Space-defining sculptural interventions brighten up this small apartment

MNB Design Studio
© MNB Design Studio

Real estate comes increasingly at a premium, especially in major urban centres like London, New York, and Vancouver. The small island metropolis of Hong Kong is also at the top of the list, having one of the least affordable housing markets in the world. All that translates to the necessity of small apartments in this densely built and bustling city, and the need for creative design strategies to maximize tiny living spaces.

Hong Kong firm MNB Design Studio redid this small 757-square-foot apartment for a young artist couple, using a simple material palette of wood and exposed concrete, with lots of hidden storage, to create a space that feels light and open. The designers say on Dezeen:

In our conversations [with the clients], there were some interesting words that inspired us in our design concept and elements: unfinished, nature and consistent. We reshaped the structure in an unfinished style, which presents the feeling of simple and clean, making it look more natural.

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

The main wall of the living room is uncomplicated but subtle, incorporating horizontal elements as shelving, and vertical elements that act as door handles and as visual regulating lines to partition up the space.

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

But in small spaces with an open plan, there's the issue of having these overlapping zones of living room, dining room or whatnot encroaching on the other. To tackle this issue, the designers created a minimalist background against which to insert and contrast some sculptural interventions against. One such structure is this gable-roofed structure -- an " infinite nesting house" -- placed over the dining area to emphasize its significance.

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

In the master bedroom, the seamless wood surfaces lend a clean feel, while hiding storage cabinets in the walls and under the bed. A painted, faux-concrete ceiling hides a structural beam underneath, while making it feel more intimate.

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

The guest bedroom takes the idea of sculptural interventions further, installing a three-dimensional grid of wooden members that allow for side and overhead storage or hanging of personal belongings.

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

The study has been decorated very simply with a wooden desk. The bathroom has more of the contrasted pairing between concrete and wood.

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

MNB Design Studio© MNB Design Studio

At over 700 square feet, this not the smallest apartment by any means in a place like Hong Kong or even in a large North American city, but there are some interesting ideas here about keeping things very simple, and using sculptural elements to help define zones within one large, open space -- something that might help when thinking about other small space designs. To see more, visit MNB Design Studio.

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