Project Name: U – Izakaya House
Interior Design: Sim-Plex Design Studio
Location: Grand Waterfront, To Kwa Wan, Hong Kong
Size: 367 sq.ft
Courtesy of Sim-Plex Design Studio
Nourishing life With The Vibe Of Izakaya
In Japan, if you want to have a drink and meal, the best atmosphere is generally in an “izakaya”. Among most of them, the U-shaped izakaya can most highlight its characteristics: the chef or the boss is at the core of the layout, and the diners sit in the U-shaped bar table surrounding the center. Chef shows the freshness of the food and cooking skills in the centre, while diners dine and drink, ordering and getting the food with only one hand away, this is the closest communication between diners and diners, and between chef and diners. In recent years, there have also been Japanese dramas that use this type of U-shaped izakaya as the theme.
The owner of the apartment is a young couple. They yearn for the Japanese izakaya culture. Especially under the pademic, they cannot travel abroad, and they hope to experience the izakaya vibe at home. At the same time, due to the limited space of tiny nano flats in Hong Kong, but usually with large storage requirements, and with different living scenarios are required, such as dining, greeting friends, yoga, etc. How to create an open, with vibe of izakaya living space that is compatible with different living scenarios and functionality at the same time is a difficult question.
Sim-Plex designs with home as the core: “U · Izakaya House” not only reflects the izakaya vibe in the layout, but also in the heart, home has deeply rooted to become the warmest and most comfortable U-shaped izakaya ‘house’.
U-shaped Functionality Builds Spatial Connection
Sim-Plex takes the atmosphere of a U-shaped izakaya as the design core, and transforms and adjusts it, combining two U-shaped layouts: one is in the living and dining room, and the other is a semi- open kitchen. The storage functions are arranged in a U shape on the periphery, and the living scenarios are placed in the middle core. The living and dining room integrates shoe cabinets, entrance seats, hanging TVs, lighting, seats, magazine racks, foldable dining tables, bathroom hidden door, etc. with a U-shaped storage wall: at the foyer, the entrance has a slanted wooden frame shape with ceiling lights, the side is a full height shoe cabinet, with a hollow space for putting out the keys, and a seat next to you to sit down when changing shoes; the side wall is a combination of TV cabinets, and the TV is a hanging type, which is convenient to face to the dining table or adjust to turn to the sofa; the other side wall is the kitchen and toilet position. The bathroom door is hidden by means of a cabinet wall, and with a magazine rack is placed for display. In front of the semi-open kitchen, a folding dining table is integrated and it doesn’t take up space when not dining. Sim-Plex intensionally placed the U-shaped storage on the foyer side in the spatial planning, so that when entering, the space is open and unlike nano-units with only just more than 300 square feet.
Semi-open Kitchen Layout Balances Openness And Privacy
Hong Kong Nano Buildings generally have a very small usable area after deducting the counted public space or terrace. Some new buildings will use a fully open kitchen and place it in the living and dining room to increase the sense of space. However, it is unavoidable that the cooking fumes are too large, which will lead to hygiene problems.
The existing site got an independent kitchen. Sim-Plex proposes to remove the brick wall and use a semi-open kitchen to connect the external space, but it is slightly separated by refrigerators and kitchen cabinets to balance openness and privacy. Induction cooker is used instead of cooking stove so as to reduce oil fumes, and a gold-plated stainless steel plate is added to the back wall, which is convenient for cleaning and maintenance. When greeting guests, the owner will cook in the kitchen, just like a performer in the center of a U-shaped izakaya, and open the hidden folding dining table to greet the guests. The U-shaped cooking table is connected to the dining table, and the guests and the owner are dining together closely. The kitchen is surrounded with dark blue horizontal tiles, echoing the background color of the fishing hanging cloth at the door of traditional Japanese izakaya. Dark grey wood grain tiles are used for the floor.
Transformation Shapes Living Scenerios
The U-shaped layout of the project increases the flexibility of the space and can create different living scenarios: when the family is enjoying themselves, the hanging TV will be shifted to the sofa; when dining, the hanging TV will remain in its original position, and the foldable dining table will be used for dining while watching TV, you can also add a four-person dining table to greet more friends; when practicing yoga, the foldable dining table can be folded to free up the most open space for yoga. The U-shaped storage wall in the living room is made of wood grain ecological melamine board and white wood grain back pane to form a sharp contrast, and the floor is made of wood grain floor tiles.
The bathroom was located in front of the living room. After the bathroom door was then hidden by a wooden wall, it was difficult to detect when it was closed at ordinary times, and it did not affect the appearance of the living room. Wooded tiles with the dark tone are used in bathroom to make the living room less affected after opening the door; the mirror cabinet is decorated with a gold-plated stainless steel frame, which also echoes the color of the back pane of the kitchen, with a wood grain floor cabinet and dark gray quartz stone countertop .
The master bedroom is filled with a wooden storage platform with an ecological melamine board as finish, which can accommodate a 5-foot-wide double bed, extending to the window sill. The back of the bed is lighted, and has a slanted cabinet for convenient storage. The wardrobe sits on the platform with decorative magazine racks on the side.
The guest room remains vacant, and a workbench can be purchased for office use, especially in the context of the epidemic that has resulted in the integration of home and office.
It also retains the flexibility to be used as a children’s room in the future.
Japan’s izakaya culture transmitted stress relief and a pleasant atmosphere, which is a life mediator for the fast-paced Hong Kong citizens. “U · Izakaya House” uses a U-shaped izakaya layout to create a spacious living space with vibe of Japanese izakaya, but at the same time is compatible with different living scenarios, transforming home as the warmest U shaped Izakaya “House”