Designs, and owners, turn their hands to pet-friendly solutions - Home interiors are increasingly being adapted to accommodate furry family friends in style and comfort
Let's face it: pets are no longer just pets, but rather increasingly demanding members of the family, with their own needs and proclivities. And in tight urban living spaces like Hong Kong, pet-inclusive design has particular challenges to take on.
Pets are registering increasingly on the radars of interior and product designers, with 'less is more' as their mantra. Take Akemi Tanaka-Blanchard, a furniture designer in New York who has found a keen following for her Curve cat ledge.
The slim wall-mounted bed - a single piece of wood - is a space saver that provides cats with sleep and play space somewhere other than under-foot.
Tanaka offers it in a variety of finishes with snap-on cushions in a range of colours and fabrics, which means that it can be unobtrusive, or an eye-catching addition to a room. "I do think the pet design industry is growing here and abroad," says the designer, though she notes that this has taken some time.
"Curve is the result of my own frustration with pet products currently on the market," she adds. "I could not find furniture for my cats that would mesh with my own [and] not scream crazy cat lady. Curve was designed for pet owners who aren't willing to sacrifice style."
A broad range of innovations on the pet-perch theme are now on the market for design-conscious owners, some doubling as climbable ledges leading to high-level cat flaps (for upper floors with access to exterior ledges for example), others simply providing snooze nooks - but all with a chic aesthetic.
Elsewhere, designers have begun to tackle less glamorous pet problems, such as the unsightliness of litter and food mess. Pet feeding stations are being discreetly built into kitchen cabinets to hide mess. Litter trays are being camouflaged and better concealed, with a range of materials to soak up liquid and smell.
At US$2,200 the Kattbank, for example, handily doubles as a bench while hiding a litter cubby in its bowels. And others, such as Dijeau Poage Construction have tackled pet bath-time escapades. One recent design includes shower units with pull-out stairs and door panels
"Design is becoming much more prevalent in everyday life for all people," says Tanaka-Blanchard. "Well designed and aesthetically-pleasing pet products are a natural extension of this evolution."
Sometimes it's the savvy owners themselves who are commissioning or constructing solutions for their pets. One dog lover in Sai Kung addressed her German Shepherd's hip dysplasia by having Keith Chan of Hintegro design an anti-slip ramp up the 10 steps to her house. The cost of having the steel ramp custom built, however, made her baulk: estimates came in at about HK$10,000.
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 5:10am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 5:10am