Optimising small space
The Rooms at Design Street will showcase some savvy design tips that can be used in limited built-up areas – perfect for SoHo, SoFo and SoVo-type of units.
BY YVONNE YOONG
LAND, being a limited resource, is becoming increasingly scarce in cities around the world as this natural resource is being used to facilitate more and more developments to cope with a rising population worldwide.
In tandem with this modern day phenomenon, prices of properties have also shot up by leaps and bounds.
It is hardly surprising that this resulting effect has given rise to the demand for SoHo (Small office Home office), SoFo (Small office Flexible office) or SoVo (Small office Virtual office) units. Smaller in size yet flexible given the units’ live-work-and-play concept, they are an emerging trend in today’s society.
So too is the clever concept of dual-key units which enable two units to be sold under one title, which works well for members of a family intending to stay next to each other while maintaining their respective privacy.
Besides the dual-key concept that features two units for what would typically house one unit (thus downsizing the built-up areas of the two units), serviced residences are also finding their way into the city.
Serviced residences are a favourite stay among expatriates and those who have had to relocate to work in different countries but who relish the familiarity afforded by being equipped with all the comforts of a home – with cooking facilities, washing machines and dryers made available in the units.
All these units have one common denominator – that of being relatively small as compared to conventional landed residences in terms of built-up areas.
Given the flexibility in terms of the duration of the occupancy – be it a day, few days, weeks, months or even years – serviced residences that are larger sized than traditional hotel rooms allow guests to occupy the units as temporary homes. Serviced residences are also seeing a surge in popularity among locals who turn them into weekend stays during their family outings.
Recognising the growing popularity of these smaller units as part of an emerging trend, The Rooms at Design Street is the theme for this year’s HOMEDEC instalment that will comprise four different units. These show units will be showcased over the course of this weekend’s Part 1: Oct 23 to 26 and the next weekend’s Part 2: Oct 30 to Nov 2 exhibition at Hall Five of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). The showcase will highlight design creations by two interior designers, a fashion designer and an exhibitor. The objective of these units is to share design ideas on how to maximise space in a limited area.
Optimising Industrial Chic in a small space
Heading the design teams as chief designer, PDI Design and Associates Sdn Bhd design director Ooi Boon Seong, said the trick is to think sustainably and utilise the concept of “low impact architecture” in an approximately four metres (13ft) by eight metres (26ft) space.
He said that utilising the correct blend of materials could result in a stunning overall effect to maximise the look of the limited built-up area.
His interpretation will solely focus on using an understanding of vernacular architecture to complement a “universal architecture of global modernity”, which to him represents “one of the most important features of contemporary society”.
Conceptualising Room 1: Industrial Chic as a viable creative option for small spaces, he said that this look will enable the workings of a “timeless, neutral, simple and natural style”.
Likewise, the neutral palette of colours and cement renderings can blend well to create the effect of a larger space.
This design style finds beauty in “aged design” which essentially focuses on using aged wood and worn textures that can be mixed with forged or welded metal with a matte finish coupled by a hint of patina – be it aluminium, tin, iron or steel that can result in a look that is simple yet effective, clean but functional.
Instead of working hard to match decorative items, he maintained that industrial items, which can be found practically anywhere, need not be used in the manner they were originally intended. Therefore, there is flexibility in the way one of the individual industrial items or pieces can be mixed and matched with other types of design styles ranging from traditional to modern. This is where the recyclable concept comes in to provide a viable, creative and sustainable design solution for small spaces.
Although he said that working on the design of a limited area can be challenging in terms of maximising the look of the space, he vouched that using an overall background sporting a black-and-white industrial chic theme can brighten, widen and lengthen the look of the unit.
“The space may look like a factory with the floors that will be designed in concrete backed by furniture and chandeliers to reflect and complement the industrial style approach.
“We chose to design the dining room and living space with antique decorations that can double up as an entertainment area or even the bedroom quarters,” he said.
According to him, small spaces can also incorporate the workings of a feature wall to accentuate the sense of space in the unit.
The presence of a large window too will invite the outdoors in, creating an illusion of space.
This industrial chic look will even be suitable for a dance studio or working space as the look can be recycled many times over, with individual pieces lending to various forms of self-expression. Practically any type of sofa can complement this style, coupled with a huge feature painting and a series of lights.
The aged, utilitarian design style works well for vernacular architecture which is an emerging trend witnessing new design interpretations, which can address the lack of space in response to modern day needs.
Fashionable designs with Tropical Indochine
There will also be a fashion crossover of sorts as well-known Malaysian fashion designer Bill Keith will be showcasing his Tropical Indochine show unit with his flair for designs that showcase his sense of individuality and love for embracing open spaces.
Having established the Bill Keith Collectibles fashion label, his show unit will not only celebrate an outdoor type of free-spirited look for the space in line with complementing urban modern lifestyles, but will also incorporate tropical elements into the overall design scheme.
“I like the hip style as I grew up near the beach so I’ll be including this graphic depiction in the overall design of Room 2: Tropical Indochine, which will feature a painting overlooking a beach acting like a balcony opening up to this scenic vista.
“At the entrance, you will see an iron-wood door from Sarawak with the carving of a hornbill.”
He shared that one way to extend the largeness of the space is to have a living room extend straight out to the garden area where one can enjoy the benefits of dining outdoors.
He maintained that spaces could intermingle and interact with one another so there are no separate rooms as in conventional units that are designed either solely as a dining, living area or bedroom quarters.
“Even at home, I frequently dine in my bedroom, so there’s no living room per se,” he said, disclosing his relaxed design approach with an emphasis on connecting the indoors and outdoors. Day beds will be the norm in the space in a bid to celebrate, extend and embrace the sense of spaciousness in the show unit.
Keith said that the Tropical Indochine story will epitomise elements of a beach scene that will be represented on one of the feature walls so that one can imagine being by the seaside.
The Tropical Indochine decoration will be complemented by a breezily designed ambiance setting where one can laze on the daybed or lounge. One can expect nature-based elements such as tree barks, leaves and tikar mengkuang that will blend in with warm illumination and colours reflecting a Balinese setting.
“This is how life should be after a hard day’s work. We must come back to a place called home with a good ambience where we can relax the mind and body. Pillows will be scattered everywhere, so too native plants,” he said, pointing out the logical sequence of how different places can complement one another.
Bent on utilising this open scheme in his design where different rooms intermingle and blend into a coherent whole, he shared that the key to creating the illusion of larger spaces can also be found by inviting full vistas of the outdoors in.
Modern Classic kitchens/living spaces
Exhibitor SunPizz Kitchen & Home Sdn Bhd director Ong Kiang Hong and head interior designer Eddie Ng will team up to present their design interpretation showcasing kitchens as living/dining spaces at Room 3: Modern Classic design.
Giving a fresh spin to the way kitchen areas can be utilised as living/dining areas, they believe that their modern classic designs can perform more than just their traditionally perceived role as an area for food preparation and cooking.
“We will have the kitchen and living room design scheme coming together as in the case of a SoHo unit,” said Ong.
“The kitchen design will be modern and classic at the same time while the feature wall will follow a classical theme which will also be complemented by a more comfortable design that is quite the trend now in the market,” he added, speaking from his years of experience in the business of interior design and in the area of custom-made furniture and renovation.
The result will showcase a modern take on simplicity that boasts a marriage of form and function.
This will result in a coherent design statement that will highlight a range of customised kitchen cabinets, wardrobes and cabinet furniture coming together for an effect that is simple yet sophisticated, elegant but understated.
Bohemian style for small spaces
Sky Creation Design Sdn Bhd – the Malaysian operations for the Singaporean based company headed by its regional design principal Astley Ng – will present his version of Room 4: Boho Chic (Bohemian Style Concept).
Being a leading space solutions provider since 2008, the company has evolved from an interior design and consultancy firm to provide a comprehensive range of creative solutions, including interior design and renovation, architectural planning and design, furniture manufacturing and construction.
Humorously crediting his firm as being “very small and kiasu”, he shared that his show unit with a north orientation layout will be characterised by an artistic expression incorporating a “fusion of interesting, everyday elements”.
“Some elements of the design will be Bohemian – with an eclectic mix of emotional colours that will either excite or articulate the overall design expression.
“The design will be complemented by an oversupply of accessories that will showcase experience, exposure and tricks we’ve garnered over the years. The style is eclectic – as long as it is art, we will dress it up,” he said with a laugh.
The beauty of using large art works that these pieces will not only heighten the elements of interest in the space while complementing them, but will also contribute to the illusion of added space.
“Balconies, greenery, bricks and texture will allow us to zero in on our intent as we incorporate wardrobes into the bedroom area and employ other steps to showcase multi-functional uses,” he added. The living and dining concept will be combined for added space and infused with creativity using modern Bohemian tiles, white brick walls and wooden panels.
Bright and cheerful Bohemian colours on classic furniture that “jump out” at you, an artistic garden and a kitchen area with a vertical green wall that will be exhibited in his show unit are some of the other highlights that can be used to maximise the confines of a limited built-up area.
“Think rosemary, basil and other herbs that will decorate the wall near the kitchen area that will highlight his small space creation designed with balance in mind. The leaves of the herbs can be used in the cooking,” he said, stressing on the versatility of incorporating a small vertical wall for edible greenery.
“We are a green interior design company – so intent in showing details is important. In exploring our design further, you will see how we like to incorporate storage or dresser components as well – so there will be little surprises found in this show unit. Interestingly and fortunately, some accessories and suppliers are already selling the look we are introducing now,” he shared.