Remember King’s Cube, a 16-square-foot luxury unit in Hong Kong that comes complete with “elegant” wood flooring, contemporary art, stylish decor, air conditioning, wireless Internet and "international-class marble?"
King’s Cube, the creation of Chinese University of Hong Kong MFA student Joe Yiu, takes a decidedly tongue-in-check route to address Hong Kong’s utter lack of affordable housing — explained Yiu: “I'm concerned about the living environment in Hong Kong, particularly about what we consider to be an ideal home environment” — while also lampooning the rhetoric used by real estate agents to market properties in an overcrowded city where the average price per square foot hovers around $1,300 and many working-class residents have taken to squeezing their entire families into closet-sized and incredibly claustrophobic — and usually illegal — subdivided rental units known as “coffin, “cage” or “cubicle” flats.
While Yiu’s approach is eye-opening, a series of photographs recently released by Chinese human rights advocacy group Society for Community Organization really drives the point home.
Co.Design explains that to draw greater attention to the city’s housing shortage — even Hong Kong’s once abundant stock of stigmatized properties are drying up — the group commissioned a photographer to visit a few of the city’s notorious micro-units (more than 100,000 citizens are believed to be living in such impossibly crammed dwellings). The resulting images, particularly the overhead shots, are staggering, vertigo-inducing, and really put the whole North American minimalist chic micro-apartment trend into sobering perspective. Under 400-square-feet is one thing ... but under 40?