Lookbox Living Issue #56
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Do we really need walls in the home?

With the rise of the open-concept trend, an interior designer, a design professor and a homeowner weigh in on the pros and cons of having walls in the home.

Text by Aditi Gaitonde Fernandez
Top image: Interior design by Sazeli Jalal

The small homes movement combined with the popular open-concept trend that promotes fewer walls has got us wondering: Could walls become redundant someday? Hear what an interior designer, a design professor and a homeowner have to say.

walls_home_EHKA_Studio
Interior design by EHKA Studio

YES
Interior Designer, Hsu Hsia Pin
EHKA Studio

“I think walls are still needed. While we all love the feeling of open-plan spaces, life actually requires moments of privacy, separation, and concealment. Walls give us quiet rooms to sleep and study in, spaces for private conversations, and are needed to conceal our mess,” says Hsia Pin.

The interior designer believes that most of us are enticed by the look of an open-concept home, but once we live in them, we might begin to appreciate some form of partitioning. As a designer, Hsia Pin is more interested in a form of nuanced porosity where spaces can be more ambiguous – closed yet open, defined yet fluid, structured yet flexible.

Walls_Home_Open_plan_Dazingfeelsgood
Interior design by Dazingfeelsgood

NO
Professor of interior design, Rodrigo Buelvas
SCAD Hong Kong

Professor Buelvas believes that walls are not absolutely necessary for the home. While they play a crucial role, one can also opt for alternative solutions. Screens, curtains or glass partitions can be styled creatively in a home, allowing for an interesting and multi-purpose use of the space.

Although open versus divided space is a subjective topic that depends on living and working culture, he personally prefers open-plan spaces, and he believes that walls or no walls, spaces are becoming more integrated and flexible.

Walls_home_open_plan_apartment
Aaron de Silva’s home. Interior design by Artistroom

YES for small apartments, especially for singles or couples
Homeowner, Aaron de Silva

Aaron, a journalist, lives in an open-concept 775sqft home that’s tailor-made for him. He believes that walls are necessary for some situations and areas like the bedroom and bathroom, but adds, “In a small flat like mine, the lack of walls creates a sense of spaciousness and enhances cross-ventilation. I can keep my flat as open and ‘public’ as I want, like during big parties. I can also close and contain it for more intimate gatherings with family and friends.”

He recommends open-concept living for singles or couples who are living in small apartments. “But if there are more family members or housemates, I think privacy would be important,” he adds.

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