WHAT: FUTURISTIC MULTIPURPOSE HOME OFFICE
WHO: Michael Liu
Architect and Interior Designer
After studying design at University of Alberta, Canada, Liu started his own firm Millimeter Interior Designin 2007. Focusing on residential and commercial projects, Liu's firm has won numerous design awards such as Spark, IIDA, HKDA. He is known for his modern and minimalistic design philosophy.
Michael Liu's modern approach to interior design is evident in his projects. One of his most talked-about residential projects incorporates a concealable, glass-walled garage showcasing the owner's Ferrari in the main living room and a hydraulic stainless steel dining table on an elevating platform that can be hidden when not in use.
Maximising the use of space is something which fascinates Liu. His idea for the home office design stems from this concept.
"Now that the internet is so advanced, we don't necessarily have to go to the office to work," Liu says. "Yet, I have noticed that people lose their focus when they are at home. What we need is an entire transformation [of the home]."
Liu's concept is to build a multipurpose room that maximises the use of space and secondly, transforms completely for different purposes - be it a study, a home studio or a party venue .
"For productivity and efficiency's sake, I want the owner to feel that they are in a different place when they switch from work mode to relaxing mode," Liu explains. "Unlike traditional designs, in which a particular space is designed for a specific functional purpose, I want to make the space three- dimensional."
Liu envisions a space constructed with multiple pillars that can be moved through a computer-controlled hydraulic system. Different protrusion units can be assembled together, somewhat similar to a Rubik's cube. For example, certain units feature built-in bookshelves and when you enter a command on your personal portable device to bring up a certain combination of pillars, the space will become a library. Another combination will transform the space into a bedroom or an entertainment room.
"By using a computerised hydraulic system, you can bring out or conceal certain utilities and turn an area into a different space," Liu says. "If you want the room to turn into a kitchen, for example, just switch on the cooking mode and a stove, a counter and an exhaust fan will become available. When idle, these functions can be turned off and the entire kitchen will become hidden."
Liu envisions achieving different levels of protrusion by a computer-controlled hydraulic scissor jack. The protrusion units, as planned for different spaces, will come out from the walls, ceiling and floor. Each protrusion unit is hollow for storage purpose and is triangular in shape - think a rhombus-shaped chair, a rectangular table, a triangular staircase or a large triangular table.
Some of the units will be designed purposely for extended use.
"For example, the desk in the study will have a concave and a convex surface for stronger support," Liu explains. Apart from the hardware playing a crucial role in the transformable space, lighting is also important, Liu says.
"Smart lighting systems, such as Neutron LEDs, can be mixed and matched with different lighting systems on the owner's smart device," he says.
The technical challenge of the project, Liu reckons, is to ensure the endurance and stability of the protrusion units as they may be transformed on a daily basis.