I’m Patty: Good afternoon, everyone! Today we discuss the topic is, in the context of the new housing policy will become the mainstream living small apartment how to small size big taste. Let me first introduce today’s guest. Today’s guest is our young and promising designer Mr. Zhang Shouzhen. First, say hello to our online friends.
James Zhang: Hello everyone!
I’m Patty: The main thing we’re talking about today is the design of small apartments. First, I would like to ask James Zhang, where do you think the most important parts of a small apartment are?
James Zhang: Actually, every part of a small apartment is important. It’s not like a villa. Large space focus on the place of their living room, is their bedroom, bedroom can be with cloakroom, toilet, study are set in the inside is relatively important. Relative to the guest room and a few other rooms may require a little more simple, the requirements of the function is not particularly high. But small apartment each space requirements are very high, because of the cost of a piece of land, every space to solve it other space can not be completely solved some functions. The space inside the small apartment is not a single function, but to be multi-functional and compatible, is a multi-functional space.
I’m Patty: Like the closet on the wall or something.
James Zhang: Maybe the living room also needs to help solve the problem of clothes storage that can’t be solved in his bedroom may need to be solved in the living room, or even in another study. The problem of books that can’t be solved in the study may need to be solved in the living room, or in the bedroom.
I’m Patty: Like some of the smaller apartments you see, what is it basically like? Is it a second-hand house? Or is it newer?
James Zhang: Most new houses have more. In recent years, the government has introduced a 90-unit policy, so many developers have also developed a lot of small apartment buildings in accordance with the government’s policy, and most of the buyers of these small apartment buildings are young white-collar workers.
I’m Patty: There’s more of that in young couples?
James Zhang: It is aimed at the ordinary large and medium-sized class of citizens, after all, in Shanghai a house down basically close to two million people, people’s ability to buy a certain amount of people still have a certain difficulty, so the small apartment is relatively aimed at the public, not only for young people.
I’m Patty: From the perspective of designers, how do you make the decoration of small apartments look more humane? Or is it better decorated?
James Zhang: Just because my apartment size is small, I can’t have a lot of most of the things. I can’t handle the functions in it. But you have to think of luxury in small apartments in other unrealistic features, designers of course can’t solve. Most of the small apartments are two people, or a family of three such family structure. How to make this decoration look more humane, or decorate more perfect? In fact, it is in front of the layout function of the premise to carry out more personalized decoration, if the function is not solved in the case of other decoration is futile.
Patty: Do you think the decoration of this small apartment is different from that of a hotel?
James Zhang: It’s a big difference because the decoration is about class. And hotel decoration is to solve the temporary stay of the customer space, inside all the functional requirements of the consideration is not so long, but short to the customer, including storage, five-star hotel or suite inside will not have too big wardrobe, standard room under normal circumstances even no wardrobe, basically a bed in the bedroom, the bathroom set in the inside, no other storage space.
I’m Patty: The general space of a hotel is also relatively limited. Do you think there are some references in the design of the apartment type, such as the bedroom design?
James Zhang: The reference to hotels is simplicity, which is that you can keep everything simple as long as you’re functional. The space itself is small, there is no need to do something for the sake of aesthetics, such as more complex ceiling. In the hotel, in the suite, in the five-star hotel suite his roof is very simple. Moreover, we are in the small apartment above our height is not particularly high, if you hang complex roof it is very futile, the space will be compressed a lot.
I’m Patty: What are some of the challenges you usually face when designing a small apartment? Except for what you just said about the top being a problem.
James Zhang: Most of the problems that small apartments face in general are in storage. For example, like two people’s space, two people’s space if it is a small unit, is about 50 square meters, one room, one living room small unit then what is the problem? At present, the young people do not say girls, is a man, the young man he basically a person his clothes will be a big cabinet, not to mention more girls, but also a shoe, two people together hundreds of pairs is not surprising, so these storage space is difficult to solve.
Patty: How do you usually solve this problem?
James Zhang: Usually, small apartments don’t mind buying ready-made cabinets, which are finished products. It is recommended that good designers design and build them on site, so that every space can be valuable. He only made a big living room, basically just do leisure, watching TV, surfing the Internet in the living room, he did not make full use of the living room storage space. In fact, the large area of the living room wall can be all to do the cabinet, as storage space. Because of the small size of your home, you need to collect not only your clothes and seasonal bedding, but also a lot of tools including vacuum cleaners, electric irons and so on.
I’m Patty: Do you think there is anything you should pay attention to in the furniture, including the color of the furniture, the color of the floor, the color of the curtains and so on?
James Zhang: There is nothing to notice about the color, because it is the interior, and each person in the interior lives in a personality based on the color.
Patty: I’m Patty. I’m in a very small space. The cabinets and the floor are very dark colors.
James Zhang: It’s a small space, and a lot of people advise against using dark colors for fear of being oppressive or something. However, the interior is highly subjective, so the designer should follow the owner’s personality, because some owners like this kind of small environment. What I want is the unique and cool color feeling, so the designer must solve the problem according to the owner’s color matching requirements.
I’m Patty: Can you give us one or two examples of small apartments you’ve worked on?
James Zhang: We’ve done a lot of small apartments before.
Patty: So what’s going on?
James Zhang: One bedroom and one living room. The total area of the apartment is a little over 40.
I’m Patty: It’s like a lot of old houses in Shanghai.
James Zhang: Yes, it’s an old house. But if he uses it according to the original house is certainly not enough, the original one bedroom, hall is the dining room, the old house bedrooms are a little bigger, bedrooms are about 15 square meters. I changed it for him, put his kitchen and bathroom, and then made the kitchen an opening style, because young people are relatively open at home, not so much cooking. At the same time with a better smoking machine, more to solve the problem of smoke. This opening style can appear a little more space, the kitchen itself is not big. Then his balcony, the balcony inside the hall opened up, sealed off the balcony, so as to increase the area of the hall, the hall as a living room is also a small place for his four people to eat, when there are friends or children, parents can come to eat four people. Then the toilet function requires a little more, because he is playing film machine, sometimes in the toilet to flush the film, because the toilet is small, although with special functions, on the table has made a special design, that is, his table can be used to flush the film at the same time, is usually when he works can be used as a workbench.
Patty: How many square meters is the bathroom?
James Zhang: More than four square.
I’m Patty: What kind of style did you make for him?
James Zhang: No style. Because we have a lot now, people fall into the trap of always talking about style. When I talked with him two days ago, he also talked about style, and he went to many friends’ villas in Shanghai. It seems that Mediterranean style and Spanish style are very popular in Shanghai at present. Because he went to a lot of places, he said that people living in the Mediterranean, their home is not so pure Mediterranean, but their home is not a style, a mess of everything, at present is a mix, the whole world popular things are a mix and match. Because of the convenience of information now, and the world people like more and more miscellaneous things, so he said that mixing is popular all over the world.
I’m Patty: Last time you did a program here, you said that designers need more experience to make more good works. For example, how much more money should I spend to live in a five-star hotel for experience? I would like to ask you another question. I just mentioned styles, such as Mediterranean style. What kind of style do you think is Mediterranean?
James Zhang: From the perspective of architecture, including the interior feeling, because of the Mediterranean climate, its walls, tiles and furniture have been corroded by sea water for a long time, corroded by the moist air of sea water, leaving traces of years, which is the popular retro style in China now. This retro style is the Mediterranean style.
I’m Patty: There’s a lot of that now.
James Zhang: Yes, because there are so many people who like it, I will say a little bit more about the style. And the Aegean Sea, blue and white, because by definition you have blue and then you have white and that’s Mediterranean. In fact, these are several buildings outside the Mediterranean temple. The blue sea and white walls make us mistakenly think that the interior on the other side of the Aegean Sea should be this kind of architecture. In fact, there is no such element. Like Tunis, you walk on the streets of Tunis, you see every house with blue Windows, and then his buildings are white, it’s great.
I’m Patty: Let’s move on to smaller units. Due to the obstruction of the area of small apartment is always difficult to satisfy, lighting how to solve, function how to distinguish? How do three generations of a family live together?
James Zhang: Because of the location of the building, it is difficult to meet the requirements of ventilation and lighting. Why not? It was a small apartment of 50 or 60 square meters. Sometimes when we came in, his door was in the hallway, and there were only Windows facing south, but no Windows facing north, because he was next door to his neighbors to the north, so there was no way to get ventilation. Want to ventilation is nothing more than, can only make your living room door into the security door, summer weather is particularly hot when the closed security door open, let the air through the corridor, through the shared corridor to circulation. There is another problem, which affects the privacy of each inhabitant. For example, when we choose a house, or buy a house, we should pay attention to this point, you pick the location of the small apartment is not north and south itself have Windows. There are three generations of a family living together, if it is two rooms a living room, it is easier to solve a bit. But if it is a one-bedroom living room, we don’t think it can be shared by three generations. If three generations live together, they will not buy one bedroom and one living room. Two rooms and a hall if three generations of people live together, often according to the age of children, if children are particularly small, basically the children’s room using the hall and the balcony between the location of the interval, divided into a room. Because our traditional Chinese thinking is that children have nothing to avoid, for adults, it may not be fair to them, but the Chinese family structure is just like this.
Patty: Do you think it’s better to design a small space or a large space? What kind of things do you usually do more?
James Zhang: It’s easier to design a big space than a small one because you can do it freely. In the function is easy to satisfy, because the space is large. Small apartment is relatively difficult to do some, the previous small apartment to do is a lot. But in recent years, large apartments do relatively more. Small apartment to do more time to consider fully, because Shanghai first inch of land, bought a house quietly to solve the problem. Do the bedroom is to consider the bedroom is the owner to rest at the same time, at the same time there is his private clothes storage space in the bedroom, but also to consider, because the space is small, try to divide a place in the bedroom, or another nightstand to cancel into a desk, so in the bedroom can also be on the Internet at night, and then do some family work. The living room is not only considered to be a leisure place to watch TV and meet visitors, but also to consider the bedroom, or your study, or your home has some other storage, storage function does not meet the place is your living room to help him solve. We usually do decorative in the living room TV wall this side to do a cabinet, in general, whether it is a small room or a large room the width of the living room is in 3 meters 6 to 4 meters, according to the size of the wall storage function will increase a large area, can put a lot of things. If someone is not willing to put his desk in his bedroom, he can design a small corner in the living room, let him in the living room open study, because the present sense of study and our original study meaning is completely different. In the original sense, the study is completely an independent closed space. Now, in the era of network information, the whole concept of the study is that I have a computer and a desk. Even I don’t need any books, I can serve as a study, because all the materials are solved in a small notebook or computer. But when it comes to the toilet, because the small bathroom is relatively small, it is necessary to transform the toilet of the owner according to his own living habits. His lifestyle is whether he likes bath or shower.
Patty: Which one do you think is overutilized?
James Zhang: Showers in the Yangtze River Delta are overutilized, several times a day in summer. Do not rule out a part of the special like bath customers also want to consider for him. And then there’s storage, storage in the bathroom. Bathrooms tend to be messy, and you have some cosmetics, including facial cleanser and things like that, toothbrushes, toothpaste, if you add up two people’s stuff, it’s a pile, and it tends to look ugly on the counter. If you make a shelf, it’s very messy. We now basically use the space of the mirror and hide it behind the mirror, which we find to be the most practical design, and a lot of customers, including the ones we’ve been working with for a few years, they appreciate the fact that they took this into account at the time of the design, and it’s very convenient to live. Usually friends come to the home to borrow the bathroom feel not very embarrassed, in fact, we more decoration of some face design in the living room, in fact, you let him have a very beautiful bathroom when really to reflect the real quality of the pursuit of life residents. And above the kitchen, actually. There is a big problem in the kitchen of the general small apartment, that is, the refrigerator, the refrigerator placement. In particular, there are many popular double-door refrigerators, which take up almost a quarter of the space in the small kitchen. In addition, it is difficult to place the refrigerator. When designing the whole refrigerator, the designer must be clear about the cooking and the whole operation process of the kitchen. In addition, Shanghai itself is a diversified city, and there are many new Shanghainese from outside. The requirements of Sichuan cuisine are different from those of our Shanghai cuisine and other cuisines. They require a lot of seasonings. This requires designers to understand all the space environment. Take every space into consideration, so that it will not be hard to live after the design.
I’m Patty: You might normally have a small fashion store, but it’s also a small space, a street fashion store, a shoe store.
James Zhang: This kind of business behavior, designers have to depend on different products, as well as the positioning of the store. His positioning is the kind of mass type store, there are a lot of stores, although not big, but also high-end, is very high grade, level is particularly high some products, then your store should be based on his products to give him positioning. As for the inside space, I think the space of such a small shop is more creative, including its ID, and the design of the small shop, such as several small clothing stores we made, some of which only have 6 square meters, he wants to put clothes inside, which is unrealistic. We were advised by the designer that you just put in a few key pieces.
Patty: How big is this room?
James Zhang: This room has 15 square meters, and our width is 3 meters 3, this width is close to 5 meters, so it’s more than 4 meters 5 meters, so you have 15 square meters.
I’m Patty: That’s the store that doesn’t even have half that. He also has a small checkout counter.
James Zhang: His little checkout counter doubles as a check-out counter for customers. His cashier desk is at the front, facing the wall, and serves as a display to display jewelry matching with clothing. It also functions as a cashier desk with locks and small drawers, in which the cash of the day can be put.
I’m Patty: How to make such a small space very personal? How much thought did you put into making the owner happy?
James Zhang: I took the camera and I spent two nights visiting all the stores and shooting all of them. I analyzed the products first based on my previous experience, because the designer needs to understand the owner’s products and his business positioning in the early stage, and then make positioning. I made a tree trunk for him at the door, which was a corner. I made a tree trunk, marked several directions at random, and wrote several directions with charcoal characters. Where was this going, where was that going, I pointed at him at random, so that people had an impression on him, because the shop was small.
Patty: Do you like to go shopping?
James Zhang: Like Hang Lung Plaza. I often go to Hang Lung Plaza when I am not busy recently. Hang Lung Plaza inside a lot of brand stores, decoration including involved aspects are very feel. In fact, when many of his friends visited France, they came back with a feeling that the size of some LV stores in the commercial street was far different from the size of the Like BIO in Henglong Plaza in Shanghai.
I’m Patty: Every brand has a regular or well-known designer to design its store, just like a showroom.
James Zhang: This is to refer to, and at the same time absorb some of their foreign business concepts, because designers also need to understand business to do design. More often we also like to go to some places with folk customs, including to see the local folk customs or what. In fact, there are many places near us, such as Xitang, and you can find a lot of our own elements in those places, because after all, this is Shanghai, we can find our own elements can be applied in the commercial space of foreign brands.
I’m Patty: I see some of your cases are quite varied.
James Zhang: A stylized designer will have his fixed symbols, but he should not have a fixed style, because the style is based on the customer’s preferences.
I’m Patty: What do you think your symbol is?
James Zhang: Our symbol, the whole symbol when you look at the mashup, I think the mashup is more of our symbol. Now a lot of things require simple style we will mix and match.
I’m Patty: Do you often present furniture and building materials in front of customers? Do you take the good things you see and use them in your own works?
James Zhang: I usually like to search for things, I accompanied a client to choose China two days ago, I saw a good China, more than 1,000 yuan, I asked my client to buy a set, and then my client bought a set, I couldn’t help myself and I also bought a set.
I’m Patty: What’s it like?
James Zhang: It’s an ancient China tableware set with a glazed border. If you eat a meal, or a bowl of soup maybe the soup tastes ordinary, but this bowl of soup with China feel different. As a designer you have to be one step ahead of others to see what others have not seen, or to see what others are not willing to see.
I’m Patty: Considering your usual small apartment decoration examples, what advice do you have for these small apartment owners?
James Zhang: My advice is to find a designer who knows architecture according to the function and structure of the family. He can make some modifications to your room according to your requirements, structural modifications, but this should be allowed within the building standards. In addition, it is not recommended that you do fixed partition partition do too much, because the space is not particularly large, and then you do fixed partition or partition too much but affect ventilation, lighting, including space vision are uncomfortable, try to put some flexible space for yourself. Because they can be based on their own different time periods, different requirements of life to carry out flexible collocation.
I’m Patty: They say a small house has all the essentials. Do you think the design of a small house can better reflect a designer’s skills?
James Zhang: In fact, it’s more about the designer’s impenetrable understanding of the whole life, and the perception of life that needs time to accumulate. There is also a he needs to a lot of the current function of some different products, different furniture different space need size grasp, because unlike big space, big space then take the table position, we do big room big space now popular eight people’s Western-style dining table, you can not small room put such a table, you want to such a large space need to put a few people’s table, This requires designers to long-term understanding of life, to grasp the size of the home space.
Patty: It seems like almost every dining room table is a very long table.
James Zhang: Because designers have a great role in leading the decoration industry. Because this is also limited to the current building structure and restaurant design, not the traditional Chinese inside the square, because we eat more Chinese food, if the restaurant is very regular, square, then I suggest to use round table, or square table, similar to this shape of the table, young people may not like, is not too Chinese, too traditional, This kind of table shape now has a lot of very fashionable modern, specific according to the location of the space.
Patty: The owner you met before or the long table?
James Zhang: Because I have met a landlord who likes mahogany furniture very much. Mahogany tables are mainly round tables rather than long western tables. He insisted on putting them in this space. Of course, if the structure does not allow it, the designer will try his best to persuade the owner to replace the furniture, which is more suitable for him.
I’m Patty: I just talked about how designers know materials in general. How do you usually learn about material? Some of the more advanced materials? How do you acquire this knowledge?
James Zhang: In fact, some of the new materials are mainly the material will take the initiative to come to us, of course, we are also very proactive. If there’s something new that we’ve verified and it’s really going to do a lot of good, then we’re going to push that too.
I’m Patty: What should we pay attention to in the use of lighting for small apartments?
James Zhang: The lighting of a small apartment does not need to be too messy, because the space is small and the requirements for light sources are not very high. However, large space and small space are actually a principle in light distribution. The main light source should meet the brightness of the whole space, and some auxiliary light sources should be embellished in appropriate cases, which are decorative lights.
I’m Patty: Is a small room not suitable for a big chandelier?
James Zhang: Small apartment is also suitable for chandeliers, the diameter of the lamp depends on the size of the space, can not blindly I especially like this lamp can not be placed in a small room.
I’m Patty: What do you think you would focus on when designing a small apartment?
James Zhang: The whole point is in the whole small apartment. Not everything is the point. Because of the small apartment we have just talked about this topic, each space you have to solve his use function and help him solve part of the storage function, but also the color of the space, as well as decorative, so everywhere is important.
I’m Patty: Another problem is that the landlord will use one tile in the bedroom, another tile in the living room, and another tile in the bathroom, which is very messy. What do you suggest?
James Zhang: For a small apartment, I recommend not using too much color. This is like a man at a party or wearing a suit. He has a suit, leather shoes, a tie, a shirt. If it is a very formal suit, the suit and pants are the same color, if the color is too much, it will be particularly messy.
I’m Patty: Some people put mirrors in their rooms in order to increase the sense of space visually. Do you recommend that homeowners use more mirrors in their homes when they are building smaller units?
James Zhang: I think if it is in the hall, it is appropriate to use some mirrors. I think the mirrors will make the space visually deceptive. The space is very spacious. But the mirror sits in what position, in what form to do to grasp the appropriate. If it is placed in an inappropriate location, where a friend brings a small child or even an adult is likely to be hit, then it is definitely not appropriate.