What is considered to be home in this day and age? How do you keep your work clutter away, and create a sense of calmness and tranquillity when you need to relax? You don’t want to live in a stressful office space, and you can’t work productively from home — so what do you do?

The driving force was derived from such questioning, where the proposed design to not only blur the boundary between living and working but also find a new balance between functionality and beauty. The concept was to create a building of apartments that can fully support productive working by day, and can be easily transformed into a restful living space by night.

The design brief was to transform a Tong Lau (a term for mid-20th century buildings in Hong Kong) of over five floors and a roof terrace, into twelve units of flexible live & work apartments that are comfortable, elegant and fresh. Across the world, there has been a rise in work-from-home culture. This phenomenon is even more apparent in the Coronavirus crisis, where many people must work from home only to realise that their home is not adequately equipped for working.

To bring the best of both worlds into one innovative design solution, the design concept was to create a calm oasis in the busy urban fabric with the touch of white, simple and generous internal spaces in contrast with the buzzing and dense neighbourhood. It allows users to work productively by day, and easily transform the space into a comfy home by night, whilst ensuring a spacious, elegant and simple feel.

The designer explored the full architectural potential of the Tong Lau building, which inherently offered highly efficient internal floor area. Therefore, the apartments to feel spacious, open and generous – which is what conveys a sense of luxury to the users.

The main idea was to create a generous open space in each apartment where a multitude of activities can happen. Key design features inside the apartments include:

  • A fold-down bed, which can be easily tucked away during the day to maximise the floor area.
  • A movable and extendable table that transforms from a desk to a dining table and further to a large collaboration table that caters for group meetings.
  • A portable custom sofa on wheels that can be stored away inside a wardrobe, and otherwise used to support gatherings or as a comfortable sofa to relax.
  • Acoustic pin-up walls for creative thinking, as well as peg walls for the user to curate their work, hobbies and decorations.
  • In some units, concealed sliding doors that can partition the open space into smaller spaces for simultaneous activities.
  • The open space can be used for home exercise such as yoga.
  • Each apartment also features its own enclosed kitchen, work bar, and washroom.

The designer envisioned all common spaces of the building to be devoted to social activities and to promote a sense of community as a ‘live+work hub’. The ground floor lift lobby contains a large signage board for each resident to display their identity.

On each floor, the lift corridor is kept minimalistic and fresh. Each apartment’s door is a writable surface where users can leave messages for others. Residents can also access and borrow shared amenities of stacked loose stools for conducting group meetings inside their apartments.

The roof terrace is refurbished with outdoor decking with subtle lighting and gardening, where users can enjoy social gatherings in the day or night, overlooking other rooftops in the neighbourhood.

This project is a pioneer in transforming a dated existing building into the most functionally adept building in responding to the way we all live and work today.

Project Title:
Location: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Interior Designer: Bean Buro
Design Team: Lorène Faure, Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui, Kirk Kwok, Linda Sze-To
Main Contractor: Hing Cheong Engineering (HK) Limited
Client: Hysan Development Company Limited
Gross Floor Area (GFA): Approx. 1,550 square metres