This sybaritic den is designed around a private car collection
An auto enthusiast gets to play and display at The Library, a private car collection show space and decadent den designed by Hong Kong studio A Work of Substance
Man caves with a statement sports car or two tend to be sleek, look-at-me spaces where the automobiles are simply decorative accessories. Not so at The Library, where Hong Kong agency A Work of Substance has designed both the ground-floor entrance and the client’s private upstairs level within a six-storey building that is dedicated to the storage and care of sports and supercars.
The building’s owner kept one floor back as his own private 620 sq m getaway. Here you’ll find eight cars on display, alongside memorabilia and a cosy lounge, bar, and study.
Private lounge with room for a car collection
The ground-floor entrance – a combination of 1950s aerodynamic design and automotive-inspired touches – includes a pair of stainless-steel car elevators, 3m-diameter ceiling fans, smooth cast-concrete walls, and timber panelling that adds a touch of warmth.
Light refreshments are served in an elegant lounge furnished with hand-stitched leather armchairs, books and motoring mementos, while the security office takes its design cues from the distinctive rounded, polished aluminium coachwork of a classic 1930s Airstream caravan.
Upstairs, the private lounge of the owner’s level is designed around a sequence of scenes that put the cars centre stage. ‘Our client wanted a living room with his cars around him, so the cars are displayed offset from each other to magnify the centre of the space, and the other elements, the lounge and bar and a racing simulator, all feel part of that experience,’ explains A Work of Substance founder Maxime Dautresme.
An innovative, custom-designed structural envelope integrates the building’s existing columns and beams through a system of modular polished stainless-steel panels. These double up as display spaces for memorabilia and have adjustable prismatic surfaces that allow the cars to be appreciated from different perspectives. Furnishings in leather, teak and canvas reflect the smooth lines, mechanical workings and detailed craftsmanship of this impressive set of automobiles, which includes a Ferrari F40, Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, Aston Martin DB5, Pagani Huayra, and Porsche 911 Carrera RS.
The retro motoring legacy is also apparent in the lighting, inspired by classic car head- and taillights, which subtly offsets the low ceiling; most notable are lanterns fitted with a gyroscope that can be rotated by hand to dim the lights.
There are plenty of other intriguing structural design details, such as shelves that fold out to provide additional leather seating, and touches of flamboyance that evoke the era perfectly: armchairs pay tribute to the Ferrari Dino 246 GT, stools are reminiscent of spark plugs, and cabinetry handles are inspired by the lissom curves of a 250 GT Berlinetta SWB door handle. §