Apartment style matters to tenants

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 October, 2010, 12:00am

As more serviced apartments become available, consumers are arguably spoiled for choice.

To maintain their competitive edge, developers are hiring design firms to bring a modern elegance to the interiors.

Chenmiji is a multidisciplinary art and design company providing interior design services for serviced apartments.

It stumbled upon the niche market when a big developer approached it to do brand building for its new serviced apartments, from interiors to logos and website design. The company is prepared to go the extra mile for its clients. 'When we wrap up a project, we do finishing touches such as flower arrangement and an oil painting,' says Mike Chan Wai-ming, owner of Chenmiji.

'There are even selected books on the shelves. If the client likes it, they can keep it that way. If they don't, they can remove the flowers, the books and the painting, and replace them with other objects. The result is an apartment that reflects their own taste.' It seems developers are laughing all the way to the bank thanks to design companies' chic d?cor. Chan says: 'We did the interiors of a serviced apartment which is in a 50-year-old five-storey building in Admiralty. It is a long-term investment for the client, who is looking for big revenue from the rental income. The rent used to be HK$1,000 per month, but after renovation, it skyrocketed to HK$37,000.

'The target tenants are expatriates who are new in town, armed with nothing but a suitcase and want a cosy home.'

Developers are increasingly turning to interior design specialists because residents are style-conscious. 'There are more and more people out there who find marble lift lobbies and crystal chandeliers monotonous,' Chan says. 'They want a space with character.'

When it comes to serviced apartments, function triumphs over style, Chan says. 'Some serviced apartments look good at first sight, but once the tenants have moved in, they may find that there isn't enough storage space and that the kitchen isn't user-friendly.

'They will move out after the first lease term and may never come back again. So, first we need to create a functional space for the tenants by putting ourselves in their place.

'After we have completed the layout, we will decide on which style, materials and colour scheme to use.'