The island metropolis of Hong Kong is well-known for its teeny-tiny apartments, some of them insanely small. As one of the most expensive places in the world for real estate, Hong Kong has an affordable housing crisis that's ongoing, so most people make do with smaller living spaces, and some will create seemingly bigger spaces by incorporating some multi-functionality.
In order to maximize light and views out, bay windows are quite common in high-rise apartments on the island. But they also often have a ledge sticking out, meaning that usable floor space is reduced. As Designboom shows us, local design studio Sim-plex's renovation of a 503-square-foot apartment focuses around the apartment's bay window, increasing floor space by making the ledge usable. "We [wanted] to bring the outer beautiful scenery into the apartment," say Sim-plex.
As the designers explain, there's an interesting reason as to why the bay window is so common in Hong Kong:
The bay window in meaning was an expression of a bay to admit light into the interior. In Hong Kong, local real estate moguls enlarged the bay window as much as possible to exempt gross floor area. This apartment is one of the product in that period. However, this unique phenomenon was declined since 2012 [due to] the update of the area exemption regulation. The supreme large bay window has become a monument in Hong Kong, is there anything our studio could do for it?
The redesign wraps the bay window ledge up in warm wood elements, which becomes a multipurpose ribbon of space for a TV set, a long bench, a book shelf, display glass cabinet and lighting.
This skinny ledge frames the big view out. It also becomes a stage for the rest of the hidden elements tucked behind the adjacent wall: an adjustable table for dining, a sliding bar table and two movable benches. These mobile pieces are capable of transforming the space completely from one use to another.
In the guest room/office and master bedroom, the same idea holds: the bay window is framed with wood, and becomes the "spine" of the apartment. The view out to the peaceful landscape is highlighted, bringing a sense of harmony to the interior space.
As with all small spaces, making things take on more than one function really helps to create a sense that the space is larger. It's also an interesting concept to see the iconic bay window transformed into a multifunctional spine that can be sat or napped upon, have things stored in it or that frames a view. To see more, visit Sim-plex.