The Domestic Transformer
The Problem of Space
As the global population continues to rise at an exponential rate, so does the value of space. The scale of this dilemma is most dramatically evident in hyper-urbanized environments such as the densely populated city of Hong Kong. Home to over 7 million people, space is the most valuable commodity in Hong Kong, where even oppressively cramped apartments tend to cost a fortune. Providing inhabitants of such constricted environments with a higher quality of domestic life appears to be an insurmountable challenge. That is, unless you are the visionary architect and interior designer Gary Chang.
At the age of 14, Gary Chang moved into a 3 bedroom, one kitchen, one bathroom, 330 sq. ft. apartment with his two parents, three sisters, and one tenant. The living space was so limited that Gary slept on a sofa bed in the small corridor that otherwise served as the family living room.
Today, after renovating the same 330 sq. ft. flat just four times, the apartment provides 24 configurable and stylish rooms. Gary named this model of logistically brilliant ingenuity The Domestic Transformer.
A Mansion Disguised as an Apartment
Condensed living space requires great efficiency and user-friendly design in order to provide luxurious comfort. The amazing space optimization and maximization of The Domestic Transformer is made possible by Gary Chang’s intricate system of mounted ceiling tracks, walls on wheels, and adaptive furniture.
When providing lodging for guests, Gary slides what appears to be an ordinary wall to reveal a closet and a bathtub, which is topped by a pull-down guest bed. Gary Chang’s shower is also known as “the phone booth” because it provides complete acoustic privacy for phone calls.
A Stunningly Dynamic and Eco-Friendly Design
The Domestic Transformer features a mirrored ceiling that aids in disguising the track system, as well as making the apartment feel more spacious. The reflective granite floor compliments the speculum ceiling, and the two luminous surfaces amplify the golden ambient light flowing from the large tinted windows.
“I don’t even need to turn on any lights most of the time.”
“It is very important that the bed disappears. Otherwise it occupies the most dominant area of the home.”
Gary’s holistic approach to interior design and atmosphere deftly manipulates the prime animator of space – light. In addition to being an eco-friendly method of conserving energy, (and utility expenses) Gary’s natural light enrichment includes a bonus psychological factor. The windows are tinted so that the natural light that they provide is always a warm, positive, golden glow.
A Solution to the Cramped Lifestyle of Tight Spaces
“That old routine of folding out the bed is similar in spirit to what I do today, but the reasons are different. Then it was just necessary. Now it’s all about transformation, flexibility, and maximizing space.”
The growing adversity of shrinking spaces will continue to be a pervasive problem into the future. Gary Chang hopes that the innovative design of The Domestic Transformer may be replicated to help improve the lives of the expanding population in Hong Kong and other densely populated areas.
“People feel trapped…. We have to find [better] ways to live together in very small spaces.”