Design key to attracting guests

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 November, 2008, 12:00am

Design has emerged as a key component for serviced apartment operators anxious to carve out a niche in this increasingly competitive market.

'The design aspect is a key component that can distinguish serviced apartment properties from each other especially as people are always looking for quality of life,' said Paul Kember, director and senior architect at K Plus K Associates.

The company specialises in architecture, master planning and interiors, and has been the brainchild behind many of the city's serviced apartment projects.

K Plus K has worked with graphic design house e5 on all three of home2home lifestyles management serviced apartment properties.

Part of the challenge, said Mr Kember, was in figuring out with the client what to include and what to omit because space was such a precious commodity.

Pilar Morais, executive director of Chi International, said: 'You have to be able to fit in a small space all the amenities. That is not always so easy in tight spaces while ensuring the flow of the apartment is easy and comfortable at the same time.'

Mr Kember said: 'We look at creating the contour of privacy in each project whereby one creates different levels of intimacy within a space. This is essentially what comfort is all about.'

Design concepts such as sliding walls, varying mirror shapes, translucent screens and large bay windows were some of the elements widely used to open up the interior of serviced apartments, Mr Kember said.

The impact of lighting is useful because its positioning and intensity can immediately alter a room's mood.

Operators have different visions for how they want their property to be best represented. For example, home2home's flagship Ovolo property is designed around a chic Manhattan get-up-and-go easiness consistent with its location at the top of Lan Kwai Fong, while the design of Abeo, its Aberdeen apartments, seeks to optimise the spectacular harbour view with contemporary decor complementing its relaxing location.

At the end of the day, the best-designed serviced apartments are ones that can blend the best of functionality, practicality and aesthetics.

'The challenge is to create a new living environment that is somehow meant as an interim between a hotel and a home,' Mr Kember said.

'Projects have to be absolutely ergonomic and practical on a very mundane and basic level, but the design has to be so much more than that,' he said.