We see our fair share of polished concrete flooring these days, particularly in warehouse conversions. And concrete wall finishes are proving popular for adding an urban, industrial touch to interiors. But we haven’t seen anything quite like this Hong Kong apartment.
One whole wall features a bold treatment of the underlying concrete – stripped of plaster and completely distressed in a way that almost looks like the apartment is about to begin renovation, not just completed it.
Under direction of the owner, designer Wesley Liu Yik-kuen took inspiration from renowned Taiwanese artist Hsu Wei-bin, whose work features a rustic style. And whilst the artist’s rustic furniture pieces do make a statement, it’s the textured, uneven concrete that taps into the same sentiment and gives the space its character.
To achieve the effect, Wesley attacked the concrete to cause deliberate damage using drills and other tools. The result feels close to the kind of art pieces that artist Hsu Wei-bin is famous for.
Speaking to scmp.com, apartment owner Grace Shou pointed out that, although the concrete appears a little rough and ready, it actually took a great deal of care and attention. “They had to pick which holes to leave and which to fill in,” explained Shou. “It was difficult to get it perfect.”
Despite being the central building material for most apartment developments built today, having large areas of concrete finishes in the final interiors is not cheap. It takes great skill and purposely-formulated concrete to create the kind of beautiful rendering finishes you see in architectural magazines.
But if done well, a sleek concrete finish can add an elegant urbanism to a space that, thanks to the subdued colouring, can be quite calming to live in.
It can also be a source of interesting texture in a room, particularly if the concrete is ‘board-formed’, resulting in a wood grain finish – the perfect combination of natural and industrial.
Essentially, though, the exposed concrete in this intriguing Hong Kong apartment is actually the bare bones of the apartment itself, uncovered and very much on show. The apartment as art. We like it.