10 Small Apartments by a Hong Kong Design Studio That Are Less Than 1,000 Square Feet

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By Michele Koh Morollo
A pragmatic Hong Kong-based design studio finds solutions to the challenges that come with small space living.

Hong Kong is notorious for its micro-apartments, with flats as small as 128 square feet, which are currently being built in a development in Tuen Mun in the New Territories.

Chau Wing Chung and Calvin Cheng, who founded their practice JAAK in 2013, have worked on more than a dozen residential projects, many of which are apartments under 1,000 square feet. 

"We renounce the blind following of style," says Chung. He continues, "21st-century living should be dynamic, diversified, and most importantly, comfortable." 

When working on small spaces, the duo usually demolish walls to merge two rooms into a single larger space, while still retaining the functions of both rooms. "We increase the visual accessibility and remove unnecessary privacy," says Chung. 

Their design approach is to redefine luxury by tailoring spaces to individual needs. With a relentless attention to detail and careful compositions of shapes, colors, and materials, they've succeeded in making compact spaces bright, roomy, and comfortable.

Here are some of the small Hong Kong apartments JAAK has designed so far, all named after their respective owners.  

Candy: 500 Square Feet

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Budget was something that JAAK had to keep in mind when working on their first residential project in 2013. They incorporated full-height storage features close to the entrance and combined the dining and living areas.   

Budget was something that JAAK had to keep in mind when working on their first residential project in 2013. They incorporated full-height storage features close to the entrance and combined the dining and living areas.   

Tiles with colored grouting and a metallic blue cabinet with geometric graphics are some of the unique features of this home. A bedroom is hidden behind a television cabinet that merges with the open kitchen.

Tiles with colored grouting and a metallic blue cabinet with geometric graphics are some of the unique features of this home. A bedroom is hidden behind a television cabinet that merges with the open kitchen.

Inspired by modern Japanese minimalism, the walls of this two-bedroom apartment were demolished, transforming the space into a studio with an "Engawa"—a space  between the indoor and outdoor areas that's often found in traditional Japanese architecture and helps maximize light penetration into the interiors. Kevin’s home also has a working desk that's fitted with a retractable curtain for privacy.

Inspired by modern Japanese minimalism, the walls of this two-bedroom apartment were demolished, transforming the space into a studio with an "Engawa"—a space between the indoor and outdoor areas that's often found in traditional Japanese architecture and helps maximize light penetration into the interiors. Kevin’s home also has a working desk that's fitted with a retractable curtain for privacy.

1930s modernism reigns in this studio flat, where a cabinet is used to separate the open-plan living, sleeping, and storage zones. Carefully selected loose furnishings, such as a denim-upholstered sofa by Stephen Kenn and a midcentury chest by Charlotte Perriand, expand the scale of the interior, making it feel roomier than its actual size.

1930s modernism reigns in this studio flat, where a cabinet is used to separate the open-plan living, sleeping, and storage zones. Carefully selected loose furnishings, such as a denim-upholstered sofa by Stephen Kenn and a midcentury chest by Charlotte Perriand, expand the scale of the interior, making it feel roomier than its actual size.

A colorful printed rug and matching cushion, a pink armchair, and plenty of bold geometric shapes give this apartment a slick, urban vibe.

A colorful printed rug and matching cushion, a pink armchair, and plenty of bold geometric shapes give this apartment a slick, urban vibe.

A fuss-free monochromatic color palette works beautifully with unvarnished wooden floors, blown-glass pendants, and sleek stainless-steel kitchen counters. A slim wooden island counter with just enough space for an elongated bench serves as a food preparation area and doubles up as a tiny dining table.  

A fuss-free monochromatic color palette works beautifully with unvarnished wooden floors, blown-glass pendants, and sleek stainless-steel kitchen counters. A slim wooden island counter with just enough space for an elongated bench serves as a food preparation area and doubles up as a tiny dining table.  

To open up the space visually, JAAK incorporated storage into a single wall that’s positioned next to an open kitchen. This frees up the other three walls and makes the apartment look much bigger. 

To open up the space visually, JAAK incorporated storage into a single wall that’s positioned next to an open kitchen. This frees up the other three walls and makes the apartment look much bigger. 

Mixing midcentury modern with pops of color, Eliza’s apartment has a full-height storage system that's built into one of the living room walls.

Mixing midcentury modern with pops of color, Eliza’s apartment has a full-height storage system that's built into one of the living room walls.

Three pivot-hinged doors divide the dining room from the study area. When the door is opened, the dining room expands to include the study. 

Three pivot-hinged doors divide the dining room from the study area. When the door is opened, the dining room expands to include the study. 

Cindy’s home includes a shelf inspired by fretwork, which is often found in traditional Chinese wooden and bamboo furniture.  JAAK combined the study area with the dining room using a single large table that can be transitioned from a dining table to a desk.   

Cindy’s home includes a shelf inspired by fretwork, which is often found in traditional Chinese wooden and bamboo furniture. JAAK combined the study area with the dining room using a single large table that can be transitioned from a dining table to a desk.