall that goes from the TV to the windowsill, so all equipment can be placed there. It’s a simple windowsill in wood and on top of it, you have another layer of wood like a shelf.

In the guest bedroom and bathroom, the tone is much more casual. Why?
It’s funny because for most of the clients, they get much more open-minded for rooms they don’t use a lot. So for this guest bathroom, they were quite happy to have a bit of a Mediterranean feel in the house and they wanted it to be a contrast to the rest of the space. 

So what would you say is your favourite element of the flat?
We like the guest bathroom. The clients really gave us complete freedom on this one and we really tried to play with it. It’s a real small space but it is fun. Every element is so different from the traditional bathroom. We started with the blue tiles, then put a mirror on the wall and the shelves just against it to create a more flexible space. Below the sink is actually a trolley with wheels that can move around. Everything in there is playful.
 

 

 

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