Lawrence Lui turned dark days into a do-it-all design firm for the elderly. The Co-Founder of Longevity Design House explains why ageing at home calls for a renovation revolution.
I started the business because of a difficult family story. My father was hospitalised in 2013 and diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. Both his health emotional state deteriorated – he didn’t cope well with being isolated to the hospital and so his final request was simply to live his final months at home. Like most middle-class households in Hong Kong, we only had around 400 sq ft of space that was poorly adapted to wheelchair access and someone with mobility issues.
We also met with an occupational therapist, but their expertise was ultimately limited as we sought to adapt his home. After my father passed away, I wanted to find a positive way to make things easier for other families in the same situation.
Co-Founder, Longevity Design House
On a comprehensive offer…
Most elderly in Hong Kong want to be able to age at home. But the major problem I encountered really came down to a lack of a comprehensive service. You can consult an occupational therapist who may offer some general recommendations, but you’re left to source any products or construction work yourself.
Instead, we bring in our interior designer, project manager with a construction background, case manager, as well as an occupational therapist. Remarkably, there are no other companies offering this service specifically for the elderly in Hong Kong.
On typical clients and alterations…
Roughly 50% of our clients suffer from medical impairment, most commonly dementia or stroke. The rest are simply elderly entering retirement.
Every case is different but typical alterations to a space may include enlarging entry points and corridors, adjusting height differences in flooring or furnishings, adding non-slip surfaces, sourcing tailor-made beds and sofas, and even installing modern lighting to adjust the mood in certain rooms.
|One of the group's projects
in Cheung On Estate
Interior design consultation for an apartment below 500 sq ft will typically cost HK$40,000. The client can either decide to source construction themselves or engage us to carry out the whole project. The construction phase in that case could be anywhere in the region of HK$400,000 – HK$1,200,000.
We also launched a foundation to offer a similar service to the underprivileged. We’ve worked closely with the University of Hong Kong on small scale home modifications – often for people in public housing estates. We’ve also undertaken a project with HK$3 million funding from the Li Ka Shing Foundation to serve 1,000 elderly across Hong Kong.
On look and feel…
Ageing at home doesn’t need to feel like you’re in a hospital. A major problem with a lot of home modification products designed for the elderly is that they feel very institutional. We provide an array of design options to ensure the look and feel of the apartment is just as important as the practical enhancements.
ABOUT LONGEVITY DESIGN HOUSE
Lawrence Lui co-founded the organisation in 2015, combing his marketing expertise with the construction background of the other founders. It provides interior design solutions specifically for the elderly and those with mobility issues, serving 200 clients to date. Its charity activities have also helped an estimated 2,100 households to date.