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HKDI students strike gold with smart design of transformative apartment

Architecture, Interior & Product Design

With property prices in Hong Kong soaring, the living spaces that average Hongkongers can afford are getting smaller and smaller. Four HKDI students of the Higher Diploma in Interior Design recently came up with some creative solutions when they took part in the HKT Smart Living Awards 2018, winning the Gold prize in the Student category and the Most Popular Smart Living Design Award with their work entitled “Mirror”. Their transformational ideas showed how a family of four living in 400 sq.ft.-plus apartment can each be provided with private space by means of the smart design of the apartment and furniture. 

Movable furniture in expandable space 

The Student category of the contest carried the theme of "Smart Living – Limited Space, Infinite Possibilities", with entrants required to submit an original simulated design. HKDI student of Higher Diploma in Interior Design and a member of the winning team, Derek WONG, said that feeling living spaces in Hong Kong were too cramped, they came up with the idea of introducing intelligent design to the household. Their “Mirror” design concept enables occupants to move around the storage units and other furniture with a tap on the smartphone, which allows the usable space to be expanded or shrunk.

Derek said this concept of interior design was called “Layering”, meaning a multi-functional space. “For example, the living-dining room features storage cabinet and furniture that can be moved around by remote control using a smartphone. When the family are dining, the dining table and chairs will automatically unfold to allow them sufficient space to enjoy family fun. When entertainment is needed, the table and chairs can be folded up and put away. The living-dining room will then become an audio-visual hall with the aid of a large-screen TV mounted on the wall.”   

Fellow team member Eric PANG, also an HKDI student of the Higher Diploma in Interior Design, said large LED panels mounted to the wall around the living-dining room and the ceiling could show different scenes like a green hillside, the seaside, and the sunset. “Buildings in Hong Kong are jam-packed and not everyone can enjoy pleasing views. We hope the LED panels and audio-visual system will be able to play music and change colours according to the likes of their occupants, so that a comfortable ambience will be created,” explained Eric.  

The winning entry also makes good use of the concept of movable space in the master bedroom. Derek said their design incorporated a “smart walk-in closet”. To free up more space in the room, the two closets will generally be kept joined together, but when the occupants have a need, they can separate them to form a passageway to the lavatory, again with a click of the smartphone. This will render it like a temporary walk-in closet, joining together the master bedroom and the bathroom.

Design ideas inspired by curriculum

Derek said the HKDI programme they were studying was practical, and allowed them to apply the knowledge and skills they had learnt in the competition. He also pointed to the smart campus design of HKDI as an inspiration, noting its temperature-sensitive glass façade that can change colour to regulate the temperature indoors. Moreover, exhibitions and talks on interior design are held from time to time to stimulate the students’ creativity. The design concept behind “Mirror”, Derek says, drew inspiration from an earlier talk on transformative households given by a well-known interior designer.    

The HKT Smart Living Awards are the first in Hong Kong to combine the concepts of Interior Design and Smart Living, and recognise outstanding achievement in terms of incorporating smart technologies into residential design projects. The awards are also aimed at nurturing the creativity and passion of the younger generation of interior designers to push the boundaries of interior design and smart home technologies. Entries are judged on the criteria of creativity, visual and spatial design, and the incorporation of innovative technologies and intelligent elements into home design, as well as functionality. A new category for students was launched this year. The Gold prize winner receives a scholarship of HK$5,000 and the winner of the Most Popular Smart Living Design Award one worth HK$3,000 

More entries from the Professional and Student categories of the HKT Smart Living Awards 2018 can be browsed at the following hyperlink: 

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