Living in a home with the size of a meagre 500 sqf would seem inconceivable decades ago. That was long before space became a scarce commodity. Today, shrinking land space and rising property prices have had us inhabiting smaller homes and leading a more compact lifestyle where the boundary between working and living is blurred. It’s no surprise then That Soho, designed specifically for the young professional who works where he lives — or lives where he works — has received such widespread popularity in recent years.

«Soho appeals to yuppies. Many of them work from home and have a proclivity for trendy designs,» says Ian Chew, design principal of X Dimension Design who heads the interior design of Flexus Signature Suites, a new Soho development on Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur. «We adopted a modem, unconventional interior design for the suites to suit the lifestyles of these stylish citizens.»

The show unit is a 506 sqf one-bedroom, one bathroom suite, one of the eight types of Soho offered by Flexus and features an unabashedly raw-edged, industrial look. A cool, greyish palette rules the small space, giving the designer a blank canvas to play with. Large mirror panels give an illusion of depth. A bare brick wall and exposed electrical wires that run through the ceiling offer an unfinished appearance akin to those found in factories.

«We’re fortunate that our client (Flexusl is open to the non-conservative. After all, the industrial style is not everyone’s cup of tea,» says Chew. «We chose to apply this style because we wanted to break free from the conventional modern contemporary method. The industrial style may have just risen to fame since the last couple of years in Malaysia, thanks to the cafes and restaurants who pioneered the trend, but in fact it is a celebration of going back to the basics with its no-frills approach.»

The layout of the suite is simple. It is rectangular in shape with a bedroom, partitioned by glass panels, located at the opposite end of the entrance. A sign that reads «NYC», reminiscent to those seen in Broadway, hangs above the headboard, on a wall clad in wallpapers that mimic the appearance and texture of wooden planks. The sign is a nod to New York City, where the industrial style first made its appearance in the 1960s before trickling down to other parts of the world. A walk-in wardrobe cum bathroom is attached to the bedroom.

The kitchen is bespoke with laminated cabinet doors and a stainless steel worktop. The island, which doubles as a dining table, sports a similar design. Sharp bursts of orange-coloured appliances break the monotony and, in a way, echo the warm hue of the bare brick wall. Chew also had a desk and storage unit custom-made from iron pipes and wooden planks. And no interior with industrial style would be complete without the archetypal French-made Tolix chairs. The overall atmosphere of this miniscule space is rugged, wild and unapologetically masculine.

«We envision this is the home of a fashionable bachelor in his 30s,» Chew reveals, further explaining that despite the suite’s strong masculine sensibility, it can be tweaked to fit individuals of the opposite sex due to the versatile, pared-back backdrop. Simply surround the space with things you love. You can flaunt your unique personality while turning this petit Soho into a cosy home.»

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