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Homes Within a Home: Bean Buro’s Ingenious Design for a Family Apartment

Architecture and interior design practice Bean Buro makes space for three generations in a 2,500-square-foot flat in Hong Kong’s Jardine’s Lookout.

Homes Within a Home: Bean Buro’s Ingenious Design for a Family Apartment


December 11th, 2017

How do you design a home that suits the needs of three very different age groups? And how do you meet these needs while creating private space and social space within 2,500 square feet? These are questions Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui and Lorène Faure had to answer when their design practice, Bean Buro, was approached to create a home in Jardine’s Lookout for a family that encompassed three generations, all of whom intended to live under the same roof.

They started the process with a workshop-style presentation that involved the first and second generations. “We [knew we could] fulfill their individual requirements easily in their private quarters, however, when it came to agreeing on the communal spaces, it was important to carry out an engagement process, which involved us illustrating different options, discussing pros and cons, and fusing everybody’s input into one design,” says Faure.

This helped Faure and Kinugasa-Tsui come up with the idea for a space that centres around a “social island bar,” as the duo describes it. This long, marble bar acts as a go-between for the kitchen and the living area.

A feature wall runs parallel to this long bar table. Painted a soft, sage green, it is a reflection, says Kinugasa-Tsui, of the greenery that surrounds the apartment. It’s “a way to create a dialogue with the outside … It also functions as a high-density storage wall, with concealed antiques, and other day-to-day utilities.”

The private areas are similarly practical, with plenty of clever storage solutions. In the guest room, for example, there is a raised platform, which has storage built into it. This space is also future proof; at the time, the younger couple did not have children, but they were hoping to. With this in mind, Bean Buro designed the platform so that it “could fit a crib, a toddler bed, and eventually, a double mattress for a young adult,” says Kinugasa-Tsui.

He, Faure and their team designed this room and the other three bedrooms as “small studio apartments within the big apartment,” explains Faure. In the second generation’s bedroom – the master – there is a staircase leading up to a ‘secret’ attic. Once home to one of the building’s water tanks, which was no longer in use, the attic is now “a small room with wardrobes, a study, and a TV for relaxation,” says Faure. “We believe this adds a further layer of privacy to the project.”

Through thoughtful, personalised areas like this one, Bean Buro has successfully made space for three generations. “We’re very pleased to see the users co-live happily under the same roof,” says Faure. “It’s not easy for different generations to live together, and we’re proud of the way good design can make that happen.”

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