LAAB | Small Home Smart Home
LAAB is a versatile team of architects, designers, engineers, and makers. From home and workplace, to retail and public space, LAAB empowers spatial design with intelligence, craft, and engagement.
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Project

Small Home Smart Home

Special Thanks to

Michelle and Andy, and their families and friends

As seen on

CNN

Project Directors

Otto, Ricci

Project Manager

Kathy

Project Team

Hang, Happy, Zion, Kenneth, Honley, Jason, Venus, Anthony, Hugo, Kinmo, CK, Sian, Phoebe

Videography

Sootage Visual

Supported by

Philips Hue

Category
Home, Interior
About This Project

 

Michelle and Andy came to LAAB with big plans and a long wish-list for their apartment, asking us to fit a full kitchen, large bathtub, home cinema, gym, cat friendly spaces and plenty of storage into just 309 sqft.

 

The apartment was so small, because the couple wanted to live in the heart of Hong Kong, Central district. Hong Kong is already one of the most expensive places in the world to live, and nowhere is this truer than in Central. Given the choice of putting all of their resources and gaining an extra 30-50sqft or saving some of their budget for a groundbreaking interior design that would create the feeling of much more space, the couple chose to go with design.

 

To realise their ambitious plans, our team at LAAB had to think beyond static spaces. We began considering time as a factor, eventually designing the space around a “Form Follows Time” philosophy, which means that spaces open and close depending on the purposes needed at that particular time. This is best demonstrated by the bathtub area of the apartment. This one space can take the following forms:

 

  1. The traditional bathroom with bathtub.
  2. Separate bathtub so that a guest can shower while the host brushes teeth or vice versa
  3. 2ndtier seating creating a two tiered home cinema or seating for large groups of friends
  4. Guest bedroom for short stay guests

 

These forms can also be blended, allowing for a home cinema experience while in the bath, or movie viewing for host and guest while both are in bed. Achieving this level of flexibility in this area and others required over 30 design iterations and large amounts of experimentation.

 

Meticulous planning and extraordinary craftsmanship was fundamental to achieving this design. It depended on the absolute synchronization of components, structures and appliances, all of which either moves or can be revealed when necessary, creating construction tolerance of just 3mm. Additionally, all elements, from the 4K curved TV, to the dining table, to the make-up table and storage are all designed to hide flat and smooth to keep the flat looking neat and spacious.

 

A range of app-controlled smart home technologies have also been implemented, primarily Philips Hue bulbs and the August smart lock. The lights are able to slowly brighten the room in the morning, giving the couple a gentle wake-up while the door lock means they can enter effortlessly or send electronic keys to friends to help them look after their cats.

 

Cats and their needs were a very important factor in this design. You could say that the apartment was not only designed for Michelle and Andy but also for their three cats, Banoffee, Dumpling and Tuxedo. Cat areas include a cat walk around the ceiling, cat ladder, litterbox hidden beneath the bathroom sink, cat food trays hidden within the kitchen cabinets and a hidden den for them to relax in.

 

Implementing these cat friendly concepts was a challenge.  Materials, details and mechanical systems were all strategically designed to keep the spaces dry, cleanable, cat-friendly, and free of undesirable smells. For example, the cat litter box has been equipped with its own ventilation system that pulls smells out of the building.

 

“The most important thing is how comfortable the apartment is.  Many of our friends come over and visit our place, and they have never seen such a nice kitchen even though their own apartments are bigger than ours.” – Andy and Michelle.

 

客戶Andy 和Michelle的新房子只有309尺 (9坪 / 28平方米),但是他們希望擁有一個美式廚房、浴缸、家庭影院、健身室,還有讓三隻小猫咪活動的空間。聽起來像是一項不可能的任務,但是只要我們能突破三維思考,以時間做為設計的主軸, 我們能在小小的空間裡也可以有大大的享受。在「形式追隨時間」(Form follows Time)的設計理念下, LAAB設計了一個靈活的智能家居空間。譬如,我們靈活使用沙發上的坐墊,把浴缸變成一個雙層的5人梳化,甚至是單獨客房。 浴缸和沙發的正前方是廚房,旁邊的櫃子隱藏著大電視和餐桌, 同樣的空間,在不同的時間,是浴室,客房,飯廳,也是家庭影院。 把廚房的砧板反過來蓋住水槽和可伸縮的水龍頭, 開放式的廚房就變成了工作空間。 LAAB還把科技融入生活, 地板櫥櫃可以升降,燈光和門鎖都可以用智能手機的APP來調控 。因為在這個小空間裡住的還有三隻小貓咪,所以在設計上LAAB不但要滿足人的生活習慣,還要考慮到貓咪的愛好和習性。 LAAB在移動的化妝櫃後加設貓樓梯,連接天花板上的貓走廊和貓窩,讓小貓咪有屬於自己的空間。現代的大都市地少人多,寸金寸土,如果我們不打破三維的設計模式,現代人的生活功能會因為空間不足而大打折扣。LAAB利用科技和時間轉換空間的設計理念,把小房子變聰明,變醒目。