Blog : Home Office

MAISON K: A Home Office Made Attractive by Façade of Shimmering Ceramics

MAISON K: A Home Office Made Attractive by Façade of Shimmering Ceramics

/ Binh Dinh, Vietnam /

/ Story: Ektida N. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Tuan-Nghia NGUYEN /

An eco-friendly home office building named Maison K hovers above the ground, looking out over a traffic circle in the center of Quy Nhon, a coastal city in central Vietnam. The overall effect is out of this world, inspiring admiration for its well-thought-out design and build quality. The building’s double-skin façade gives off good vibes, thanks to air flowing through the intermediate cavity. At the same time, hanging and trailing vines add a lush appeal to the building’s principal front shimmering in the sunlight. Right next to it, another home office building with beautiful raw concrete finishes stands back to back on the same location. Albeit different characters, the interior is essentially the same.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Blending aesthetics with sustainable design, the building’s feature wall is covered with ceramic panels in subdued shades of orange that provide a buffer against the glare of the sun. Hinged on one side, they swing open like doors to regulate air and light streaming into the interior.

Together they merge into one coherent architectural feature that creates an indelible impression on people passing by.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Dubbed the home office for the future of work, it’s a design that makes decorating with plants an integral part of interior and exterior design. Every workspace is thoughtfully devised to best serve its designated purpose, while the wellness, peace and quiet of a home office atmosphere remain the front-and-center concerns.

It’s thanks to meticulous design that an oasis of calm is created despite being located in a busy downtown neighborhood.

Maison K is the brainchild of Nghia-Architect, a homegrown atelier admired for their imagination and skills, plus an excellent track record in architecture and knowledge of the geography in Vietnam. Their main forte includes a thorough understanding of climate variability since weather conditions can change significantly on the oceanfront, directly affecting how a building performs.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

This is especially true in the case of Quy Nhon, which is subject to strong winds in the coastal area, plus hot and humid weather conditions happening from time to time.

As the architect puts it, Quy Nhon being warmer and more humid than other parts of the country, the knowledge and experience in choosing the right materials for the job is imperative, and hence standards be maintained every step of the way.

Understandably, concrete is the mainstay of the construction industry in this part of Vietnam. It’s preferred over other building materials and techniques for its strength and durability, plus it’s resistant to weather and salt damage.

Especially in the context of Quy Nhon, concrete containing broken gray stone is preferred for its wear and tear resistance, plus its pleasing color and texture are sought after in this region.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
Green design keeps the covered parking area cool when the mercury rises. A triangular void of space curved into rounded form creates a double volume air space that allows a tree to grow through it reaching for the sky. For a look that’s easy on the eye, sharp interior angles are trimmed into curved corners to reduce the harshness of raw concrete finishes.

There’s an element of surprise. Maison K sits on land shaped like a piece of pie, a quarter of a circle, so to speak. That being the case, the architect thought it best to put in an L-shaped building with one side open to take in the beautiful view of a nearby lake.

Plus, it’s in compliance with the city ordinance in effect at present. To facilitate business operations, he put the office space downstairs and all the family living areas on the upper floors where it’s quiet and more private.

First floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
Second floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
Third floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
Fourth floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
House section. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect

For practical reason, the office and residential spaces each have separate entrances. The office itself is conveniently accessed from the covered parking area. Sliding doors glazed using clear glass make the business space warm and welcoming.

The residential entry area is made less visible by design. It’s an ordinary swing door tucked away in a quiet place. Upon entering, you find a flight of stairs leading to the second floor that’s the first step into the home.

The stairwell and upstairs sitting room are well-lit by shafts of sunlight streaming in through the rooftop and generous openings in the walls.

Overall, the home interior is simple and clean with the clearly defined order for space utilization. Where appropriate and legal, the architect put in generous openings in the exterior walls to connect the indoors with outdoor spaces. And the result of all this is a feature wall on the side overlooking the covered carport.

It’s an architectural feature that’s easily noticeable and immediately appealing from a distance. Apart from adding visual interest to the building’s external envelope, it allows plenty of fresh air and natural light, creating a relaxed ambience in the indoor living spaces.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Pursuant to the city ordinances in effect at present, only two sides of the exterior overlooking the traffic circle and the street below are permitted to have openings in the walls. The other two sides adjacent to neighboring buildings do not enjoy the same privilege.

However, what is lacking due to limitations is nicely compensated for by rooftop skylights that illuminate the stairwell and other parts at the rear of the home. It’s a practical solution that helps reduce electricity costs and protect against humidity damage over a long period of time.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
The third floor holds the family’s main living area.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Meanwhile, the other two sides have an unobstructed view of the roundabout and the street below. Climb another flight of stairs, and you come to the third floor holding the family’s main living area that’s protected by the feature wall of shimmering ceramic panels in muted shades of orange.

Together they provide a layer of insulation against heat and stress, protecting the gray concrete wall behind it. The ceramic panels that form the first line of defense are hinged on one side and swing open like doors to control light and winds passing through. The panels have grooves in them so as to drain stormwater fast in heavy rain.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
The upper branching of a tree rises through the void of space on the second floor, creating an oasis of calm and a focal point in the upstairs courtyard.
Home Office vietnam MAISON K
An impressively geometric facade projects from the building. Its feature wall is covered in multiple ceramic panels in subdued shades of orange. Hinged on one side, they swing open like doors to control air and light streaming into the interior, an architectural feature designed to create an indelible impression on people passing by.

All things considered, it’s a revolutionary idea that integrates greenery as an integral part of architectural design. Green spaces offer multiple health benefits. Among other things, they give the building its character, provide shade and improve air quality.

From a distance, they add visual interest to the urban space around the traffic circle. More so than anything else, it’s the lively green and orange façade that creates a gently calming effect for people passing by.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
Viewed from across the street in the nighttime, Maison K is a clean, well-lighted place created for health, comfort and security.

Architect: Nghia Architect (

Lead Architect: Nguyen Tuan Nghia

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MA Architects Office: Integrating Natural Features in Workspace Design

MA Architects Office: Integrating Natural Features in Workspace Design

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Paul Phan /

Overcrowding conditions in Ho Chi Minh City have given rise to both challenges and opportunities for the design team at MA Architects, a homegrown architectural practice in Vietnam. Back in the day, their office was on rental property with little to no room for flexibility. Albeit equipped with air conditioning and modern conveniences, the small workspace was lacking fresh air and ventilation, a far cry from the environment conducive to a relaxed atmosphere and creativity.

Coconut fiber coverings shield parts of the roof for best interior lighting and insulation.
The front façade in cool-toned gray stands sandwiched between a vacant lot and a tall building on the street corner.

Because of that, they decided to break out of the confined space into a home of their own. The new office stands sandwiched between two properties, a tall building on one side and a vacant lot on the other. Its front yard landscape is infused with green foliage.

Thoughtfully devised, the design atelier with an awesome cool gray façade is open to plenty of sunlight and fresh outdoor air plus trees and shrubbery. And the result of all this: a workplace ambience free from disturbance, one that’s good for staff’s ability to create and stay focused on their tasks.

The hallway holds a reception room that’s light and airy.

Bringing the outdoors inside, the office holds workspaces set on concrete slabs along one side and a strip of sand earth for in-ground gardening on the other.

The small, 100-square-meter office space is nestled in a peaceful city neighborhood. It occupies the full extent of a rectangular shaped lot measuring 5 by 20 meters.

The building has a narrow frontage to the street. Its external envelope is built of brick masonry plastered to form a smooth hard surface. In front of it, a small earthen terrace hemmed in by lush greenery provides a neat appearance.

An isometric drawing shows three principal dimensions of architectural features with elements of nature integrated in interior design. / Courtesy of MA Architects
An architectural drawing shows the positioning of natural elements in relation to upstairs and downstairs rooms. / Courtesy of MA Architects
In cross section, a side elevation drawing illustrates cross air flow patterns through the workspaces and under the roof. / Courtesy of MA Architects
Flashback: A photo collage shows stages of construction in chronological order. / Courtesy of MA Architects

Downstairs, a spacious workplace lies connected to a woodworking shop in the back of the building. The meeting room is upstairs that’s open to allow plenty of natural daylight and cool breezes into the interior.

Overhead, the trusses that support the roof are made entirely of timber covered by transparent corrugated roofing materials for best indoor lighting. Where appropriate, sections of the roof are protected by dry coconut fiber coverings for insulation from the sun’s harsh glare.

A woodworking shop occupies the back room, from which a staircase leads to the second-floor meeting room.
The woodworking shop lies on the earth floor with a kitchen and bathroom at the farthest end.

Because when it rains it pours in the Tropics, it makes perfect sense to plaster the entire building envelope. The hard and smooth surface goes to work protecting the building from extreme heat and wet weather all year round.

Although relatively small in size, the office interior crafted of wood is impressive thanks to an open-concept, well-ventilated layout. While dry coconut fiber coverings over the roof make the interior feel cool and dry, the uncovered part works like a skylight turning indoors into a well-lighted place.

Besides light and wind, the architect also integrated other elements of nature in the design, among them earthen floors that cover parts of the ground level. Only the workspace and kitchen floors are made of concrete slabs for ease of use and safety.

Nearby, earthen floors add a warm, natural feel to the interior with plenty of room for growing plants in-ground. As the architect puts it, being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, anything that brings a touch of nature, however small, is priceless.

The second-floor meeting room is open to natural daylight and connects to the trees.

A building material of choice, earthen flooring makes it possible to fill the interior with healthy green foliage along the entire wall. Earth and sand absorb and release some moisture, which contributes to a relaxed indoor ambience.

At the same time, vegetation in the front yard and decorative indoor plants both in ground and in containers go to work in tandem keeping the new office building cool and cozy just like home.

Architect: MA Architects (

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Bao Long Office: An Old Shophouse Beautifully Renovated

Bao Long Office: An Old Shophouse Beautifully Renovated

Bao Long Office: An Old Shophouse Beautifully Renovated

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Monosoda, Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Dam /

Major renovations have given a drafty old shophouse a new lease on life. Thanks to great remodeling ideas, the tired-looking two-unit shophouse on Su Van Hanh Street, Ho Chi Minh City, transformed into a beautiful place that struck the right balance between a business and a private residence. Designed by the architecture firm H.a + NQN, the completely refurbished premises are home to a private enterprise named Bao Long Office.

Bao Long Office

As is often the case with shophouses in Vietnam, each of the two units has a frontage of 3 meters. It’s in the shape of an elongated rectangle with a whopping 20-meter length sandwiched between adjacent units.

To create ample, well-ventilated interior space, the wall separating the two units was torn down and replaced with a newer, more modern version.

Bao Long Office’s plan was redesigned to accommodate new business concepts as well as residential and lifestyle needs. To protect the building’s structural integrity, the internal framework remained intact.

The same applied to the ground floor that housed a business selling stainless steel products. For a neat appearance, the entire front façade was glazed in, giving it charms and good looks that set it apart from others in the neighborhood. By night the face of the building is aglow under the lights.

Bao Long Office
Second-floor workspace and private living quarters are clearly separated from each other.

Bao Long Office

Decorated with healthy green foliage, the second-floor balcony provides a relaxed outdoor room and protects the home from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Located in a commercial zone, the store at ground level is understandably busy and the crowded street bustling with activity.

Climb a flight of stairs to the second floor, and you come to an impressive office space. The area on this level of Bao Long Office is divided into two parts. There’s a warm and welcoming workspace at the office on one side that’s clearly separated from private living quarters on the other.

Both parts are conveniently accessible via the balcony connected to the front façade. The second-floor outdoor platform is decorated with an oasis of calm that’s very pleasant to look at.

Ground Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a
First Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a
Second Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a


Bao Long Office
Double-height ceiling design offers open and pleasing tranquility to a long and narrow living room.

Bao Long Office

Section Drawing Courtesy of H.a

The office consists of a workroom and meeting room with simple interior décor. The walls are painted white symbolizing a new beginning and the floors covered in terrazzo.

There’s a custom work table with drafting stools that runs parallel to the wall and stretches the entire length of the room.

The atmosphere is strikingly different from the calming space of nearby private living quarters. To create a homely atmosphere, the living room has a small beverage bar with pantries customized to the homeowner’s hosting style.

At the farthest end lies a peaceful sitting area decorated with deep colors that match the dark surfaces of terrazzo floors, concrete walls, and rustic walnut furniture.

Softened by the dim light, it’s a relaxation technique to create warmth and reduce stress in the home.

Bao Long Office
The homeowner’s sitting room on the third floor is quiet and secluded.

At the same time, a section of the upper floor was taken out to make room for an entrance hall with double-height ceiling design. Not far away, a set of stairs was installed to connect to the homeowner’s secluded living quarters on the top floor.

The private residential zone comes complete with a bedroom with en suite bath, sitting room, and dressing room.

Bao Long Office

A staircase painted orange creates an unexpected playful contrast with the calmness of a small interior space.

Painted a shade of orange color, the steel staircase leads from the ground level, where the retail store is located, all the way to the private residential zone on the top floor of Bao Long Office. Its playful design is intended to express pleasure and joy in everyday life.

You got that right! It’s part of a home improvement project designed to make life more fun. It serves the primary purpose of getting house occupants from one floor to the next, and it’s done in a unique, stylish way.

Architect: H.a ( + NQN. (

The article is an excerpt from “Home Office / Home Studio,” a book that compiles ideas on integrating “home” with “workspace” to create a comfortable and suitable environment for small companies, startups, and creative individuals.

You can find it at leading bookstores throughout Thailand or order it through various online channels.


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A Renovation in Sync with the Times: Beautiful Mixed-Use Home Office in Petaling Jaya

3 x 9 House: A Compact Renovated Row House in HCMC

A Renovation in Sync with the Times: Beautiful Mixed-Use Home Office in Petaling Jaya

A Renovation in Sync with the Times: Beautiful Mixed-Use Home Office in Petaling Jaya

/ Petaling Jaya, Malaysia /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

Working from home has become one of the various alternative methods of doing business in the aftermath of a Coronavirus pandemic that took the world by surprise in 2019. Adapting to change, the architecture firm Essential Design Integrated (EDI) interestingly transformed its office in Petaling Jaya into a multi-use space that blended with its downtown business communities. The updated package put a home office and living quarters on the upper floors, while the floor at ground level was rented out to a business selling soy milk pudding.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

A Renovation Improves Light and Ventilation

Facing the New Normal, the property owner thought it was time to renovate to serve a new purpose. To begin with, there were two main problems in the original design that had to be resolved – light and ventilation.

The single-unit home plan was an elongated rectangle set along the east-west axis. It was 21 meters long with the usual narrow frontage to the street. As to be expected, the interior living spaces were dimly lit during daylight hours and ventilation was poor.

So, to create a bright and airy open-concept house plan, most of the room dividers had to be torn down. In no time, a restoration of the shop house that was part of a 40-year-old traditional building block was completed in a way that fitted beautifully into the bustling commercial neighborhood.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

An Open Glass Façade Decorated with Plants

Chan Mun Inn and Wong Pei San, the two architects who designed it, said that initially the renovation project was completed a few months prior to the outbreak of Covid-19. At the time the interior was decorated with the lush greenery of a vertical garden on every floor.

Suddenly the Coronavirus disease came and social distancing became the norm. Everyone was keeping to himself. Soon the gorgeous gardens withered away and died due to lack of care.

The job of remodeling the home had to be done again differently. In so doing, the green spaces were revived to create positive energy and relaxation. This is evident in beautiful balcony garden ideas both in front and at the rear, plus the redesigned open glass façade that takes in natural daylight, fresh outdoor air and views of the city landscape.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Urban balcony gardens serve multiple purposes. Besides taking in the view, they double as privacy screens, filter out the sun’s harsh glare, admit natural daylight into the home and control ventilation, to name but a few.

To capitalize on vertical space, climbers and hanging plants are grown alongside an array of foliage plants that thrive in containers. Not long ago herbs, including mint and basil, were added to the mix.

The path along the front staircase is marked with container gardens at intervals. There are openings in the wall to let natural daylight shine through. To create a positive atmosphere, the entrance hall is illuminated by a moon-shaped chandelier, which can be seen from the outside.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Home Office in Petaling Jaya

Serving a Dual Purpose as a Home and an Office

Mimicking an open-concept home plan, the third floor comprises a sitting room, eating room and kitchen arranged in a way that improves traffic flows. Its space within a space design allows each area to easily change to respond to altered circumstances.

Take for example, the sitting room can transform into a workspace with coffee readily available. The meeting room can change into an eating room when not in use.

Home Office in Petaling Jaya
Like home, the office on the third floor is simple but cozy and comfortable.
A living room-style kitchen island can easily change into a workspace if need be.

Across from the extra-long conference table there are storage shelves that double as stadium seating for fun team meeting ideas. There’s a floor-to-ceiling foldable partition that separates and protect the conference room from noises when a meeting is in progress.

The fully functional kitchen that lies at the farthest end can change into a venue for social gathering or a workspace if need be. The kitchen island is also good for work or spend time solo.

The third-floor meeting room becomes a dining room when not in use.

On the layout of the third floor, Chan Mun Inn said:

“The chief architect likes it here better than other places because it’s a flexible workspace. Come by and settle into a quiet corner, bring out a notebook and enjoy the peace and quiet.

“If there’s a meeting going on, simply escape to the nearby coffee shop. People can work at any place and from anywhere.”

Home Office in Petaling Jaya
The top floor is home to the perfect office space.

For the sake of convenience, there is another set of stairs at the rear that connects to lavatories on every floor. The second, third and fourth floors contain workspaces dedicated to teams of architects and interior designers, while the ground floor is rented out to a business selling soy milk pudding.

All things considered, it’s a renovation carefully planned to blend seamlessly into the surrounding downtown business landscape. The architecture firm that starts from the second floor is easily accessible via the front staircase.

Architect Wong Pei San wrapped it up nicely. He said that essentially the renovation package was about “bringing home to the office”.

It represented a complete rethink of the firm’s strategies to do what was right and appropriate under the present circumstances. The results were gratifying, which earned the architecture firm a Gold Medal award from the Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers in 2021. Congratulations on a job well done!

Architect: EDI (Essential Design Integrated) (

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MP House: Striking the Right Balance between Jobs and Home

MP House: Striking the Right Balance between Jobs and Home

/ Tangerang, Indonesia /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English Version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Arti Pictures /

A house plan that combines living spaces and a home office could be just what you’re looking for. Here’s the home of a designer couple in Tangerang, a city half-an-hour’s drive from central Jakarta, that illustrates this. Known as MP House, it marries work-from-home essentials with well-planned living spaces that come loaded with personality.


The secret to a productive daily routine, the house plan combines residential and home office functions into a uniform whole. The workspace occupies the first floor that also includes a split-level lower floor, while the quiet and peaceful residential area is placed on the level above it.

The ample living area in itself is divided into two parts. Semi‐private spaces such as the living room and dining room take up the front part of the house, whereas more secluded places and bedrooms are located at the rear designed for rest and relaxation.



The first floor has a dry courtyard garden that separates the home office area from guest and kids’ rooms tucked away at the rear of the house plan. Healthy green foliage in the yard doubles as engine that drives natural ventilation and provides a light and heat barrier. And the result of MP House is a calm and peaceful indoor environment that’s the key to a happy family life in Tangerang.

In a sensitive and practical way, an indoor ramp with handrail is put in as an alternative to a set of stairs to provide access between different levels. The inclined plane is particularly useful for the homeowner’s aging parents. Plus, it’s the split-level house plan that makes the most effective use of available space.

There is a real sense of achievement in the way the living room and dining room combine into one large lounge with comforting earth tones and double-height ceilings. It’s a place to eat home-cooked meals and enjoy family conversations that help keep everyone together. Semi-private by design, the ample social interaction space is well-lit and well-ventilated.


The house boasts a modern envelope and perforated brick façade overlooking a dry garden located just above the carport. The decorative breeze blocks are chosen for their ability to provide sun protection and maintain openness and airflow.

In the meantime, flat masonry textures that are repetitive and earthy in color provide a variety of light refraction that adds aesthetic pleasure to the interior living space.

A dry courtyard garden separates the home office from kids’ rooms tucked away at the rear.
The breeze block façade looks out over a dry garden above the carport.

Taking everything into account, the house under a gable roof provides plenty of ample spaces to serve functional and aesthetic purposes. MP House in Tangerang strikes the right balance between office work and home life, creating a perfect combination that feels cozy, comfortable and roomy.

Architect: TIES (

Lead Architects: Sansan & Tritya

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Workspace Ideas for Freelancers

Workspace Ideas for Freelancers

Armed with technology, the right skills, and a can-do attitude, more people are working freelance from home now. If being independent is your style, here are some ideas for your workspace.

/// ASEAN ///
Story: Ronnapa Nit, Ektida N., Gobbi Chirawat, Monosoda, Osatee



– Natural light matters –

Studies have shown that exposure to natural light improves performance in the workplace, not to mention overall well-being. Avoid the pain and discombobulated feelings that come with working in dim light conditions or under fluorescent lights during daylight hours. It’s a good idea to set up a workspace near windows. But too much sun exposure can make your eyes weary. So, windows should be on the side or behind your desk, or you can hang curtains to block out the heat and minimize glare. Reflections on walls and your computer screens can cause eye strain. Remember. Sunshine is healthy in moderation.



– Clever update under the stairs –

Don’t hesitate to experiment with new design updates if you live in a small house. You are only limited by your own imagination. Thinking unconventionally, you can turn the nook under the stairs into a hip workspace. That little space there has enough room for a 40-centimeter-wide work desk. Put in a few electrical outlets over the desktop for easy access, and you are good to go. Facing solid walls may make you feel boxed in, but the trade-off is worth it. You get a lot done in the comfort of your home.



– Take it to the next level, literally –

Living in a home with high ceilings, you have the advantage of vertical space that can be updated to serve a wide variety of functions. How about putting in a mezzanine and use it as your private workspace? You may need to install extra layers of ceiling insulation because it’s slightly warmer up there, especially as temperatures increase during the day.



– A little privacy counts a lot –

Working from home has its disadvantages. Some freelances find it hard to stay focused since it’s easy to get distracted by all kinds of things and people, from kids to family members to next door neighbors. Calm the distractions by putting in glass partitions or window coverings. A good way to keep the blaring and talking noises out, heavy curtains promote a sense of concentration and a little privacy. No more hustling to the workplace every day, you have more time for the family.



– Make it fun and creative –

Say, you have a home with double high ceilings, but you don’t like the standard mezzanine because the floor is too thick. Go for something more exciting and creative. At three meters high, put in a hammock-style rope mesh suspended by cords at the ends. Soon you find yourself airborne chilling out in the comfort of your home. Researching in the supine position makes your brain work smarter and lightning fast. But if you’re a freelance musician, it is a good idea to soundproof your room properly before your start rehearsing.



– Straightforward down-to-earth approach –

If all else fails, you can always get work done on the floor. That looks to be a sensible solution where office furniture is scarce and hard to come by. Just don’t make yourself too comfortable. It’s important to stay motivated if you want to work from home. Make sure your “shop floor” is adequately lit.

From Unexciting Shophouse to Smart Home Office in HCMC

From Unexciting Shophouse to Smart Home Office in HCMC

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Dam /

Home offices are trendy nowadays. Given thoughtful planning, a dull shophouse can transform into a fashionable dwelling and place of business. The results are illustrated in this home office that looks to be one of the trendiest in Ho Chi Minh City.

home office in HCMC

The new design integrates a modern living space and a home office with a factory producing handcrafted leather goods. The house’s front façade is filled up with elaborate structural rod systems reminiscent of a giant labyrinth of beautiful needlework, albeit built of brick and steel.

It’s only recently that a homeowner couple acquired this downtown retail space and later decided to give it a complete makeover. “This house means everything to us because it’s the fruit of constant efforts to pursue our dreams,” said the young couple with an active lifestyle.

home office in HCMC


home office in HCMC

“For a product to be successful, say a handbag, it takes many processes involving fastidious needlework,” said the owners comparing their manufacturing job to that of the architect.

“Like meticulous craftsmen, the architect carefully puts together different parts to make a home, mixing old pieces with new ones, replacing unneeded features with practical strategies, and relying on well-thought-out plans to use every ingredient effectively, be it wood, brick, concrete, metal or even trees.”


home office in HCMC

home office in HCMC

In a way, this pretty much explains the elaborate structural rod systems that fill up the redesigned front façade. Elsewhere, parts of the walls and flooring deemed to be unnecessary were removed to make room for new ideas.

The remodeled front and rear facades showcase a multitude of steel cube frames welded together to look like a web of fine threads being “sewn” together to fill the void between two side walls.

The welded steel rod paneling is painted white and decorated with climbing plants thriving in full sun. Despite its slender appearance, the design is strong enough for home protection, at the same time creating a light and airy ambience for both indoors and outdoors.

home office in HCMC

Among other things, the old concrete stairway was removed to prevent the indoors from feeling stale and stifling. Then, a new set of airy stairs with no risers between the treads was put in place instead.

For a lightweight look, stair railings were crafted of steel rods painted white with wood treads in complementing shades. The uplifting design rendered the staircase looking as if it were hovering above the floor.


In the kitchen and dining area, a long curvy counter stands in contrast to the stillness of rough brick texture on the wall. All in all, clever design has transformed an unexciting shophouse interior into a home office that looks to be one of the trendiest in Ho Chi Minh City.

home office in HCMC

Architect: Block Architects (

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The Clever Home Office Restoration of Studio Bikin

The Clever Home Office Restoration of Studio Bikin

/ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia /

/ Story: Supachart Boontang / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

Every teardown has an impact on the look and feel of the environment in which you live. If you find your suburban home outdated, perhaps this renovation of Studio Bikin’s home office is an inspiring way to breathe new life into it.

Studio Bikin

Studio Bikin

This two-story house is the home office of Farah Azizan, co-founder of Studio Bikin. It is located in Bangsar, a residential suburb on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

“The house was built in 1950, almost seventy years ago. The structure is solid, and everything else is in good shape,” said Azizan.

“There is a simple, timeless elegance to it. So, I decided to do a complete renovation, combining a home and an office in one.”

Studio Bikin


Studio Bikin


Azizan tried to keep all existing elements and structural integrity intact, making the house capable of withstanding the desired loads for long life.

Metal grilles on the windows and doors and floor tiles were left the way they have always been. To create an airy interior living space, parts of the walls on the first floor were removed.

Meantime, glass louvers were retained to aid in heat dissipation, improve air circulation, and allow plenty of natural daylight.


The owner added the loft style to the design by putting in cracked concrete wall textures for a little bit of a grungy, urban feel. Special techniques helped make the ceilings and walls look interesting.

This was achieved by lining the mold with plastic wraps before concrete was poured. Wrinkles in plastic sheets left their marks on concrete surfaces resulting in aesthetically pleasing textures.

Tricky space staircase: The treads may differ in shapes and sizes from one step to the other, but the stairs are safe to use.
Tricky space staircase: The treads may differ in shape and size from one step to the other, but the stairs are safe to use.

Studio Bikin

Studio Bikin

The decorating style is anything but obvious. The interior space of Studio Bikin’s home office boasts a mix-and-match style that goes together well with a modern loft ambience.

This is evident in a set of a teakwood sofa and leather butterfly chairs, and shelving filled with glistening utensils silhouetted against a textured concrete wall.


The handsome abode has been home to more than one generation, yet there is a timeless elegance to it. The house of Studio Bikin has undergone complete renovation for comfortable living with modern amenities. Clever home improvement hacks have made it unique, trendy and cool in its own special way.

Studio Bikin



Owner/Designer: Farah Azizan of Studio Bikin (


Mash-up: Industrial Design and Green Space of Walllasia

Mash-up: Industrial Design and Green Space of Walllasia

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Monosoda / Rewriter: Phattaraphon / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Nantiya, Jirasak /

Cold black steel may not seem an obvious pairing for green plants, but one award-winning architect of Walllasia has matched the two in a unique and impressive way.


“Steel and the natural world present an interesting conflict to me,” said Suriya Umpansirirat, winner of the Silpathorn Architectural Award and owner of the design studio Walllasia.

“My childhood home was a rice mill in Phatthalung. I grew up playing ‘fix this, fix that’ in an industrial plant, but set in the midst of trees my father had planted.”

Adding to his compact two-storey house, he used a unique design based on childhood memories. The rawness of the black steel comes across as part and parcel of nature, meshing easily with the green leaves all about. Structural lines here are simple and straightforward, but full of architectural finesse.



When Suriya needed to expand his 64-square-meter townhouse, he bought and annexed the house directly behind, allowing no more width but creating two times the depth.

Between the two, he created a courtyard where the sun shines in. A metal frame is set like a ring around the courtyard, separating the two structures without physically attaching them to each other.



Every spot in the house has many varieties of plants and trees, looking as though they have sprung up naturally.

There is an automatic drip irrigation system which prevents water waste and also saves a lot of gardening time.


A workshop for artifacts and inventions. A big bike sits, waiting for a ride.
A workshop for artifacts and inventions. A big bike sits, waiting for a ride.

Suriya’s passion for nature’s fine details complements another side of him, which has him creating fine crafts in the workshop. His own artworks and a plethora of inventions and artifacts have become part of the house.

This award-winning architect of Walllasia has also done a lot of work on many religious sites, and this influence keeps his home a “work in progress”, never entirely finished, and saturated with Buddhist concepts and thought.

“Religion is about how to deal with human life,” he spoke about his inspiration.

“Each religion has a philosophy for finding happiness. Architecture grows from that: how can we express our own esthetics without encroaching on others? I tried to design this house to look simple and straightforward, for comfortable living without too many frills. For me, practical considerations are what’s important.”

Perhaps for a person of passion, practical living shouldn’t involve hoarding or accumulating, but reduction, or letting go instead, until what is left is the core essence of a home.

His concept: a house like a vase of flowers that’s also a car repair garage.

Owner/Architect: Suriya Umpansirirat of Walllasia (

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Brilliant Home Office Combination of Studiomake

Brilliant Home Office Combination of Studiomake

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamrith / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Ritthirong Janthongsuk / Styling: Pakawadee Pahulo /

Despite the building being long and narrow, a team of architects at Studiomake managed to turn it into a perfect home office integration that would inspire productivity. The Bangkok-based team of designers, architects and educators is known for its specialized skills and experience in various types of architecture.

Home Office

When it came to designing their own home office, Orapan Sarasalin Schafer and David Schafer opted for an architectural steel design for its lightweight look that’s right for the prevailing climate in Thailand. It’s a layout that emphasizes an open, uncluttered living space with plenty of wall openings, windows and doors for good ventilation and heat dissipation.

Home Office
Furniture in the workspace is movable. It can be easily arranged to avoid visual clutter and improve traffic flow, lighting and air quality.

By design, the building performs a dual role. The first floor holds a fully equipped office space, while the second floor is used as a residence. Overall, it’s thoughtfully devised planning made easily adjustable for future updates. The crossbeams resting across the tops of columns support weigh over an extra long span, five meters to be exact.

Home office design offers many benefits, among them the freedom to create the ideal work space like the owners intended, plus the peace and quiet that suits their lifestyle needs.

Home Office
[Left] The work space is well lighted thanks to generous wall openings that let natural daylight stream into the interior. / [Right] A floor standing wall-mounted bookcase made of steel is designed by the homeowners. For practical purposes, the bookends are adjustable.
Home Office

The workshop boasts high ceilings for better ventilation, plus it has ample space for equipment and tools needed to perform various tasks.

Home Office

There is attention to detail in all parts, especially the integration of natural elements like plants and light into the built environment, making the interior work space feel light, airy and conducive to creativity. And they don’t come by accident. Rather, every building strategy and material is tested first to see if it’s suitable for a particular application.

This helps to understand whether a specific material is right for the task, plus it narrows down the choices to the best selection. And the same careful consideration applies to both upstairs and downstairs. Examples of this include high ceilings and a wall of bookshelves designed to maximize work space utilization.

Taken as a whole, the lower floor contains a fully functional work space and offices, while the upper floor in and of itself is a complete home, consisting of two bedrooms with a bathroom en suite, a relaxing living room, kitchen and dining room.

Home Office
The headboard in subdued bluish gray color separates the main bedroom area from the dressing room. High ceiling design creates a sense of space making the room feel light and airy.
Home Office
Rooms on the second floor are accessed via a wide corridor with room for a small dining space and a nook beside the wall offering peace and seclusion.
The translucent sheet seen here is of polycarbonate, which allows light to pass through, but not exposed to the outside.

With respect to the office area, the floor plan is simple and straightforward. Electrical wiring is neatly installed and piped to various locations hidden from view. The pillars supporting the tall vertical structure of steel are evenly spaced for proper load bearing, while the building façades are made attractive by crisp clean lines.

For indoor thermal comfort, important aspects such as heat insulation, soundproofing, and ventilation are carefully thought out and incorporated in the design. In the fewest possible words, it’s all about attention to detail that makes this modern home office a perfect place to be. Brilliant!

Home Office
The steel building looks lightweight. It’s made strong and durable using semi-industrial materials, an interesting way to refresh the home’s curb appeal.

Owner/Architect: Studiomake (

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