Morphe Design’s sleek yet cosy residence in the heart of the city is a bold modern take on an unlikely inspiration
The extremely elegant Banyan Tree Residences in the heart of downtown Kuala Lumpur may be the last place you would imagine finding a home inspired by cave-dwelling but Morphe Design has created just that. In fact, the apartment's design feature was what drew the designers to the project. “The residence is approximately 2,200 sq ft and comes with basic fixtures in the kitchen and bedrooms.
However, the house layout is quite special. The living hall has a curved wall fitted with glass windows that offer a stunning 180-degree view of the KL skyline. "All the surrounding signature and iconic towers are right in front of your eyes,” enthuses Patrick Goh, design director of Morphe Design
This panorama of modernity further inspired Goh to ponder about life today which informed the project’s design concept. “Historically, people used to dwell in caves, but slowly as we became more civilised, we made our way into brick-walled houses and high rise dwellings, just like this project which is surrounded by skyscrapers and buildings. This modern life is now a busy fast pace synonymous with the city lifestyle,” muses Goh.
“When our client enters the house, we want them to be able to feel relaxed, slow down, enjoy the ambience and connect with family and friends. So our concept for our design can be described as City Escape in the Cave. Basically, when they go home, they experience a totally contrasting lifestyle within these walls, just like in ancient times where humans stayed in a peaceful and serene cave.”
CAVE OF WONDERS
To achieve this, the designers imitated the cave tunnel starting from the foyer that flows into an open concept living area and spacious dining layout. This was designed so that friends and family would be able to enjoy the spacious space which was populated with unique soft furnishing settings including a life-sized polar bear lying on the sofa.
In addition, the space is surrounded by a stone finished feature wall. “We wanted to create an illusion that guests are entering the bear’s cave home. We thought it would be fun and very different from the usual,” says Goh.
Apart from being able to experiment with creating the right ambience, the designers also took the opportunity to explore quite a few interesting materials. For instance, the mineral stone texture feature wall in the living hall became the designer’s core design element in the house. Also, what is a cave without a warming fire which the designers obliged by installing a Smart mist fireplace?
However, the designers were mindful that while their inspiration was prehistoric, the execution needed to convey a sense of luxury and cosiness: “We were careful with the choice of unique soft furniture and contrasted the rough stone with fine finishes of rose gold stainless steel material that brings an understated luxury into this modern cave house.”
Fine details were incorporated throughout to further underline the feeling of understated luxury, often with its own set of challenges.
“We had a tight schedule for this project but managed to finish the project within six weeks even though there were a lot of details that required skilful workmanship to achieve the desired results. One example is the soft chamfered edges in the dry kitchen cabinet which were bent with laminated finishing to come together with a rose gold tabletop. This was hard to achieve but we did it and the result is just stunning,” says Goh.
“Another one worth mentioning here is the wavy wall panel in the master bedroom. The design of the pearl white spray panel joined with black metal steel stripe bars brings an exquisite touch to the master bedroom. It blends nicely into the room but doesn’t overtake the stunning exterior view. We really believe that it is a masterpiece we have created for our customers.”
Much effort was taken to source the appropriate furniture and decorative objects to complete the designer’s desired look and are a mix of imported items and custom pieces from local vendors.
“It is indeed a great experience when we create and design custom pieces because we are able to translate our exact ideas into reality,” states Goh. “We relish the process of working with our vendors, visiting their factory and sourcing the materials and being able to touch and feel ourselves from the beginning until we have a finished product that meets our standards.”
Considering the results, Goh and his team have exceeded all standards and he generously credits a close relationship with the client for achieving this. “We involved our clients from the beginning, especially in understanding their aspirations and what they had in mind for this project. During the proposal stage, we roped them into the decision process. Since they’ve moved in, their feedback has been positive so we are very satisfied and proud of what we have achieved with this project.”