My design space: High up in the clouds

Graphic designer Alan Lee shows us round his tiny, lofty Hong Kong apartment, inspired by Soviet-era Estonia

On the outskirts of Hong Kong, an apartment on the 46th floor of a 60-storey skyscraper has been the base for Monogum Creative, aka graphic designer Alan Lee, for the past three years.

The compact size of the flat means that Lee’s office space doubles up as his living room. “Everything is very tiny. I think this is the unique characteristic in Hong Kong,” Lee says. This is where he not only works, but eats, reads and plays guitar, and there’s a corner dedicated to making things from leather (1): “It’s a good way to release some pressure, especially when I get stuck in the middle of the design process,” he explains.

What the office lacks in free space it makes up for in spectacular views (2). “The mountain view is gorgeous, and all that green is very good for the eyes after hours of work in front of monitor,” Lee says. “It freaks me out when I look down, though!”

The apartment’s location, five minutes from the airport, suits Lee’s increasingly international client list. The global nature of his work is also reflected in the eclectic gallery above his desk: alongside Lee’s various design awards (3) hangs a folder icon documents holder from Bangkok (4), and David Bowie and Bernard Butler vinyl purchased on London’s Brick Lane (5).

The main inspiration behind the interior style, however, was a Soviet-era woodblock printing studio that Lee came across on a trip to Estonia. Upon his return, he started redecorating his own space, mixing vintage paraphernalia, including a 70s desk lamp (6) picked up on the cheap in a Berlin flea market, with a clean, modern style.

“I painted the window frames in white and put some stuff onto the wall. Now my desktop is a mixture of old and new,” Lee smiles.