New Yorkers proudly claim to make the most of our famously small apartments, but architect Gary Chang in Hong Kong shows us how it’s really done:
This reminds me of the time when my sister-in-law, who had been living in Hong Kong for many years, came to visit us in New York; she looked around the crowded East Village restaurant we were in, and out the window at the throngs of people on the sidewalk and the taxi-clogged street, and marveled: “So much space!”
Chang is the managing director of EDGE Design Institute, whose mission statement waxes philosophical, and surprisingly elegiac:
In essence, architecture is a set of conditions under which space and the individual are connected. […] The set of conditions is ever changing. In the context of Hong Kong, every “present” is fading, then vanishes without notice. What has existed will keep being erased. Perhaps we are making a monument for the city: a monument for the consumed future and the fading present.
“The consumed future and the fading present” could apply in many ways to New York, I think (and would fit in with my own meditations about “the infinite city”), and even to our modern, consumerist culture as a whole, if you’re in a pessimistic mood. Perhaps Chang’s apartment can serve as a metaphor for how we live now — constantly remaking our environment and erasing our past — and perhaps in an age of dwindling resources Chang’s ingenuity shows us the most sensible way forward.