Design and Build

Wendi Song
Hellene Garden 圖 Photos Eduardo Martins
Award-winning company KPM presents two recently completed design and build projects
KPM Project Management Ltd. won the prize for “Small & Medium Enterprise” at the Business Awards of Macau in 2014, in recognition of the company making significant contributions to the diversification of Macau’s economy and for performance excellence in interior design, architecture, engineering and project management. Spending some time with KPM’s founder and managing director Rui Barbosa on site of two of his recent projects, one can see how he achieved this high accolade.  Innovative design ideas, attention to detail, infinite patience, and a large dose of good nature have earned him an enviable reputation.  
 
Tchoi Lung Meng Chu is a 6-tower residence on the north east coast of Taipa. Barbosa and his team were invited by the new owner of a 4-bedroom apartment there to take the original old fit out and breathe new life into it, with the concept brief of “clean design, plenty of natural light, white and wide spaces”.  
 
Modernizing the space included replacing windows, painting the walls in stark white and using pale grey (ICI Dulux ‘Grey Star’) for feature walls, doors and door frames.  High quality engineered hardwood oak flooring has been installed throughout: “a good solution for Macau because of the humidity as it allows for movement,” explains Barbosa.
 
At the entrance, a bank of white cabinets separates the main door from the living room, creating a small lobby and also providing useful storage.  Columns in the living room were squared off with gypsum board so that skirting could be applied and they could be aligned with the entrance cabinets.  Lowered ceilings were also used to square off and align beams and columns, and as a design feature to highlight the entrance and passageways. 
 
Space saving devises of using sliding, pocket and pivot doors have also been put to great effect in the apartment.  
 
The kitchen renovation is superb; white marble countertops, white lacquer-painted cabinets, a central island, all new Electrolux electrical goods and a concrete floor to create a rustic look.
 
Wall-mounted uplights have been used in the living room; designed by Álvaro Joaquim de Melo Siza Vieira, Pritzka prize winner and one of Portugal’s most famed architects, and made in Portugal.  
 
The new windows are Technal from Norway. “These are excellent quality and good for strong winds and typhoons.” 
 
New air-conditioners were installed throughout the apartment: “We use Daikin, which has over 80% of the market in Macau as they are well represented here and have good after care maintenance”, says Barbosa.  
 
Much of the living and dining room furniture was bought online from Tao Bao.  
 
“The challenge is getting the quality.  We ask for a sample to be sent first, and once the sample is approved, we go ahead and order, but even then, there’s no guarantee!”   
 
The second home featured in this article is located in Hellene Garden.  A 4-bedroom split level apartment with three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and the living area, kitchen and master bedroom with ensuite bathroom on the lower level, it was in need of some modernization.  For KPM this was an architectural detail design and construction management project.  The owner had been mulling over his ideas for several years and “we helped bring to life what was already in the owner’s mind,” smiles Barbosa.
 
 
The basic layout remained, but some spaces were enhanced by moving doorways, opening up the kitchen to the dining area with a hatch, converting a store room into a guest powder room and removing the wall of one of the upstairs bedrooms so it functions as an office with an open view down the stairs and into the living room.  
 
“We complemented the original design with some new ideas”, says Barbosa. “We did all the flooring, skirting, cabinets, false ceiling locations, window design, doors, frames, and decided on all the materials.  We oversaw the lighting and security systems and managed the various sub-contractors.”
 
Using engineered oak flooring again, and keeping the walls predominantly white, the space has a clean, airy and contemporary look.  Off the living room is a half oval balcony with views of Hac Sa beach and the sea; this has been given a concrete floor and new glass barrier set in white metal framing.  
 
Chalkboard paint was used on the dining room wall and hatch to the kitchen, and the master bedroom wardrobes.  In the bathrooms, tiles are kept to the wet areas; elsewhere white acrylic, washable paint helps improve the sense of spaciousness.  
 
The master bedroom, with its two levels and window shutters has an ‘East-meets-West’ feel which carries through to the master bathroom.  This has TOTO black and white ‘his and her’ basins and a gorgeous polished concrete finish to the countertop, floor and shower stall.  The mirrored wall and stainless steel accessories are softened with the wood under-counter cabinetry and add to the ‘Wow factor’!
 
The kitchen has also been given a very contemporary look.  More concrete has been used for walls and floor, and it compliments well the grey Italian Corian countertops. 
 
 
“You look and you like it” enthuses Barbosa, “and whilst you can feel it’s not marble, it’s very durable.”  The stainless steel sink and refrigerator and piano-finish shiny white cabinets make the space feel bright and modern.
 
The smallest of details have been attended to, from the detailing around the stair skirting, the ceiling spotlight locations, and the door hardware which comes from JNF in Portugal.  The dining room drop lights come from the Singapore-based furniture retailer Commune located in the Inner Harbour near Ponte 16.  And the elegant white ceiling fan in the living room comes from “Life’s a Breeze”, Hong Kong’s largest specialty fan store.  
 
Architectural design can be relatively easily managed within the resources of the company, but in Macau, finding reliable and skilled local contractors can be a challenge.  For KPM, any project headaches such as delays or defects will invariably require extreme diplomacy to get things right!  As much of KPM’s work comes from referrals, it’s high praise indeed and a testament to Barbosa’s patience and passion for what he does, when clients are happy to refer him and his colleagues to their friends for their project needs.