Environmental health

I would like to discuss new trends in interior design from several aspects. First of all, environmental protection and a healthy life. At present, the entire construction industry and home design are increasingly focusing on environmental awareness. The China Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development previously formulated the “13th Five-Year Plan” for the development of green buildings. The goal is to build an energy efficient, low-carbon, green ecological, intensive and efficient building system. In Hong Kong, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department implemented a voluntary building energy efficiency registration scheme in 1998 to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings. The government has also adopted many new policies in promoting green buildings in recent years.

In fact, many urban diseases, such as mental stress, depression, insomnia, and even cancer, may be related to your home. Of the VOCs (volatile organic compounds), formaldehyde is the most common indoor pollutant. We all know its harmful effects, as well as other pollutants such as mold, dander, pollen, dust mites, lead, helium, and burning pollutants. Such as carbon monoxide and so on. There are also suspended particles commonly known as PM2.5.

To reduce indoor pollution, it is best to start from the source. Many building materials now come with environmental labels. When buying, you should choose a reputable brand manufacturer and products with environmental certification, such as FSC (Forest Management Committee) or PEFC (Forest Certification Scheme accreditation program) for wood. We use high quality quartz crystal minerals (quartz surface) for kitchen countertops. We choose well-known brand of environmental protection latex paint. Everyone should not neglect the soft decorative materials such as curtain fabrics, bedding, furniture, try to choose products with green labels or natural materials.

Of course, these products may be more expensive, but for the sake of long-term health, spending more money is worth it. However, now that property prices are already high, spending a fortune on environmental protection may increase economic pressure. If you want to save a bit, for example, our common practice is to pre-coat formaldehyde-containing plywood and other raw materials with a special anti-formaldehyde coating and then process it. Once you have installed it in your home, do a full de-formaldehyde treatment.

The special coating raw materials are mainly from Chitosan. Everyone should have heard that it is also a kind of nutritional supplement that has the effect of strengthening immunity and preventing various diseases. As its name suggests, it is mainly extracted from the shells of marine animals such as shrimps and crabs. After treatment, chitin is applied to wood to protect it. When formaldehyde is emitted, the coating can convert formaldehyde organically into harmless carbon dioxide and water.

Intelligent design

Modern technology has gradually integrated into home life, and intelligent design is another mainstream trend. Fingerprint-controlled electronic door locks are nothing new, and have become the standard for many new buildings. Now a truly smart home should also have a smart control center connecting home wireless network routers, access a variety of home appliances through the Internet of Things IOT, such as TV, stereo, lighting, kitchen appliances, curtains, security monitoring, alarms System, HVAC, inverter VRV, air purification system, etc. Everyone can think about it. In the future, all household appliances will be connected to the network and artificial intelligence. The refrigerator will know that your food is not enough and will automatically help you to order online. Therefore, in terms of interior design, we will recommend simple design as much as possible, set aside space for future expansion, and recommend some products that are easy to use and stylish, such as a new type of leafless fan, installed on the ceiling, according to the needs of customers. This fan is energy saving, beautiful and practical. In view of the fact that many households do not have space to dry clothes, a multi-purpose bathroom drying clothes unit can be selected. This unit can dry clothes, generate warm air, some of them even have the function of photocatalyst sterilization for air purification.

Small size large space

The relatively small residential space in Hong Kong is a common phenomenon. How to make full use of small space and create a comfortable environment is also one of the major trends in design. Most of the small-sized apartments have overlapping functional areas, such as guest dining rooms, open kitchens, and even sleeping rooms. Sometimes owners use the cupboard or other partitions to divide the space, but this often makes the space appear extraordinarily cramped. 

Small-sized apartment  needs more storage space. The owners can use some tips to make room: such as using a raised bed, custom-made sofa bed, hiding the sleeping space. Replace the TV wall with a concealed cabinet, using a hidden folding table, etc. to enhance the space. Use mirrors, glass, and glossy finishes to enhance the sense of visual space.

Recently, nano-flats launched by some developers are generally deliberately increasing the floor height so that they can fully develop to raise the platform as an open storage arae, or use the space as a sleeping area. The balcony is particularly important for small-sized units. A spacious floor-to-ceiling balcony should be built to integrate the outdoor scenery into an organic view. 

2018 trend color

Finally, to share with you the trend of color, the British QS Supplies website has invited 150 interior designers from around the world to select 2018 popular colors. I was fortunate enough to be one of the invited designers. The popular colors I chose were dark blue with dark green, Pantone 2377 and Pantone 550U. The result was similar to that of most designers. Pantone Company, on the other hand, chose Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet as its representative color this year, in stark contrast to last year's popular Greenery, giving designers bolder, wilderness and extraordinary color schemes. Readers who catch up with the trend may wish to add some purple decorations this year. Of course, special attention should be paid to the use of colors. The principles of overall harmony should be adopted.

Darren Au-yeung

Chief Designer

Darren Design & Associates