Ilse Crawford works on Hong Kong apartment

Studioilse is designing the interiors and exterior of a six-storey apartment block in Hong Kong, aimed at what founder Ilse Crawford calls ’the cultured buyer’.

Hong Kong-based property development company Blake’s awarded Studioilse the job in August, according to Blake’s executive director Alan Lo. He approached Crawford, having talked to ’a few’ other designers, asking her to create ’a beautifully laid-out space using beautiful materials’.

The block on Hollywood Road, which Crawford describes as ’the Portobello Road of Hong Kong’, is on the periphery of the city centre.

Studioilse is radically redeveloping an existing 1960s building. The consultancy is using the technical help of local architect KA Kho, although Crawford says she is ’creative directing’ the entire project.

’We are directing the architects,’ says Crawford. ’This is generally a very satisfactory arrangement, because things have to be built for a certain use, and you need a big idea to hold the whole thing together, which we have.’

Lo adds that he is pleased with Crawford’s ’holistic’ approach – ’not only working with the interior, but with seeing the context of the area and fitting the apartments into the bigger picture,’ he says.

Unusually for the city, the apartment building overlooks a park, which has inspired the creation of very large windows. Polished concrete floors and bare walls will create what Crawford believes is a contrast to the ’blingy’ look and feel of many of Hong Kong’s buildings.

’Hong Kong has seen a lot of urban redevelopment over the decades, but it has erred towards the large-scale, so you end up with huge self contained developments and air-conditioned malls that suck away street-level activity,’ says Lo.

’The idea with this block is to re-establish the idea of interaction on the street.’ The ground floor of the block will be used for retail, and Lo is considering whether to appoint a separate interior design consultancy to tackle this area. The block opens in December.

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