Urban Landscape

Architect André Fu speaks about his recent foray into a fashion space

A recent, and somewhat unpredictable, collaboration between Hong Kong-based André Fu and Swedish high-street fashion brand COS (Collection Of Style) has adeptly displayed the Cambridge-trained architect’s versatility. In recent years we’ve become acquainted with Fu’s studio AFSO working on spaces for luxury brands, so this is something of a point of departure.

‘Typically I’m associated with hotels and restaurants that are very high-end. I’m dealing with that kind of market, and in recent years I’ve talked a lot about luxury and what that means for the next generation. It means more about a mindset. So this brand for me is very much about fashion going forward. It’s the next generation, you can have a style that’s approachable,’ says Fu. ‘COS has an aesthetic that I admire. It’s very pure. There is a timelessness to their designs, which makes this a unique proposition.’

The proposition, which came about almost a year ago, was for Fu to design an ‘urban landscape’ that would act as the backdrop to a presentation of the COS Autumn / Winter 2015 collection. The presentation took place on the upper deck of one of Hong Kong’s ferry piers, the setting amid the Fu-designed experiential installation a metaphor for the modern Asian urban paradigm.

‘I wanted to do something integrated with but also juxtaposed with the existing architecture,’ Fu explains. ‘There are four key elements to the urban landscape. First is the cube – a green bridge across which all guests have to pass to enter the space.’ Fabricated offsite, glass panels are framed by a powder-coated metal structure, another symbolic gesture to the landscape of the designer’s hometown, after all, ‘life in Asia is all about being inside or outside of glass cubes.’ Next is the ramp, followed by the moss garden, slightly sunken into a bed of white pebbles, or ‘an encounter with greenery’ as Fu puts it. Finally, the audience is confronted with a series of juxtaposing ramps and steps and two iconic cubes, one in mirror and one in glass.

The space was perhaps the perfect backdrop to a collection also inspired by the East. ‘We’ve been looking at lot to an art movement in Japan, called Mono-ha, which from the late 60s to early 70’s was one of the first modern art movements in Japan that didn’t look to the West, and we were very inspired by that,’ say COS’s head of menswear design Martin Andersson and head of womenswear design Karin Gustafsson.

When asked why they chose to work with Fu, Andersson names Fu’s work on Galerie Perrotin, the space the company used for its Hong Kong launch. Of the Urban Landscape, he says, ‘We feel that André has created a dynamic setting that seamlessly combines key elements from our seasonal inspirations, with the use of both natural components and simple yet impactful shapes and textures.’