Arne Jacobsen lives here. As do Poul Henningsen, Poul Kjaerholm and Georg Jensen. Enjoying the company of these great Danes are compatriots Lene and Morten Lok, their children Victoria and Oliver, and a couple of hamsters.
The setting is not Denmark, however, but a quiet village in Sai Kung, where the Loks have surrounded themselves with some of the greatest names in modern Scandinavian design.
In their 1,800 sq ft, three-storey, three-bedroom house, designed by LP Architects’ Jonathan Pang, the palette is white, grey and black, and the lines clean and pure.
“We wanted straight lines,” says Morten, who moved into the house two years ago with his family. They also wanted “minimalism, with a twist”, adds Lene, a designer whose porcelains and other works are dotted around the house.
That twist presents itself most dramatically in an angled double-height section of the living area – a feature, Pang says, that would ordinarily have been a hard-sell because “space is money”.
That void, however, was a master stroke, allowing a connection between the living area and the level above.
There the children, aged seven and 10, have rooms beside each other, plus a shared bathroom and a play area overlooking the lounge.
“Maybe in the future they’ll want a foosball table,” Lene says, pointing to where it might stand, by a handsome LC4 chaise longue, co-designed in the 1920s by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand.
“The second floor is our floor,” says Morten, pointing up a flight of steps, subtly illuminated with square recessed lights. Here, it is easy to understand why the Loks (who lived in Dongguan and Qingdao before moving to Hong Kong four years ago) feel as though they are living in “paradise”. Staggering views – of the verdant village, sea and mountains beyond – are visible on two sides of the bedroom.
A clever walk-through bathroom, kitted out with Arne Jacobsen’s sleek Vola hardware, links the bedroom to the bright office, where there are more clues pointing to the couple’s love of simple functionalism, and order. Binder files, all in black, neatly line white shelves, and task lighting, in the form of a black Poulsen AJ Lamp, sits on a plain white desk used by Morten, an entrepreneur.
In a corner, on a black-and-white spotted tray, a pair of Kay Bojesen wooden birds shares space with ceramics designed by Lene, and a little royal guard holding a Danish flag.
Attention to detail can be found on every level but perhaps nowhere more so than in the kitchen, which the Loks entrusted to a Danish kitchen company that manufactures its products in China.
“For all the years we’ve been married I’ve always wanted a really nice kitchen,” Lene says. “A big one with cabinets that are not falling apart or rusty.”
That dream was realised with the help of two carpenters, who made the trip from Denmark to fit the cabinets. Not surprisingly, white surfaces are paired with contrasting dark-grey interiors.
“This is the first time we’ve had the chance to make a big impact on a home,” says Morten, who paid daily visits to the house while it was being renovated so mistakes could be caught early. “The good thing was we were so close by.”
Although their architect jokes that he will never again take clients who live nearby, nor for that matter anyone Danish, he is the first to admit the Loks’ input was invaluable.
“They were more meticulous than anyone I’ve worked with before,” he says.
But not so fastidious that they won’t allow pets to compromise their aesthetic. In the monochrome setting of the ground floor, a wire cage by the entrance appears an anomaly in the midst of so much Nordic cool.
In it, burrowed under shredded paper, are two hamsters, colour-coordinated no less.
“We said the kids could have them,” says Lene. “But only if the hamsters were white and grey.”
Kitchen Danish company Boxone by Køkkensnedkeren (boxoneby kokkensnedkeren.dk; Hong Kong contact, Raymond Cheng, tel: 9023 1953) built the kitchen for HK$180,000. The bar chairs came from a previous home and the lamps above the island and dining table were bought in Denmark years ago through www.louispoulsen.com. Lene Lok designed the black ceramic fruit bowl, glass vases and two copper receptacles (available through www.illumsbolighus.com). Lok also designed the black pot on the small stool (HK$1,439), which came from BoConcept (www.boconcept.com). The Super Elliptical dining table (HK$22,000) and Series 7 chairs, by Arne Jacobsen (HK$4,000 each), are available from Aluminium (www.aluminium-furniture.com). The vases on the table came from www.royalcopenhagen.com.
Living area Enjoying a soaring ceiling is the sitting area, with a BM2213 sofa bought years ago from Fredericia (www.fredericia.com), in Denmark. The Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair came from www.fritzhansen.com and is available from Aluminium (from HK$100,000 for the chair and from HK$22,000 for the ottoman, both in leather). The coffee table came from Erik Jorgensen (www.erik-joergensen.com) several years ago. The PK22 chairs, by Poul Kjaerholm, were presents the Loks bought themselves in 2003 and are available from Aluminium for HK$30,000 each. The PH pendant lamp and PH floor lamp, both by Poul Henningsen, came from www.louispoulsen.com and the candle holders from Georg Jensen (various locations; www.georgjensen.com). The Eileen Gray side table is available for HK$9,500 from Aluminium. The colourful Hay Pinocchio rug (HK$4,999) is available at Aluminium.
Terrace All the outdoor furniture came from the Loks’ previous home in Sai Kung and was bought from Patio Mart (16/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau, tel: 2555 8988).
Stairs Throughout the house are Danish-made cabinets from Montana (www.montana.dk), designed for flexibility. The PH2/1 table lamp came from Louis Poulsen. The Normann Copenhagen Shorebirds (HK$310, HK$410 and HK$490) were from Homeless (various locations; www.homeless.hk) and the candle holder from Eclectic Cool (various locations; www.eclectic-cool.com). Lok designed the three porcelain vases below the birds; the glass vase, from Iittala (www.manks.com), was a wedding gift.
Master bedroom A walk-in wardrobe is off the master bedroom, which enjoys breathtaking water and village views. The Le Corbusier Basculant chair is available from Anterra (5 Blue Pool Road, Happy Valley, tel: 2577 5716) for HK$33,300 and the Eileen Gray side table from Aluminium. All of the items on the window sills were designed by Lok in 2007.
Corbusier corner The LC4 chaise longue, by Le Corbusier, is from a previous home. In Hong Kong it is available for HK$59,200 from Anterra. Behind it are four calligraphic works that were a gift.
Bathroom In between the bedroom and office is the en suite bathroom, fitted with cabinetry by Boxone with mirror cabinets by LP Architects. The Vola tap (HK$13,800) is available from ViA (1 Star Street, Wan Chai, tel: 3102 0808).
Office & detail Ikea furniture from a previous home continues the look in the sunny office. The lamp, designed by Arne Jacobsen, was bought through Louis Poulsen. The stationery organiser is by Georg Jensen. A Marimekko tray (HK$995) holds Lok’s porcelain designs. The birds and the Danish Royal Guard were designed by Kay Bojesen and bought through www.illumsbolighus.com.
TRIED + TESTED
Jagged little sill To complement the contemporary design of the house, Jonathan Pang, of LP Architects (16B, Carfield Commercial Building, 75 Wyndham Street, tel: 2899 2298), designed a glass balustrade with zig-zag cut-out detailing, which is not always possible when working with an existing staircase. However, at the Lok house, where the stairs were new, he made sure there was sufficient space at the side to mount the structural steel channel accommodating the glass. Apart from making the glass feel more free flowing, he says, it also gives it a lighter touch than would a single base line.