Heidar Sadeki on spatial narratives, the design process, and common misconceptions about small spaces.

Translating design principles across spaces and cultures requires a nuanced understanding of their location and contexts – a skill almost natural to the duo at Richardson Sadeki, the award-winning design studio co-founded by Heidar Sadeki and Clarissa Richardson.

Heidar Sadeki (Photography by LIT MA COMMON LIMITED)

The New York-based firm has offices in Los Angeles, Miami and Hong Kong; they’ve worked on projects in London, Las Vegas, and Abu Dhabi, with a special focus on high-end residences and hotels. Heidar shares his views on compact spaces, luxury design and everything in between.

Our company’s creative philosophy heavily relies on the contextual elements of each project. This is pivotal in informing our design process, as it reveals the parameters. From a formalistic point of view, we borrow from other creative fields such as art, literature and cinema. We have especially relied on cinematic grammar to achieve narration and movement within the spaces we design.

Rise Residences in Miami

Designing for Hong Kong, Dubai or New York does not differ in terms of my approach, but it differs significantly in terms of process. My approach is to create a spatial narrative, while my process involves connecting the narrative to the context. I am not a ‘signature’ architect, but a ‘contextual’ architect. My work varies in different geographies, contexts, and places. What drives my work is an understanding of how I might be able to contextualise design. 

Hong Kong is unique in that it is so densely populated, yet it has such a luscious green backdrop. I find the juxtaposition of the urban fabric against The Peak rather magical, which is why throughout The Morgan Sky Duplex (top image), we have framed the mountain views with large windows to take full advantage of its surroundings and to add a sense of drama. 

3 Julia Avenue in Hong Kong

There seems to be a common belief that a light colour palette works better in small spaces. I believe the opposite. In general, I find that dark colours are warm and light colours are cold. I also feel that a darker colour palette creates more depth in a space. 

I think well-designed small spaces are sexy. For small homes, you need to consider combining and overlapping programmes and spaces. For example, if we were to combine the functions of a bookshelf, a door, and a wall, we could create a mobile wall that also offers the functions needed. 

Taikoo Place Apartments in Hong Kong

To reflect a sense of luxury when decorating, refer to a painting or a photograph you like to select a colour palette. Avoid using too many colours or textures. Don’t shy away from buying expensive art, fashion, and photography books – they can significantly change a space’s aura. Use sheer curtains in front of windows to soften a space.


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