Incorporating kid-friendly features into a fully functional adult space can be a challenging proposition for an interior designer — regardless of whether we’re talking about actual children or the perpetually young at heart. After all, it’s not just the under-eighteen set that loves to play with LEGOs, whizz down slides, and show off their collections of Star Wars memorabilia. But a playful spirit doesn’t preclude a certain maturity, especially when it comes to modern residential aesthetics. Based in Taiwan, HAO Design Studio exemplifies the motto “have your cake and eat it, too” with their beautiful, fun-filled spaces.
HAO aims to create interiors that improve their clients’ lives, noting that “a good space is not necessarily luxurious.” What’s more important is warmth, customization, and optimized interactions between users and the spaces they call home. Each one of their interior design projects has a name that tells you something about it, like “Outer Space for Kids,” “The LEGO Play Pond,” “Block Village,” and “The Family Playground.”
Let’s start with the “LEGO Play Pond,” a beautiful contemporary home that’s been accented by the colorful plastic bricks we know and love. Not only has HAO designed entire walls out of LEGO bases, LEGO-inspired art, and oversized LEGO brick details throughout the home, but they have also built a sunken ball pit into the living room. Not a bad place to grow up, huh?
“Outer Space for Kids” takes the simple elegance of Japanese style and adds a touch of the interstellar, while “Block Village” takes inspiration from wooden building blocks to subdivide a small apartment with pine plywood cutouts. “Recall Casa” is a decidedly masculine home with a surprising soft spot for feline residents, with secret passageways and private window nooks built into the design just for them.
“Marvel’s Safe House” hints at a superpower-enhanced resident with a few subtle but effective design tweaks, like the bent bars around Captain America’s shield on a built-in bookcase. The rest of the design, however, is fairly restrained. “Our client, single and a 30-year-old engineer, purchased his first apartment and committed us,” HAO explains. “After his doing a lot of research, he came to us and hoped to have a home with a natural cement-based environment for him to relax after long busy work. We see this house as a hero’s house and combined some industrial elements.”
“Amusement Casa” lives up to its name with a family-focused design full of fun. A rope swing hangs from the ceiling of this light-filled space, which itself has been organized around a central island where everyone can gather. But the best part by far is the entire section of the living room that’s made to child scale, starting with a retractible staircase built into the bookcase leading up to a loft.
The family’s daughter can climb up the stairs, play in the loft, slide down to the kitchen, take a nap in her own private nook, and then start all over again — and when she’s worn herself out from running the loop, her parents can simply slide the stairs into the wall.
Doesn’t it make you want to commission HAO Design to make your interior design dreams come true?