Project Name: Meditation Duplex
Interior Design: Sim-Plex Design Studio
Founder & Creative Director: Patrick Lam
Location: Kowloon City, Hong Kong
Size: 400 sq.ft / 37m2
Photos: Courtesy of Patrick Lam
Transformable Staircase Interchanging Living & Meditation Scenarios
Urban work and life are hectic and busy, so there is always a desire to seek tranquility on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels in living spaces. “Meditation” refers to contemplation or Zen spirit, often combined with yoga or stretching exercises to achieve the healing of cleansing distractions. In the compact space especially in Hong Kong, is it possible to conveniently integrate the scenario of meditation into the residential spaces while optimising living space and circulation?
In recent times, micro-units have become increasingly popular, often featuring open kitchens and high ceilings, but the living room or bedrooms area tends to be narrow. Can we make better use of the originally high ceilings to create more spacious living and resting areas while ensuring privacy?
The clients in this project are a young couple, with the female owner being a yoga enthusiast and the male owner being busy with work. Sim-Plex, with the concept of meditation duplex, utilises a transformable electric staircase and a detachable and expandable platform to lift up the more private resting area on the upper level, making use of the advantages of the high ceilings. It flexibly creates different scenarios: the “living scenario” is when the staircase is open, allowing a direct vertical circulation between the upper resting area and the lower living area; the “meditation scenario” is when the staircase is closed, providing a larger space on the lower level for meditation yoga or entertaining friends, while the upper level becomes an absolutely private area.
The busy work life can be troubling, and remote control management with smart technology not only reduces the burden of managing the home but also promotes environmental friendliness and energy conservation. Additionally, the use of old wood planting, environmentally friendly materials, and natural ventilation creates a green touch in the home. The construction of the platform is also detachable and expandable, so if there is a need to move in the future, it can be easily restored without waste. After disassembling the platform, it can be moved to other locations for recycling, improving sustainability while enhancing life.
In the Meditation Duplex, with high-capacity storage and diverse functionalities, the opening and closing of transformable electric staircase, detachable and expandable platform create a sustainable and spiritually soulful healing duplex space that integrates and accommodates various elements such as interchanging scenarios, floating space, smart living, green planting, environmentally friendly materials, natural ventilation, and platform reusability.
A Detachable & Expandable Platform Creating A Floating Resting Area With Privacy
The original unit had two bedrooms and an open kitchen, but the living room area was small, the long and narrow layout did not effectively utilise the advantages of the high ceiling, which was over three meters high. Through communication with the clients, it was understood that they had no plans to have children in the future, so the need for bedrooms became a question in terms of space layout. The female homeowner enjoyed practicing yoga in her free time, but the original floor plan did not provide enough space, and finding place outside was time-consuming and laborious. The male homeowner, despite being busy with work, also enjoyed entertaining friends and having drinks. Overall, they desired a flexible layout that could temporarily offered spacious areas while ensuring privacy in the resting zone.
To address these needs, Sim-Plex abandoned the original two-bedroom layout and instead utilised a detachable and expandable steel frame platform to lift up the more private resting area at the rear of the upper level. With the addition of a transformable electric staircase, different “living” and “meditation” scenarios could be created by opening or closing the staircase. This design not only ensured privacy but also allowed the staircase to be closed, providing a larger space on the lower level for meditation yoga or entertaining friends. The front end of the platform on the upper level was designed with a long working desk, where one could work or watch the television on the lower level before going to bed. The rear end of the lower level featured a storage wardrobe, while the front end contained a dining table and a sofa, which could be moved forward to create a more spacious area when guests arrived.
Since the platform is flexible, detachable, and expandable, there are circular holes for steel screws during assembly, which are then so covered with walnut wood and white wood texture at the front end of the platform. This creates a coordinated and warm atmosphere, giving a rustic and cozy feeling.
Serene Atmosphere With High Capacity Storage & Diverse Functionalities
In an open layout, inadequate storage space can easily lead to a cluttered appearance. Therefore, in this project, careful consideration was given to storage capacity: the ceiling above the entrance had numerous ducts in the existing site, which were covered with white wood and cherry wood ceilings for storage purposes. There were also built-in electrical appliances near the bathroom, which were enclosed within a full height curve corner storage that extended outside the bathroom. Adjacent to the entrance, there was a shoe cabinet and a void space for placing items such as keys and wallets. To increase storage space, a small storage room was added between the shoe cabinet and the bathroom, which could accommodate larger items. The storage room had also hanging open shelves, and the bathroom sliding door was decorated with cherry wood grain texture. The overall appearance of the large curve corner storage unit presented a minimalist and cohesive look with white wood grain texture, but it concealed high capacity storage and diverse functionalities, including shoe cabinets, storage, storage rooms, and bathrooms.
The living room was connected to the open kitchen, and the appearance was linked with cherry wood grain texture for the suspended low cabinet, complemented by walnut wood for the top edge. The TV cabinet had space for a long speaker, and there were display void on both sides of the suspended cabinet. The central void space in the open kitchen was equipped with an induction cooker and an oven, with white quartz stone countertops and backsplashes. The kitchen cabinets had an exhaust hood, and the ventilation ducts ran upwards through the ceiling cabinets and extended to the outside. They were also covered with decorative wooden shells. In addition to a washing machine, the kitchen low cabinet also concealed a hidden mechanism, while opening the cabinet door revealed an extendable table that was two and a half feet long, used for food preparation, such as making cakes.
Integration Of Sustainable Smart Home and Green Planting
Smart homes have become popular in recent years but are often associated with a technological and cyber aesthetic that lacks the need for simplicity and warmth when returning home tired. What makes this project unique is that, in addition to incorporating smart technology for remote home management, energy efficiency, and control, it also appropriately leaves void space in the spatial layout to integrate green planting. By blending technological elements with greenery and using cozy materials, it presents a harmonious and tranquil appearance.
The smart elements in the Meditation Duplex go beyond basic remote control of lights, air conditioning, and curtains. It also uniquely integrates sensory control, including outdoor weather monitoring, temperature regulation, light intensity control, energy management, security surveillance, motion detection, and comprehensive voice control. All smart features can be controlled remotely through a tablet or mobile phone, significantly reducing the burden of maintaining the home.
Appropriate blank spaces are left in different locations to create a sense of openness and accommodate plantings: behind the high wall of the entrance, there is space for a refrigerator with a potted plant placed on top, and independent spotlights on the ceiling. The walnut-edged floating cabinet in the living room has ample empty space, and a long cherry wood hanging board on the ceiling conceals the original fire protection ducts while allowing for plant placement. It is also equipped with track lights for illumination. The walnut-edged front end of the detachable platform on the upper level also has blank space. On top of the wardrobe at the rear end of the lower level of the platform, potted plants can also be placed.
All the woodwork in the entire house is made of E0 grade fine grained plywood with different finishes, and environmentally friendly paint with the lowest possible formaldehyde content is selected. In terms of the floor plan, the treatment of the open layout minimises obstructions to the windows throughout the house. In addition, a ceiling fan is installed in the living room to facilitate air circulation. The construction of the platform is also detachable and expandable, allowing for easy relocation in the future without wastage. After disassembling the platform, it can be moved to another location for reuse.
Elements such as smart sensory control, green planting, environmentally friendly materials, natural ventilation, and platform reusability are all essential aspects of sustainable design. Sim-Plex hopes to take responsibility for environmental protection and reducing carbon emissions.
“Meditation” refers to contemplation or Zen spirit. With its serene and warm, refined and tranquil spatial details, the project “Meditation Duplex”, with the use of transformable electric staircase, detachable and expandable platform to create a sustainable and spiritually soulful healing duplex space that integrates and accommodates various elements such as interchanging scenarios, floating space, high capacity storage, diverse functionalities, smart living, green planting, environmentally friendly materials, natural ventilation, and platform reusability.