Located on Kowloon’s Nathan Road, this newly launched property designed by Charlie & Rose is a fresh-faced hybrid of serviced apartment and coliving concepts.
December 31st, 2018
The Nate is District 15’s newest endeavour; it’s the boutique Hong Kong property developer’s second foray into the serviced apartment market, but this time, it’s doing things quite differently.
First time around, Founders Alex Bent and Dinesh Nihalchand created Kush in 2005, setting themselves apart from the more established players by catering to a younger, more dynamic audience: executives aged 23 to 40. They also positioned Kush apartments in areas that were up-and-coming, placing convenience stores and art galleries on the ground floors of their buildings in order to create community.
Building community in Hong Kong neighbourhoods is part of District 15’s mission. Since exiting Kush in 2010, District 15 has focused on mixed-use retail, office and F&B developments with a difference, such as Yat Fu Lane and Warehouses on West.
With The Nate, Bent and Nihalchand are returning to their serviced apartment roots, presenting 71 compact studios of 125 to 260 square feet in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Each of the spaces has been beautifully designed by Charlie & Rose in shades such as rose, mint, emerald and charcoal combined with concrete, plus warm elements of wood and brass.
As well as taking a friendlier approach to design, The Nate differs from Kush in a number of ways. Co-living mindsets have informed the layout and functionality of the space, with communal areas available for residents to gather in. Another point of difference this time around is that you can book and pay online, with minimum stays of one month.
District 15’s new approach is obviously working: less than a month after opening in November 2018, occupancy was at 65 per cent. Here, Bent talks about what drove them to get back into serviced apartments and the shift he’s seen in terms of what people want from their living space.
Why did you decide to get into the serviced apartment space again?
The impetus to do The Nate was that we thought there was not much comfortable, well designed, clean and flexible serviced accommodation in that HK$17,000 to HK$25,000 range.
One of the things we learned when we had serviced apartments previously was that very few residents used their kitchen. So for The Nate, we made sure every resident had their own bathrooms, but we set up common kitchens on the communal floor. We then put the additional budget we had from not fitting individual kitchens into making the studios as comfortable as possible.
Why did you decide to go with Charlie & Rose on this project?
[Ben McCarthy, Owner of Charlie & Rose] had mostly worked on F&B and most of his work has a fun, laid-back, whimsical style to it, which we liked.
We also liked the fact that he hadn’t done much residential work because we thought he would have a different viewpoint and approach to a residential project, seeing it in a fresh light versus other designers who have spent more time in the residential space.
What was your brief to them?
Our brief was very simple. It was to create a fun, unpretentious environment. We wanted residents to treat the whole building as their home and not only enjoy the privacy of their studios but also to be able to go to the roof and common areas whenever they wanted.
Which spaces are working best now that The Nate is open?
The communal area on the 12/F seems to be quite popular with residents. It’s very open, with a great view above Kowloon park and across to Central, so this makes the space feel airy and light and it’s a good place to chill out at the end of the day.
We purposely placed the communal area on the top floor, so that all the residents could enjoy the view, and also because they could then more easily go up to the roof garden one floor up. We want the common areas to be used as an extension to all the residents’ studios and that has been the general use so far.
How did your experience with Kush influence your design for The Nate? And now, nearly over a decade later, what’s different about the way people live?
Kush was very much luxury serviced apartments in a different part of town, so the brief for that design some 14 years ago was to be bold, sexy and stylish. We ended up using a lot of marble, black wooden floors and mirror stainless steel. The apartments were also much bigger as well, so we had big comfy sofas with BOSE entertainment systems so it very much fit that ‘luxury brief’.
People nowadays don’t necessarily respond to that materiality and that direction the way they used to. So even though the Nate Studios are smaller than the Kush apartments, in many ways they are homelier and more comfortable.
I also think people want to be part of a community more than they used to; hence we made sure all the communal areas at The Nate were given the same amount of thought design-wise as the studios. The idea of building big communal areas in Kush never even crossed our mind back in 2006/2007.
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