Cover Photo: Lawrence Choo

Take a look at beautiful homes with the most impressive minimalist designs around the region

Minimalism has long been a sought-after genre in interior design, where simplicity, neutral tones and clean lines take centre stage. Take inspiration from designers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia who’ve created some truly spectacular homes with this popular design philosophy at the forefront.

In case you missed it: Home Design 101: Which Interior Design Style is the Right One For You?

1. A Hong Kong Apartment Transformed into a ‘Gallery Experience’

With an extensive collection of beautiful art, the owners of this apartment in Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels area wanted their home to resemble a “gallery experience”, according to Effie Yang, co-founder of architectural and design firm OFGA Hong Kong, which carried out a design overhaul of the property.

To develop a layout of the home that would fulfil the brief in redividing spaces while also allowing for attention to be focused on the art, Yang and her co-founder Winston Yeo adopted a minimalist design approach. The bedrooms were removed, creating a sprawling space with zero doors.

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2. A House in Kuala Lumpur with Rounded Edges

Designed for a young couple, this new build in Kuala Lumpur was freed from the tyranny of square corners when its designer, Ar Lim Kee Yen of Keeyen Architect, transformed the four significant corners of the house into rounded shapes. 

In design, a fillet refers to a rounded corner or edge. “The four prominent corners of the house are filleted or rounded to soften the original allowed cubic mass. The filleted corners achieve wholeness and streamlines the building form externally,” says Lim.

As a result, natural light enters the house across the levels, from open terraces and master lounge to the living hall.

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3. A Singapore Home with a Stunning Statement Staircase

Designed by Ming Architects, this stylish family home in Singapore is anchored by its light-filled basement, with a statement staircase taking centre stage.

The owners wanted a basement floor to maximise their gross floor area. They also desired a lap pool, along with a staircase that was to become the focal point of the 7,000 sq ft home. 

The brief provided Cher Ming Tan, principal architect of Ming Architects, with the ideal opportunity to conceptualise a modern building with visual impact. “We decided to combine these elements as architectural features which would form the main design concept of the house, driven by the basement being its main feature,” says Tan.

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4. A Singapore Home with a ‘Garden in the Sky’

This light-filled home designed by Akihaus in Singapore creates the feeling of being in a high-rise glasshouse in the open-plan living room, with its enviable green views and exposed timber beams.

The homeowners, a couple in their 30s, tasked Akihaus to transform the original space into a modern haven with ample spaces for hosting guests. “The clients entertain a lot, so we've designed the space to be able to cater to large crowds of people,” says the firm’s founder and director Lawrence Puah. “They definitely wanted a home where they could feel very proud of, with lots of spaces for them to welcome family and friends over.”

A key aspect of the home is the former balcony area. “These walk-up apartments typically have a long balcony by the side, but most homeowners—including the previous owners of this apartment—end up sealing it up,” says Puah. “Singapore is such a concrete jungle, and thus we proposed reclaiming the space back as a balcony to offer the clients a ‘garden in the sky’.”

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5. A Tranquil Retreat in Malaysia

Vacation homes in the village of Janda Baik, about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, are typically built in the style of grand eco-lodges—but this compact, modernist cabin by Choo Gim Wah Architect is a refreshing departure from it. 

Functioning as a family retreat, the home, named Smolhaven, takes inspiration from Mies van der Rohe’s famed minimalist Farnsworth House in Illinois as well as traditional Malaysian kampung-style village houses, which are characterised by the use of stilts as a foundation.

Nicknamed Smolhaven, the 1,600 sq ft home features an immense two-tier platform—a homage to the Illinoian house’s split-level deck and projects weightlessly over the lawned terraces.

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