An efficiency becomes efficient

Architect Gary Chang’s Hong Kong apartment is the gold standard in space-saving solutions. His 344 square-foot apartment has an open floor plan, but with a series of sliding wall units, can easily be configured into 24 different rooms.

From the New York Times article “24 Rooms Tucked Into One” discussing Chang’s space:

In Mr. Chang’s solution, a kind of human-size briefcase, everything can be folded away so that the space feels expansive, like a yoga studio.

The wall units, which are suspended from steel tracks bolted into the ceiling, seem to float an inch above the reflective black granite floor. As they are shifted around, the apartment becomes all manner of spaces — kitchen, library, laundry room, dressing room, a lounge with a hammock, an enclosed dining area and a wet bar.

To be able to fully appreciate the wonder that is Mr. Chang’s apartment, you should check out the accompanying photo gallery “Box of Tricks.”

I am truly in awe.

Thank you to reader Josephine for sending us the link for this article.

21 Comments for “An efficiency becomes efficient”

  1. posted by amanda lee on

    This is *amazing*. What a great idea!

  2. posted by Charlie on

    Oh my gosh. I wish I had half of the cleverness that this fellow does.

  3. posted by Tabitha (From Single to Married) on

    wow – that’s amazing! It’s probably not for me, but it’s so cool to look at! Very clever.

  4. posted by Springpeeper on

    An apartment built like a Swiss army knife…
    very cool.

  5. posted by Sky on

    This is the most awesome space I have ever seen!

  6. posted by Trish on

    Very clever, but why oh why would you hang onto all of those CDs? A whole wall filled with CDs? Has he not been paying attention?!


  7. posted by momofthree on

    it’s COOL…for a single person, but that golden glow is giving me a headache.
    i am assuming it’s sunlight, and i love a sunny day, but the glare is awful.

  8. posted by Peter (a different one) on

    I agree with momofthree, very cool for a single person. My family is almost always using several living spaces at once. Still, it’s an awesome design.

  9. posted by sdavis on

    I think it’s significant that he lives there alone.
    Two people wold have a hard time in that living space.
    Concept is interesting, but I doubt if it really feels “spacious.”

  10. posted by Daniel on

    In the 1990’s I used to subscribe to the bilingual Hong Kong interior design magazine Today’s Living (, and every few months they would feature a sub 400 sq.ft suite among their usual million+ dollar apartments and condos. They were very cool, but ultimately they’re like sub-compact cars: fun when you’re young and single, and frustrating if you have a family.

    The average home in Hong Kong is slightly bigger than this, but feels smaller because they have 1 or 2 bedrooms and a separate kitchen. I think Americans would be surprised that that they could trade in their 2500 sq.ft home with double garage for this bachelor pad in an old Hong Kong walkup for the same price.

    I can already think of ways to simplify and declutter his room further: he can take all those CD’s and burn them on a laptop or media server. He could cut is wardrobe in half and maybe invest in quality rather than quantity, or a bigger fridge. I like his choice of bathroom fixtures.

    Personally, if I had to live in a space that small, I’d aim for something similar to a luxury hotel suite.

  11. posted by Mo on

    Um. If you read the article, he really likes the physicality of the CD cases and liners, and the most recent renovation/redesign of the apartment was done to house his various collections.

    For many people, minimalism isn’t an end in itself. He clearly has put a great deal of thought into what is essential for HIM.

  12. posted by allen on

    This is an amazing space, and i agree with @Mo: The article is very clear that this is a space for HIM: and he likes CDs.

    I argue that counting some of these spaces double to get 24 rooms is streching it though (it’s like these mult-card readers that claim to read over 17 types, by counting all three kinds of SD & MMC, & HDSD, &c. :P), but nevertheless this is VERY impressive.

    Makes me wonder what i could do with my space… Hmm…

  13. posted by amy on

    Also interesting to note is that he did live there with his family as a young man. I always realize, when my family comes to visit and all of the kids end up staying in my room, that we could all live in a small 1 bedroom if we needed to. It is just our social conventions here to want/need more space. Not to say that I don’t like things open and spacious…

  14. posted by Shalin on

    As a creative engineer who has been watched a lot of HGTV remodeling shows in the run-up to buying a house – this guy is now amongst my heroes 🙂


  15. posted by Russell on

    The main reason I like to unclutter is because it makes life more convenient. This does not seem convenient to me. This method is good for archiving town records, old films etc. on shelves, which is most likely what this concept was inspired by, but I foresee all kinds of potential hazards:

    -You would have to make sure that everything is secure at all times so nothing falls. Unfortunately, people aren’t perfect.
    -With long-term use, the walls could get stuck.
    -Over many years the floor could become uneven and walls might move by themselves.
    -The walls would be moving over a track which I’m sure would be the cause of many stubbed toes, even if it’s below floor level.
    -A track that’s below floor level would be harder to clean and cleaning would be necessary to keep the walls moving smoothly.

  16. posted by Simpler Living on

    I’m in awe of this, too. It puts my first studio apartment to shame.

    I don’t think I could get rid of all of my CDs, either. My stepfather had at least 1,000 records, and music is a tactile and visual thing for me, as funny as that may sound. CDs still seem small to me. I’ll make space for them.

  17. posted by Tobias on

    I wonder if his apartment feels so small because all the space is taken up by movable shelves 😛

    Still a very cool idea, and if it really works it would be great to see something like this mass produced to create more affordable housing in packed city areas.

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