Sixteenth High: Edwin Uy Maximizes a Small Space

December 19, 2012

Sixteenth High

Have you grabbed a copy of this season’s Condo Living issue?

I am grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of it. I contributed the article, Sixteenth High, featuring a 50-square meter apartment designed by Architect Edwin Uy:


Edwin Uy Maximizes a Small Space with a Tight Budget

Sixteen floors high in Two Serendra in Global City, lies a one-bedroom apartment designed by Cagayan de Oro’s most sought-after architect, Edwin D. Uy. As he shares the challenges he tackled while working on this 50-square meter project, his solutions reveal helpful advice on a challenge faced by most condo dwellers—a small space.

The Architect

Once I was given the opportunity to speak to Ed, my curiosity made me ask: “I read on the web that you are the most sought-after architect in Cagayan de Oro. Why is that? How long have you been practicing?” He humbly overlooked the first question and answered, “I started in 2003, more than three years after I graduated in 1999.”

Nearly a decade in the industry, Edwin draws inspiration from the modern design style of the 1950s and its geometrical patterns for most of his projects, including this apartment designed for a Hong Kong based client.

The Challenge & Ed’s Solution

Ed’s client didn’t know exactly how she wanted the apartment to be designed. Providing Ed with a pennywise budget, all she requested was that every inch of the space be maximized.

Given the challenge, while aiming for a warm and cozy ambience, Ed kept the color palette light and airy, choosing light neutrals for the walls and furniture, and using darker colors sparingly as accents.

Despite the limited space, Ed managed to provide seating for at least eight people to sit comfortably in the main area—not counting the multi-purpose bench, which could easily seat three or four more!

The focal point of the living are is the wall beside the sofa, which Ed decorated with circles cut out from plyboard, half of which are painted smooth, and half mounted with mirrors. Ed says, “It is unlike typical mirrors in most condos; it’s feminine and playful.” The circular elements soften the look of the boxy space, while the mirrors reflect light and help give the room the impression of a larger area.

In contrast, the opposite wall is accented by horizontal shelving. The dark horizontal lines on the horizontal plane have a calming and stabilizing effect. Although the shelves provide lots of space for displaying collectibles and knick-knacks, the owner opted to keep the shelves bare, maintaining the Zen-like feel of the area.

Ed’s Advice on Small Spaces

Consider everything. Choose the right furniture. Ed says, “Many dwellers collect everything they like, whether they look good together or not.” Go for light, bright and airy colors; dark colors should be used as accents only. “Paint is a big consideration when designing condo units.” Colors and the amount of light in a room affect not only mood, but also one’s sense of well-being.

His last word of advice is: “Consult with designers. They’re experts in planning spaces, considering measurements, and knowledgeable in maximizing every inch.”


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