The modern way

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2006, 12:00am

Contemporary design and high-end retail concepts combine to bring perfect order to one couple's Mid-Levels residence.

Rhythm, colour and luxury collide beautifully in the Mid-Levels home of Eddie and Sophie Chow. Although based in Singapore, the Chows are often in Hong Kong and so purchased this 2,800-square-foot apartment a year ago, calling on architect and interior designer Darryl Goveas to reconfigure the space for them.

Goveas, director of Pure Creative International (tel: 2522 9006), is known for his ability to mix modernism and luxury in innovative ways. The man behind a wide range of high-end retail projects, including flagship stores for Dior, Dior Homme and Fendi across Asia, he also designed hip Hong Kong bar-restaurants Alibi and Veda.

The Chows are fans of fashion, film and music, so Goveas worked to create a home that drew on these interests yet was warm, cosy and welcoming. He combined decorative elements, blending style and comfort with eye-catching ideas. 'I used a mixture of cold and warm materials; white lacquer, stainless steel, oak and zebrano wood combined with bold stripes,' he says. 'I like the contrast of old and new elements, mixing and matching everything.'

To make everything work together, Goveas structured the space using vertical proportions (floor to ceiling stripes, tall slim cabinetry, wood panels and stainless-steel trim) to enable the elements to 'float' and provide a light, airy feel.

After completely gutting the apartment, reconfiguring the space and closing in the balcony to provide an extra open-plan reading room, he created a large living and dining area, which has a corridor leading off into a sumptuous dressing room, master bedroom, guest bedroom and study.

A dividing wall between the front door and living room creates an entrance zone. 'I like this concept,' says Eddie Chow. 'I don't like to come into a flat and look right into a living room. I like to have some space where I - or my guests - can settle and then move into the main area.' To channel visitors to the right, Goveas installed a row of floor-to-ceiling oak 'fins' on the left. This also allows light from the main living-room window to filter into the entry space.

Striped fabric panels in red, charcoal and pale grey cover the living-room walls. 'I like to have three colours in each room to give contrast to the space,' explains Goveas. He built walls of white lacquer cabinets and clad doorframes in reflective stainless-steel panels (see Tried & Tested) to further add lightness and energy to the space. 'There is not a lot of light so we did not want to use too many dark materials. The white lacquer is a good contrast to the bold wall fabrics and the zebrano and oak woods.'

The apartment has a unique rhythm, offering different perspectives that draw the eye inwards and allow the rooms to flow into one another. Says Goveas, 'Each way you look there is something striking. There is always something to take your eye to the next level.'

The furniture throughout is a blend of modern (transparent Louis Ghost chair by Philippe Starck, Arco lamp, Light Shade Shade by Jurgen Bey) mixed with custom-designed pieces such as an oak coffee table, a low-level television cabinet, a dining table and rows of subtle storage units. 'Some of the concepts are taken from my work in retail,' admits Goveas, pointing out the seamlessly finished cabinets, the spacious, carpeted dressing room and the full-length three-dimensional fitting mirror.

'We wanted lots of storage and were happy to give up some of the space to do that,' says Chow. 'We wanted things to be out of sight. This way, most of the so-called junk is hidden away.'

The quality of finishing is high, producing a look more akin to a hotel suite than a residential space. 'Darryl asked me if I would mind some bold ideas,' says Chow. 'I said, 'No', and basically left it in his hands. I like the use of stainless steel because it gives a modern feeling to the place. It's like living with mirrors everywhere.'

1 Colour and pattern come together to produce a rich, dramatic decorative scheme in the living room. A large, comfortable Asmir sofa ($55,000 from Desideri, 6/F, Capitol Plaza, 2 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2950 4026; is accessorised with a pair of woven cashmere throws ($3,000 each from Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 3388; On the floor beneath is a custom-designed chequerboard carpet ($10,600 from Yong Lun Carpets, 11E Kwai Fong Building, 196 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Chung, tel: 2480 3880). A chess set ($2,600 from Lane Crawford) sits on a matt-finish, oak-veneer coffee table, which was custom designed by Pure Creative International (tel: 2522 9006). The polished aluminium Arco floor lamp cost $12,900 from Desideri.

2 To create an entrance area, Goveas installed a wall between the main door and the living room. A series of oak 'fins' at one end divides the space yet lets in light from the front window. Guests enter the living room to the right. A stainless-steel panel on the spine of the dividing wall allows it to 'float'. The living-room walls are covered with fabric panels from Kinsan ($422 a square metre; 59 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2526 2309; The transparent Louis Ghost chair in the corner is by Philippe Starck ($2,380 from Flos, shop A, Winway Building, 50 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2801 7608;

3 A Light Shade Shade by Jurgen Bey for Mooi ($12,500 from Desideri) hangs above dining table and chairs custom designed by Pure Creative International. Behind, a set of shelves with stainless-steel trim provides display space for a collection of red objects, including a range of glass vases from Lane Crawford.

4 The sliding zebrano kitchen door is inset with a transparent orange Perspex panel that is both practical and decorative. The zebrano provides a striking contrast with the white lacquer cupboards. The alcove to the right provides a stand for a sculpture by Monica Shi (tel: 9389 8910). The red-leather, dice-shaped multigame box to the left cost $3,700 from Lane Crawford.

5 The streamlined kitchen is a blend of stainless steel and white laminate cabinetry with high-end Miele appliances. In the foreground is a custom-made breakfast bar with a deep Corian countertop. The black teapot and matching cups and the tall, slim white glass vase are from Lane Crawford.

6 The glamorous dressing room has been modelled to the specifications of a high-end retail store and includes a large, three-dimensional mirror and pale-rose-coloured carpeted floor. Copious storage space has been built in on either side with French-oak-fronted cabinets on the left and lacquer-fronted cabinets on the right. The far wall has been covered in rich Raspberry wallpaper ($550 from Altfield, suite 605, 9 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2524 4867). The high-heeled shoes are from On Pedder (Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, tel: 2118 3388).

7 The luxurious master bedroom was designed with hotel living in mind. Again, lots of storage space has been built in, behind a series of slim vertical white lacquer panels. The flooring is solid oak. On the bed is a pale grey Ambra cashmere blanket, which cost $14,500 from Lane Crawford; at the vanity table is a custom-made, deep-purple, velvet lounge chair ($900 from Kinsan Collection). The en suite bathroom features French oak cabinetry and a matt flamed-granite floor.

8 The red-toned study is warm and welcoming. On the wall is more Raspberry wallpaper and overhead is a Margarita Hanging Lamp ($7,800 from IF Collection, unit 404, 4/F, Malaysia Building, 50 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2722 7772). The custom-designed red, black and beige checked carpet cost $2,500 from Yong Lun Carpets and standing on it is a Herman Miller Aeron chair ($6,800 from Frontier, 11/F, Luk Kwok Centre, 72 Gloucester Road, tel: 2865 0377). The long, deep desk was custom designed by Pure Creative International. On top of it is a set of three tubular marble glass vases ($560, $1,180 and $1,380 from Lane Crawford).

9 The bathroom also exhibits vertical proportions. Darryl Goveas used a flamed-granite countertop and installed mirror-fronted storage units above. The pair of rectangular Duravit Vero wash basins cost $2,940 each from Depot (371 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 3106 6008).

tried & tested

true reflections

To add extra movement and interest to the space, Darryl Goveas clad door frames and wall panels

in stainless steel. This hides thick, heavy concrete columns and provides a light and airy reflective atmosphere. The eye is consequentially drawn into different spaces, making the space seem bigger than it is. Here, a panel of stainless steel in the corner of the reading room reflects a zebrano wood wall and white lacquer shelving units. To the left is a series of tall, slim white lacquer storage cupboards with zebrano interiors.

styling Esther van Wijck