Posts tagged Hong Kong
Tradition and Modernity Meet at the St. Regis

Hong Kong’s newest luxury hotel draws on its rich history and goes beyond

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The St. Regis hotel brand has a storied history. Launched in 1904 by New York magnate John Jacob Astor IV, son of the Mrs Astor, the hotel was originally a sister property to Astor’s part-owned Waldorf Astoria, and he famously brought his own house staff to work there to ensure guests received the best service possible.

For 95 years, the original property remained the only one until, following the wave of acquisitions that has swept the hotel industry in recent decades, it was passed on to new owners who recognised the value of the luxury brand – the Hong Kong property, close to the Wan Chai harbour front, is number 46.

The original property was known for its rituals, as were the Astors themselves, and those are both respected and updated here. The 1904 version likely did not include in-room check-in and butlers available via WeChat, but the 24-7 availability has endured. Some traditions have survived much as they were: every day at 5:30 a champagne bottle is sabred to signal ‘violet hour’ in The Drawing Room, replete with gin-and-tonic trolley. Others, though, have been localised: afternoon tea is served from trolleys like dim sum, so guests can satisfy their sweet or savoury palettes without the limitations of a tray selection.

Of course, as quaint and enjoyable as these touches may be, they need an appropriate space. That’s provided here by Hong Kong’s André Fu, who was inspired by the Hong Kong of yesteryear — his on memories and Wong Kar-wai’s classic In the Mood for Love key inspirations — as well as the original St. Regis New York.

Throughout, grand and cosy areas complement each other and elevate the experience. They start out grand: the vast porte cochère leads to a generous ground-floor anteroom. Upstairs, the choreography continues with an intimate lift lobby whose lacquer ceiling, geometric bronze framing and monolithic vase prefigure some key elements. The intimacy is left behind on entering lobby The Great Room, its 10-metre ceilings and full-height windows maximising the surprising amount of natural light and lending a sense of New York Deco-style verticality that pervades the hotel. On this level, The Drawing Room provides a relaxing open space for casual fare and the afternoon tea and violet hour; the adjoining, intimate St. Regis bar offers Hong Kong- and New York-inspired cocktails and, true to the brand DNA, a mural that the bartender can explain the story behind as you sip your drink. Muted, plush seating, tones of grey and green, and soft lighting from bronze and crackle pendants provide a suitable atmosphere for some quiet engagement.

This level also houses Rùn, the hotel’s Cantonese restaurant inspired by a tea pavilion. Up one floor via the signature grand staircase is L’Envol, fine French dining in a palette of beige, white and gold accented with pastel marble and brushed bronze.

Upstairs, the guest rooms continue the theme. Framing, often in bronze, and layering provide visual interest from all angles. The muted palette is warmed with touches of orange, and glossy lacquer that echoes pawn shop shutters is complemented with softness in furnishings. Wood and stone feature strongly, and the whole is capped by Fu’s decorative touches – no detail is small enough to escape his eye for shape, proportion, colour, materiality and sheer interest. There’s not only attention to detail, but a palpable sense of attention to detail that plays a major role in transforming space into experience.

Text / Philip Annetta
Images / Courtesy of St. Regis Hotels & Resorts


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In Conversation with Patricia Urquiola

Last month, ahead of Cassina’s first Hong Kong showroom opening, the brand’s art director and design doyenne spoke with Design Anthology about upcycling, her multi-disciplinary career and engaging a young audience with classic design pieces

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Design Anthology: Hi Patricia, it's great to meet you and welcome to Hong Kong! Your work spans architecture, design, interiors and furniture. How do you find the experience of working across all these disciplines?

Patricia Urquiola: I think for me, it was what I grew up with. I studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan, which was a mix of design and architecture, so it was quite natural that these subjects should be together. I was the type of young person who really needed to get out of her comfort zone and I think my background in architecture gives me a special point of view into my design work.

More and more, we’re in a kind of ‘non-referential’ world and we need to find new ways to rewrite the rules. We have to wake up every morning rethinking the way we do things – with my clients, I question why we might still use a raw material that isn’t very sustainable, why we can’t change a process or why we don't upcycle materials.

I love the word ‘upcycling’; we have to re-educate ourselves and introduce upcycled materials. I have this new kind of leather (she pulls a small piece of this ‘leather’ out of her pocket and shows it to me) which isn’t actually leather –  it’s made from apple skin, and we used it for a sofa designed by Philippe Starck.

And aside from apple leather furniture, what else are you working on?

I’m currently working in hospitality; hotels are always in crisis in some way because they try to look like they’ve solved everything, but they know people are always evolving. I'm also working in healthcare making nicer spaces for people who are suffering from cancer. I’m working on the future of offices in America, rethinking the 9-5 structure, cubicles and so on – the solution isn’t just designing a chair anymore. And I'm working in ceramics, which is today very advanced technologically, in marble, wood and new recycled materials.

Many people who come to my studio say ‘We know you’re an empathetic person and you’re going to be open. It’s new for you too, but we know you’re going to find a solution.’ They know that I'm not just going to choose something that exists already. That's good because we’re in a continuous laboratory of connection.

My work is trying to be a catalyst to connect my culture and my point of view. I think you learn a lot from mistakes, and we’re living in a very interesting moment. I like to work with people that I like and I'm always pushing the limits. I'm a person who is never happy enough, this comes to me very naturally – it’s an Italian thing.

What about your art director role at Cassina?

I’m lucky to take care of Cassina. Being inside the company is very interesting because it’s more than 90 years old and it has always been about the idea of progressive design. If you do a couch, do it in an industrial way – they invented this kind of attitude.

We’re really trying to look at the company with an open mind towards the future. The company is quite complex because of its long legacy. We have to keep a process of looking into the future while also rethinking all our masters of design. We’re continuously looking back into the archive, and speaking with new designers, and my job is to be open to these kinds of interconnections and crossovers. We have to rethink the materials, for example the Feltri chairs project we did with Raf Simons was an interesting way to look at our pieces from another point of view. As an architect I think about the spaces where we introduce our pieces, and how to make them evolve in a social, aesthetic and material way.

How do you introduce iconic designs to a younger audience who is perhaps unfamiliar with them?

We just had an Achille Castiglioni exhibition at the Triennale di Milano, which exposed the millennial generation to one of the most important Italian masters of design. Achille was my mentor and teacher at university, and I think it was very interesting to do the exhibition with a fresh attitude towards young people, and make them understand without any kind of chronology.

After our conversation, Patricia then spoke to a small audience about her work. She shared her beliefs on the importance of breaking one prejudice every day, and how she had broken her prejudices towards marble, a material she is now working more in and how she’s also trying to abandon the idea of gendered design and the design categories of masculine and feminine.

As told to / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Courtesy of Cassina

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Art Central in Pictures

Here’s just some of what we saw at the opening of Hong Kong’s hippest art event

Today marked the opening of the fifth edition of Art Central in Hong Kong, where established galleries are exhibiting alongside emerging artists and galleries from Asia and beyond. The five-day programme includes installations, film and performance pieces, and panel discussions alongside an intriguing lineup of galleries and exhibitions.

The exhibition itself comprises a CENTRAL sector of galleries, CONTEXT sector of solo or duo artist projects, onsite performances curated by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and PROJECTS, six large-scale installations located at various sites around the fair.

Art Central runs from 27-31 March 2019 at the Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong.

Images / Jeremy Smart

A New Page

Artisanal coffee and community are at the heart of this new Hong Kong hotel

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In the vibrant district of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, a modern hotel with architecture designed by P&T Architects and interior designed by KplusK associates, has recently opened. Page148 offers comfortable, cosy rooms across 20 floors in a location ripe for urban explorers. ‘Page148 is a page number and each hotel is a new chapter in your travel journal,’ explains Elaine Fok, creative director and partner at Spectra Partnership, who took the design lead.

Page148 – also named after its location at 148 Austin Road – marks the Butterfly Hospitality Group’s inaugural Page hotel, with a London location slated to open later this year. ‘At the core of the design we have three inspirations; people, sustainability and inspirational travel,’ says Philip Chan, business development manager at Butterfly Hospitality Group.

Communicating these design inspirations from the outset, the check-in lobby has been transformed into Page Common, an artisanal coffee house. Here, check-in takes places via a mobile process, and a large wooden table encourages conversation and community within a welcoming and creative space. Coffee culture is so important to the brand that the cafe was opened months before the hotel rooms. ‘I enjoy working in coffee shops myself and Hong Kong is experiencing an artisanal coffee boom. Coffee inspires us to travel, and we wanted this to contribute to the energy of the hotel,’ Chan explains.  

The hotel replaced an old residential building, but retains and celebrates the site’s original distinct curve. The large windows in each room offer plenty of natural light and fantastic views, and the colour palette is comforting with neutral, beige shades, champagne silver and copper accents, while rustic copper finishes and black marble add textural detail. Artwork by local paper artist POSTalk features throughout the hotel, while in the rooms custom-made furniture is paired with Marshall speakers.  

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Philip Chan and Elaine Fok


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Awards 2019: Announcing the Winners

Following months of submissions, short-listing and deliberation by an esteemed panel of industry experts, the results are in. Here is the complete list of winners of our inaugural Design Anthology Awards


In the five years since we launched Design Anthology, we’ve defined what we stand for and what our core philosophies are. Among them is our sincere ambition to create a platform for showcasing, celebrating, supporting and promoting original design in Asia and by Asian designers. And much like our motivation for starting Design Anthology magazine, we felt there remained an appetite for something different in the design awards landscape.

As an extension and evolution of the magazine, the Design Anthology Awards are an opportunity for us to be change agents in a more tangible way. For the awards to be truly meaningful, they required judges who are the best in their respective fields, with an even representation of genders and a balance of countries and regions. For the winners, we’ve chosen prizes we hope will benefit their careers in meaningful ways.

In addition to those prizes, together with our generous venue sponsor The Murray we’ve launched the Design Anthology Education Fund. This is a charity dedicated entirely to providing grants for design education in Hong Kong, and our hope is that in the future the grants will expand in size, scope and beyond the borders of Hong Kong. The awards and related events are the first of many fundraising platforms for the charity.

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to the judges, for their belief in our vision, but equally so for their time and commitment. The level of detail and rigour with which they assessed the shortlisted entries exceeded our highest expectations.

We’re also deeply grateful for the support of our sponsors, without whom the Design Anthology Awards would not have been possible, nor would they be the success we hoped for. 

And finally, thank you of course to the designers and nominators. The response was overwhelming and the entries of the highest calibre. To the finalists and winners, a resounding and heartfelt congratulations!

Text / Suzy Annetta


Learn more about all the finalists and winners in our 64-page stitch-bound Awards publication, now available to purchase

Watch the full ceremony at awards.designanthologymag.com/gallery

 
 

Products

 

The Finalists

Accessories

  • Templates Watch by Michael Young
    Shenzhen CIGA Design Co., Ltd

  • ESCAPE Luggage
    Studio Gooris Limited

  • PR/01 Speaker
    NATIVE UNION

  • JIA Hand-Drip Coffee
    Studio Shikai

Furniture

  • Tripodal Stool
    Studio Adjective Limited

  • The Roundish Armchair
    Maruni Wood Industry

  • GRACEFUL REINA Series
    camino × ViiCHENDESIGN

Lighting

  • Kelopak
    Ong Cen Kuang

  • Ripple Lamp
    Poetic Lab + Studio Shikai

  • Linear Task Light
    Singular Concept

Textiles

  • Horsehair Collection
    Ausara Surface & Textile

  • Lake Under The Forest
    Aya Kawabata Design

  • SUPERTEXTURES
    Tiffany Loy


The Winners

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Accessories

Hand Drip Coffee Set for JIA Inc.
Studio Shikai

The JIA hand drip coffee set fuses Eastern design language with Western lifestyle. Comprising two types of double-walled ceramic drippers, server, dripper sit, ring and coffee grinder, the set is designed to provide everything needed to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

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Furniture

Graceful Reina Series
Camino and Vii Chen

From Taiwanese designer Vii Chen comes a series of tables and chairs for camino that are unified by their curvaceous contours, clean lines and elegant finish. The series is inspired by the sense of beauty in classic Western skirt frames and the graceful gestures of ballerinas.

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Lighting

Kelopak
Ong Cen Kuang

A product of a commitment to extensive experimentation, artisanal craftsmanship and a passion for lighting that was sparked by the region’s ubiquitous paper lantern, Kelopak represents what the studio creates best: sculptural and poetic lighting that uses surprising materials, in this case the zipper.

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Textiles

SUPERTEXTURES
Tiffany Loy

Designed in Singapore and made in Finland, SUPERTEXTURES is a collection of woven rugs in four distinct designs, all of which are an exploration of the dynamics between weave structure, material properties, colour and texture.

 
 

People

 

The Finalists

Ambassador

  • Tony Chi

  • André Fu

  • Kengo Kuma

Architect

  • Ma Yansong

  • Andra Matin

  • Mun Summ Wong

Emerging Designer

  • Frank Chou

  • Olivia Lee

  • Elaine Yan Ling Ng

Female Designer

  • Vii Chen

  • Rachaporn Choochuey

  • Naoko Takenouchi

Industrial Designer

  • Naoto Fukasawa

  • Oki Sato

  • Gabriel Tan

Interior Designer

  • James JJ Acuna

  • Frank Leung

  • Ed Ng

Vanguard

  • Bill Bensley

  • Joyce Wang

  • Kenya Hara


The Winners

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Ambassador

Kengo Kuma

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is at the forefront of a small group of Asian architects working internationally. His firm Kengo Kuma & Associates represents Japan and Asia with groundbreaking works, while Kuma himself influences designers all over the world and is a role model for aspiring architects in Japan and the rest of Asia. Kuma's work is distinctly Japanese, and in every design he distills and refines the best of the nation’s aesthetics and culture.

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Architect

Mun Summ Wong

Singaporean architect Mun Summ Wong co-founded WOHA with business partner Richard Hassell in 1994. In the decades since, the firm has completed more than 50 projects throughout Southeast Asia, China, India and Australia, including residential towers, public housing estates, mass transit stations, hotels and cultural institutions; the duo’s contribution to Singapore’s cityscape in particular has been undeniable.

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Emerging Designer

Elaine Yan Ling Ng

Elaine Yan Ling Ng is a British-Chinese ‘materialologist’ and the founder of The Fabrick Lab, Hong Kong’s first textile laboratory, which brings together textiles, electronics, biomimicry, interiors and installations.

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Female Designer

Naoko Takenouchi

Japanese-born Naoko Takenouchi is one half of Singapore-based integrated design firm Takenouchi Webb. The firm, which specialises in hospitality projects, was established in 2006 and has had a profound effect on the design scene in Southeast Asia.

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Industrial Designer

Oki Sato

Oki Sato is the chief designer of eminent Milan- and Tokyo-based design studio nendo. Having established the Tokyo studio in 2002, Sato launched the studio’s Milan outpost in 2005. The year after he was named one of The 100 Most Respected Japanese Designers by Newsweek.

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Interior Designer

James Acuna

For more than a decade, James Acuna has worked on a range of lifestyle and workplace projects in Hong Kong, China and the wider Asian region, honing his skills at renowned firms Woods Bagot, Ronald Lu & Partners and LWK&Partners. In 2015, the designer founded JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio in Hong Kong and Manila, which specialises in bespoke designs for lifestyle-oriented clients.

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Vanguard

Joyce Wang

Focusing on luxury hospitality and residential design, Joyce Wang’s Hong Kong- and London-based studio has amassed an impressive global portfolio since its inception in 2012. Wang’s goals are to push cultural and geographical boundaries and in doing so become known as an Asian designer capable of setting new standards globally.

 
 
 

Places

 

The Finalists

Adaptive Reuse

  • Office project, Bangkok
    Creative Crews Ltd

  • Office project, Shanghai
    MONOARCHI

  • Song Art Museum
    Vermilion Zhou Design Group

Commercial Spaces

  • Batubata Office
    Studio Air Putih

  • Khromis
    A Work of Substance

  • Wantou (Anhui Investment) & Vanke Sales Center
    Karv One Design

Cultural, Arts & Educational Spaces

  • ArtisTree
    via architecture limited

  • f22 foto space
    LAAB Architects

  • The Book Stop Project
    WTA Architecture and Design Studio

Hospitality Spaces — Dining

  • Boy’N’Cow Meat Boutique
    ANP (A&Partners)

  • Origin
    A Work of Substance

  • Ta-Ke
    Steve Leung Design Group

Hospitality Spaces — Hotels

  • Amanyangyun
    Kerry Hill Architects

  • Kosmos
    THE_SYSTEM LAB

  • Treewow Villa / Hotel
    MONOARCHI

Residential Living — Interiors, Compact

  • 28 Aberdeen Street
    via architecture limited

  • Stark House
    Park + Associates Pte Ltd

  • Vintage Vibes
    the monocot studio

Residential Living — Interiors

  • Artists Retreat Pittugala
    Palinda Kannangara Architects

  • SalaAreeya
    CHAT architects

  • Sanga Mandala House
    budipradono architects

Urban Redevelopment

  • Garden Restroom
    LAAB Architects

  • Kowloon Bay
    Steensen Varming

  • Kunming Project
    Kokaistudios


The Winners

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Adaptive Reuse

MONOARCHI Office, Shanghai
MONOARCHI

Rather than take a space in a commercial building, Rotterdam- and Shanghai-based architecture firm monoarchi chose to redesign a heritage-listed courtyard house in Shanghai’s French Concession, one still housing residential tenants.

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Commercial Spaces

@Batubata Office, Jakarta
Studio Air Putih

When architecture and interior design firm Studio Air Putih came to design an office for its own team, it chose a curious location in Serpong, west of Jakarta. The designers saw the primarily residential surroundings as scattered and disorganised, and it was this environmental context that drove their concept and design of the office, which mirrors the surrounding structures’ moderate size and spread-out positioning. 

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cultural, arts & educational spaces

f22 foto space, Hong Kong
LAAB Architects

Hong Kong is blessed with a growing number of gallery spaces, but only a small minority are dedicated to the photographic arts. In this context, the founders of f22 foto space aim to cultivate contemporary photography as an art form in Hong Kong, as well as to bring local and international photographers together as a community.

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Hospitality spaces — dining

Boy’N’Cow Meat Boutique, Bali
A&Partners

Located in the heart of bustling Seminyak, Bali, Boy’N’Cow Meat Boutique specialises in aged meat. Design studio A&Partners took its lead from these aged elements when considering materiality in the design.

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hospitality spaces — hotels

Amanyangyun, Shanghai
Kerry Hill Architects

When construction began on a dam in Jiangxi province, Ming- and Qing-dynasty villages and forests were threatened by rising waters. The client decided that a rescue was in order, and duly documented, disassembled and transported to Shanghai a chosen few houses along with 700 camphor trees. These would become the core of Aman’s fourth China property.

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residential living — interiors

Casablancka Residence, Bali
Budi Pradono Architects

The starting point for this project was a transformation of traditional Balinese buildings known as taring, temporary bamboo structures used for special occasions and characterised by the clear separation between floor, wall and roof structures. In the transformation, the design team at Budi Pradono Architects aimed to bring users close to nature on the sloping site through open volumes and strategic use of materials.

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residential living — interiors (compact)

Everton Park, Singapore
The Monocot Studio

What started as a request from the owner of this 90-square-metre apartment to incorporate some vintage furniture became a project to remodel it into an open space in which mid-century design could shine.

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sustainability

T·CAFÉ, Hong Kong
LAAB Architects

Hong Kong’s T·PARK is a sewage treatment facility and public education centre focusing on waste and sustainability, which was a key driver of the design for its on-site cafe. Reclaimed wood forms the centrepiece of the design, with the team utilising discarded wood from the Wan Chai Pier, the second iteration of which was demolished in 2014.

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urban redevelopment

Garden Restroom, Hong Kong
LAAB Architects

Situated in Hong Kong’s historic Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood is Salisbury Park, a public space that needed new facilities to match its recent overall renovation. In their design for the park’s new restroom, the team at LAAB Architects sought to respond to the garden setting and historicity. 

 
DesignSuzy AnnettaHong Kong
Nuance & Nostalgia

How historical motifs are driving Hong Kong’s unique design identity

Kasa. Image courtesy of Lim + Lu

Kasa. Image courtesy of Lim + Lu

Using nostalgic Hong Kong tropes in interior design and architecture is certainly not a new idea, but it seems like the trend has reached fever pitch of late. You can’t turn a corner without coming upon a project that uses buzzwords like ‘heritage’ or ‘revitalisation’ in its marketing speak, while employing nomenclature that relies on puns derived from transliteration. (Not to mention the rampant application of neon signage, a feature once so in danger of extinction that is now verging on ubiquitous.)

But it doesn’t all rest on gimmickry. When local restaurant group Black Sheep Restaurants debuted its grungy, hipster take on Chinese dining Ho Lee Fook five years ago, the city was just waking up to the idea that there was anything worth co-opting from its own history. ‘We wanted it to be almost the exact opposite experience of a typical Chinese banquet hall,’ says group co-founder Syed Asim Hussain. ‘We were tired of big brands and chefs coming here and trying to replicate the successes they had in New York of London. Why are we so dazzled by imports from other cities when we have so much going on in our backyard? Our goal was to build the kind of culinary institution that other cities would want to import.’ It took a so-called outsider to pull in the right influences – American and part-time Hongkonger Sean Dix brought in the wall of waving cats, which utilises the good luck charm often found in local restaurants, a divider wall inspired by local artist King of Kowloon and chairs that were originally commissioned for a project he was doing for Mao Zedong’s granddaughter. Five years on, Ho Lee Fook is living up to its founding objective, with an opening in Europe coming soon.

In that same half a decade, countless copycats have sprouted, but also several projects that take quintessential Hong Kong motifs and update them for contemporary times. ‘It’s important not to take the elements for their face value only,’ explains Vince Lim of Lim + Lu, the husband-and-wife duo responsible for the look of healthy Chinese eatery Kasa, whose baby pink and blue interiors wouldn’t have existed in bygone Hong Kong but whose design harks back to traditional local cha chaan teng diners, thanks to the use of pendant lights often found in wet markets and the old-style steel window at the mezzanine level. ‘The elements should act as a reference point to an earlier time period, while not losing its identity in today’s design. In Kasa, we deliberately used old Hong Kong-style mosaic tiles common in cha chaan tengs, but contrasted the nostalgic material with more contemporary marble and brass.’

As the movement continues to gain momentum, Hong Kong is proving a rich tapestry from which to leverage – while the local cha chaan tengs and bing sutts are common fodder, there are other devices just as iconic. For Katherine Lo, founder and president of Eaton Workshop, it was exactly that: ‘I tasked AvroKO with interpreting my vision and briefed them with my early inspirations: the cha chaan tengs that my father took us to and the 1990s films of Wong Kar-wai which were shot in the beautifully raw, gritty neighbourhood of Jordan,’ which is where the progressive hotel-cum-co-working-cum-wellness space is situated. Working with an international agency, it was important for Lo to immerse the design team in her references. ‘Many of the streetscapes in the neighbourhood that Eaton shares are living museums of old 50s and 60s Hong Kong, with decades-old neon signs, shopfronts and textures. The original Eaton building itself is a vestige from that time as well, so it was fitting to build off of the local vernacular,’ explains AvroKO founding partner William Harris. ‘We took inspiration from Wong Kar-wai’s films to drive the quality of lighting, colouring and dreamy nature of the processional journeys,’ he adds, proving that inspiration can be interpreted much less literally, spawning both tangible and intangible manifestations. ‘The furniture is tailored and even feels futuristic at times, while the density and maze-like feel of Kowloon has been reinterpreted in the lobbies and dining floors.’

Maxime Dautresme of A Work of Substance, which designed The Fleming hotel, agrees with this more cerebral approach to design. His thought process went beyond lifting from a dictionary of references. ‘Hong Kong has a culture of efficiency. We borrowed that in order to bring the hotel’s design forward. We generally don’t look into trends as we believe there is no sustainability in them – for us, site relevancy and usability are both key in design.’

‘Having connected people across the harbour for over a century, the Star Ferry is a piece of Hong Kong’s collective memory and identity,’ he explains. ‘This unique and elegant icon of Hong Kong’s past and present became the foundation for every design detail. Nostalgia is further evoked by colours and scents – hues seen on the hull of Hong Kong’s ferries, fishing boats, delivery trucks and temples, and apothecary-inspired toiletries and custom aromas of sandalwood and amber notes.’

Simple it may be, but therein lies the difference between a cut-and-paste job and something that is both a tribute to the past and an icon for the future: thought. ‘In today's social-media-driven society, gimmicks are commonly employed in design to create an Instagrammable moment. For us, that fine line is the context and surroundings. If we are truly paying homage to the city's history, there needs to be multiple ideas and points that contribute to that concept,’ says Lim.

Text / Christina Ko

The Fleming. Image by Dennis Lo

The Fleming. Image by Dennis Lo

The Fleming. Image by Dennis Lo

The Fleming. Image by Dennis Lo

The Fleming. Image by Dennis Lo

The Fleming. Image by Dennis Lo

Ho Lee Fook. Image courtesy of Black Sheep Restaurants

Ho Lee Fook. Image courtesy of Black Sheep Restaurants

Eaton House. Image by Lit Ma, Common Studio

Eaton House. Image by Lit Ma, Common Studio

Eaton House. Image by Lit Ma, Common Studio

Eaton House. Image by Lit Ma, Common Studio

Eaton House. Image by Lit Ma, Common Studio

Eaton House. Image by Lit Ma, Common Studio

Kasa. Image courtesy of Lim + Lu

Kasa. Image courtesy of Lim + Lu

An Urban Island

An abandoned property in a historic area is given a new lease on life

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In Hong Kong’s Quarry Bay, local multi-disciplinary design practice Lim + Lu have transformed an abandoned apartment into a sophisticated and modern home.

Housed in a 19th century tenement building, the expansive apartment (110 square metres, to be exact) is now a revamped urban escape, but its history is intriguing. The previous owner spent most of his life in the apartment until leaving the city and all of his possessions behind. For over 15 years the apartment lay completely undisturbed and untouched, becoming something of a time capsule and giving a glimpse into a former life.

The clients, a nature-loving couple with a love for antiques, embraced the nostalgic charm of the space. The original characteristics of the building are brought to the forefront and drove the choice of materials. “The idea that time could be used as part of the material palette was incredibly poetic,” Lim + Lu co-founder Vince Lim explains. Already a patina exists in the space that can’t be replicated with modern processes, and the designers left the chipped concrete beams untouched, creating a striking juxtaposition between the new bright white walls and the faded jade and orange beams.

The material palette also helped to create a peaceful haven away from the bustle of city life. Materials such as warm oak, woven wicker and volcanic slate feature often, and a series of oak and brass accents punctuates the apartment. As the apartment is in such a densely populated area with direct sight lines into offices and other apartments across the street, internal views instead became the apartment’s focal points. Framing devices on the walls are filled with sentimental relics from the couple’s travels, while at the entrance is a full-height oak-slatted shoe closet with a void carved out and finished in brass, and through which the open kitchen can be seen. Natural elements are brought into the home to create a tranquil ambiance, such as the vibrant row of succulents and other plants along the living room window that distracts from the outside view.

In this home, the man-made and natural, and the historical and contemporary, exist side by side and provide for the homeowners their own private island in the city.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Nirut Benjabenpot and Pak Chung

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Sleek in the City

Function meets minimalism in a Hong Kong family apartment by Human w / Design

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In Hong Kong, locally based studio Human w / Design have created a highly minimalist and extremely functional space for a family of four.  

Working with only 45 square metres of living space, the designers effortlessly divided the apartment into a three-bedroom home to meet the client’s requirements. As co-founder of Human w / Design Kevin Wong explains, ‘they wanted us to redesign the 19-year-old apartment into a minimal, natural and practical space to fit their living habits.’

This melding of practical yet minimalist design runs throughout the apartment. ‘We tried to hide the things that are seldom used and avoided any unnecessary design elements,’ Wong shares. An elm wall panel in the living area conceals both the kitchen and bathroom doors, and as the family rarely use their dining table, a foldable version was chosen to maximise the living space. Several foldable dining chairs from Decor8 can be stored in a cabinet behind the sofa (also Decor8) and the majority of the furniture was custom designed by the studio.

As per the clients’ brief, traditional design elements punctuate the apartment and evoke feelings of childhood nostalgia, such as 1980’s style glass blocks and the use of bluegrass colours in one bedroom. The bunk bed design for the two children is refreshingly sleek, with only a black steel frame forming a ladder and the upper bed barrier. As the room offers the largest surface area sin the apartment, raised flooring is used to capitalise on storage space.

The designers expertly used spatial limitations to inspire their materials palette. ‘Due to the structural restrictions of the building, we believe adding the new bedroom at the window-side area of the original living room was the most appropriate approach,’ co-founder of Human w / Design Ricky Fu explains. ‘We decided to use reeded glass block as the partition to separate the new bedroom and living area to maximise natural daylight penetration while preserving a certain degree of privacy.’

This glass block wall is one of the home’s most striking features and creates a sense of spaciousness and orderliness. The glass material ensures plenty of light flows into the home, and a striking lighting effect happens between day and night time. The TV and TV cabinet are hung on a steel post detached from the glass wall, also maximising the daylight in the shared space.  

An eye-catching black frieze detailing in the living room is actually a design response to the materials’ height restrictions. The standard size of the glass blocks and the warm elm wood panels ensured a gap was created between the top of the materials and the ceiling soffits. So the designers decided to fill this gap with the detailing which also holds a slim LED strip inside, creating a warm and calm ambiance in the living room.

This Hong Kong family apartment embraces functionality at its core while effortlessly imbuing a sense of sleek minimalism.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Courtesy of Human w / Design

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A Timeless Aesthetic

Designer André Fu’s collection of homeware spans styles, cultures and settings

 
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Responsible for the design of iconic hotels and restaurants including Hong Kong’s Upper House and Kerry Hotel, and international destinations the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok and The Berkeley in London, Hong Kong-based designer André Fu has redefined contemporary luxury in Asia and beyond. In 2015 he launched lifestyle brand André Fu Living and followed with a series of products in collaboration with international creators such as Tai Ping and Lasvit.

Recently Fu brought his signature relaxed-luxury style to a homeware collection launched exclusively at Lane Crawford. Drawing on his experiences designing opulent spaces around the world, the concept behind Fu’s collection revolves around what he describes as ‘the ethos of “lifestyle from within” — a world of aesthetics that is timeless, culturally informed and modern.”’

Fu’s cross-category line of homeware is intended to present a cohesive narrative that extends throughout the home, which the designer believes is often lacking; in this case, he says, it’s ‘understated elegance that provokes emotion’. As he puts it, ‘The pieces are all designed to subtly complement and enhance different environments. In some ways, they present a visual narrative that’s delightfully quiet. What’s unique is the strong holistic quality of the pieces when viewed together.’

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Despite his Asian heritage, Fu disassociates the collection from any singular cultural reference. ‘The subliminal quality of Asian craft is deep in my roots and there are subtle references throughout, but the goal for the collection is about creating everyday objets that transcend cultures. In particular, the tableware was designed in such a way that the shapes could cater to both Eastern and Western dining styles.’ 

The aim, it seems, is to move away from typical notions of Asian design (or designers). Instead, Fu brings his distinctive multicultural and international background into the collection, revealing a contemporary collection that has the markings of his style and perspective. ‘There’s an opportunity to offer a different point of view that allows me to express my personal aesthetics; it’s a tangible representation of my personal taste. The brand's vision is deeply inspired by my childhood memories of significant places and different cultures. It celebrates my own nomadic life and my personal experience of the world of hospitality,’ he says. 

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It’s fitting then, that Fu has employed multiple design languages. Taken as a whole, the collection spans two design languages: ‘“artisan artistry”, inspired by artistic expression, and “vintage modern”, a range inspired by the geometric patterns typically featured in 1960s modernist architecture.’

Made up of tableware, furniture, blankets and scarves, the collections are designed to appoint the most used spaces in a home, and feature luxe materials such as oak, fine porcelain, silk and hand-painted elements. For Fu, the collection is ‘as much about the materials as the craftmanship’. Here, Fu and his team worked with experts through a rigorous process of sampling and refinement, which the designer calls ‘a tremendously engaging challenge’.

Challenges overcome, the collection presents a range of adaptable pieces that permeate any space with the mark of Fu’s tastemaker sensibilities and refined aesthetic.

Text / Simone Schultz
Images / Stephanie Teng

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Q&A with One Plus Partnership

Ajax Law and Virginia Lung are known for creating innovative and original designs that transform typical spaces into intriguing experiences. They spoke with Design Anthology about their process and some of their most memorable projects to date

Chow Tai Fook YOHO Mall experience shop, Hong Kong. Image by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Chow Tai Fook YOHO Mall experience shop, Hong Kong. Image by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Virginia Lung and Ajax Law

Virginia Lung and Ajax Law

Founders and design directors of One Plus Partnership in Hong Kong, Law and Lung were among a host of acclaimed international speakers at the 2018 Business of Design Week in Hong Kong. Since its establishment in 2004, and with projects spanning entertainment, retail and product design, the studio has won over 540 international interior design awards and has been invited to exhibit in renowned exhibitions around the world, including the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Design Anthology: You tend to work on big-scale projects in China as well as in Hong Kong. What are some of the key differences or similarities you encounter working between these two regions?  

One Plus Partnership: The most notable difference is space: there’s so much more of it in China, it’s incomparable to Hong Kong, where property is so expensive. Hong Kong can be difficult for interior designers, because we’ve found that clients tend to limit their briefs to ‘elegant’. But in China, the design briefs tend to be more in-depth and focus on the culture of the specific place. The vast history of China gives us many options for more culture-related design, and clients are more accepting of various design styles; they allow us a lot more creative freedom, and fewer boundaries.

Speaking about concepts, one of your principles is to base your projects around a specific theme and then extract design elements from there. Can you talk us through the process of finding that theme?

We consider the location of the project, the nature of the business, or perhaps the historical background of the brand or client. In China, another interesting thing is that there are many different historical contexts in each of the different cities. That’s also the case in Hong Kong, but it’s just too small we think. There’s so much in Chinese culture and Chinese history that we can draw on and develop from, and that’s helpful for designers. We enjoy it when clients are engaged and interested in the process and the story as opposed to just commercial concerns and the finished product.

Hong Kong tends to favour the Western style, while in China clients lean toward celebrating Chinese style, there may be Western influences, but they don’t make a point of veering away from the former. I think it may be because of the historical background that in Hong Kong we prefer more British or American styles.

You also spoke about the availability of space in China, and you've won several international awards for many of your large-scale projects there. What are some of the key factors that you take into consideration when you design such an expansive space?

First and foremost, the space must meet functional needs. Then we think about how to maximise the space and make it look expansive and impressive. As we said, we define a theme for the project and that means that even in a large space, everything is unified and the project is a cohesive whole.

And what projects stand out for you as representative of these principles and your practice in general?

When we established One Plus Partnership 15 years ago, it was because we couldn’t identify a company or studio where we could do the kind of work we wanted to do, especially in Hong Kong. Many of the studios weren’t doing work of the international standard we saw in foreign media. At that time, we were doing projects for developers, and that was even more difficult because they were show flats, or sales offices — projects that naturally came with a string of constraints.

There are three key projects that come to mind, since then. Twelve years ago, we designed the Shenzhen Mellon Town Bamboo Lobby in China. The brief was that it should be a contemporary take on Chinese traditions. There were twelve lobbies in total, and to link them together by one theme, we landed on bamboo as the concept. In Chinese culture, bamboo represent many things: wisdom, finesse and so on. So instead of inserting any actual bamboo into the space, we interpreted the colour, the feeling and the meaning. And the colours ended up being bright green and red. Some of our contemporaries thought it was a childish project and that we wouldn’t succeed – they didn’t see that we were trying to do something creative.

It made us doubt ourselves and doubt the feasibility of our work in the market. We decided to enter the project into an international competition, and it won. That really encouraged us and made us trust our vision and abilities. We continued to enter international competitions – overseas, they don’t know who we are or what our backgrounds are. We’re judged based on the project submitted and it’s really encouraging to see how our work is received internationally.

The second project that comes to mind is Pixel Box. After a couple of years, we began to do cinema provides (we’ve done about four or five). Here the client gave us a lot of creative freedom, and the project ended up being a breakthrough for us, people came to know our cinema design work after that one. From there we were given even more creative freedom by the client.

The last one is the established jewellery brand Chow Tai Fook. About a year ago they asked us to design their first experience store. Our design was a big change for the brand, and we didn’t know that they’d accept something so different, so contemporary. Even the store layout is different from anything they’ve done before. In fact, the open-plan style is different to any other Chinese jewellery shop, and the sales structure is different – the salesperson can engage directly with the customer, there’s no barrier. We’ve done several shops in Hong Kong, and we’re now busy with a number of stores in China. For each, they want to infuse the local elements specific to that city. We’ve decided on the concept of ‘gift boxes’ because jewellery is usually a gift, for yourself or for your friends, or to celebrate an occasion. The colour schemes and materials differ, but the structure is the same across the stores. We’ve also created another concept for them: Hong Kong’s Festival Walk store is based on a bank’s safe room, where there are many small, numbered boxes. We took that and created our own version, with fabric instead of metal, and embroidered numbers. The numbers are actually dates, and they all have special meaning; you could find your birth date on a box, or for example, in Chinese 1-3-1-4 means ‘I love you forever.’ When customers come in, they love to search for their birthday or numbers associated with love.

For another of their stores we drew inspiration from the structure of DNA, so we created what looks like a sushi belt, but instead of sushi there’s jewellery displayed under the glass dome. Right now, the first of these shops is in Shenzhen but we’re working on the second one in Xi’an. We’re trying to introduce new and innovative concepts for the brand.

As told to / Simone Schultz
Images / Courtesy of One Plus Partnership

Chow Tai Fook YOHO Mall experience shop, Hong Kong. Image by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Chow Tai Fook YOHO Mall experience shop, Hong Kong. Image by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Xiangyang Fanyue Mall International Cinema. Images by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Xiangyang Fanyue Mall International Cinema. Images by Jonathan Leijonhufvud

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Shenzhen Mellon Town Bamboo Lobby. Image by Ajax Law & Virginia Lung

Shenzhen Mellon Town Bamboo Lobby. Image by Ajax Law & Virginia Lung

Shenzhen Chow Tai Fook Experience Shop. Image by Jiangnan Photography

Shenzhen Chow Tai Fook Experience Shop. Image by Jiangnan Photography

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Shenzhen Chow Tai Fook Experience Shop. Image by Jiangnan Photography

Shenzhen Chow Tai Fook Experience Shop. Image by Jiangnan Photography

Hangzhou Kerry Centre Premiere Cinemas. Images by Jonathan Leijonhufvud & Ajax Law

Hangzhou Kerry Centre Premiere Cinemas. Images by Jonathan Leijonhufvud & Ajax Law

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Ryota Kapou Modern

Tucked inside a bijou space on On Lan Street, a premium address in Hong Kong’s central, is Ryota Kapou Modern. The design by Louie Shum and his team at House of Beast has successfully avoided all the usual design tropes of what we’ve come to expect from Japanese restaurants.

A ceiling pendant by Jader Almeida from  Sollos  is suspended over the banquette with modern windsor chairs by Matthew Hilton from  De La Espada

A ceiling pendant by Jader Almeida from Sollos is suspended over the banquette with modern windsor chairs by Matthew Hilton from De La Espada

Pairs of vintage Italian armchairs hug the window-facing wall looking out over the city’s magnificent skyline. In the far end corner, a green floating banquette is faced by modern windsor chairs and a small ficus tree. An almost art deco inspired saucer shaped pendant illuminates an elaborately grained marble table in the private dining room.

Amongst these unexpected touches there are still elements of tradition visible, walls lined in washi paper, metal detailing, large swathes of expertly matched natural stone, and the hand crafted ceramics that Shum and his team commissioned from three renowned ceramic artists from Japan - Shusaku Ichino, Akihiro Nikaido and Sogo Takashi.

Of all these elements its the kitchen, that was custom designed for the space, that Chef Ryota Kanesawa says unsurprisingly is his favorite element within the new restaurant. Formerly of Zuma and two Michelin-starred restaurant Tenku Ryogin, Chef Kanesawa says he had dreamed of this kitchen for some time. It’s the open kitchen, giving the chef a direct view over the dining room, that make this a true Kappou style restaurant.

Through multiple courses in a selection of tasting menus you’ll find fresh seasonal ingredients hand selected by the Chef himself to showcase the simplicity for which his cuisine has become known, and expertly paired with a selection of sake as a surprising as the space itself.

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Dennis Lo

At the kitchen counter are velvet covered bar stools by GamFratesi from  Gubi

At the kitchen counter are velvet covered bar stools by GamFratesi from Gubi

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The large brass saucer in the private dining room is by  Florian Schulz

The large brass saucer in the private dining room is by Florian Schulz

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A Journey of the Senses

Newly opened John Anthony dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay is a photogenic explosion of colour and materiality rich in narrative and immersive experience

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Designed by Linehouse, the fit-out’s concept takes its lead from the East to West voyage of John Anthony, the first Chinese man naturalised as a British citizen in 1805. An employee of the East India Company, he arrived in Limehouse, the east end docklands of London, and soon after founded the district’s Chinatown.

The design celebrates this idea of exploration and discovery through a combination of architectural styles, colours and materials, giving patrons plenty to look at. As Linehouse co-director Briar Hickling explains, ‘We wanted to play on the retro nostalgia of the Chinese canteen, fusing it with colonial detailing and material from a British tea hall.’ The resulting attention to detail is exquisite, perfectly capturing the designers’ intention via a timber bar and gin tubes infused with blends of botanicals found along the Spice Routes, wicker leaners and furniture, and opulent floral upholstery.    

In the main dining hall, an arch motif is repeated throughout the scheme in a modernised interpretation of the docklands’ historic vaulted storehouses. The arches highlight the verticality and lightness of the space and their dusty pink lacquer finish adds an unexpected element of whimsy. Hickling and the team used reclaimed materials where possible, such as terracotta tiles sourced from old rural houses in China, and their use of handmade elements, including the clay render on the walls of the dining hall and hand-dyed indigo fabric, is especially evocative of John Anthony’s journey.

Indeed, the hands of the designers and those of the craftspeople involved in realising this fit-out are evident at every turn. Local artists were commissioned to paint the illustrations printed onto the tiles of the private dining rooms and the wicker pieces are all handwoven. ‘Working with materials that are handmade allowed for a lot of surprises during installation,’ says Hickling. ‘But in the end, these elements further enrich the project, allowing for variation and contributing something unpredictable.’

It’s surprising to realise this restaurant occupies a basement, such is the vibrancy and brightness of the design. Linehouse has successfully delivered an outcome that invites at every turn. Not only is it a feast for the eyes, but every surface, from textural tiles to luxurious fabrics, begs to be touched. Patrons will be returning for the gin selection as much as they are for an interior that transports them to another world.

Text / Leanne Amodeo
Images / Jonathan Leijonhufvud

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Welcome Home

The Nate Studios in Hong Kong is not your typical co-living arrangement

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Communal living — or co-living — is by no means a new trend, and it’s possible in cities all around the world. It not only allows younger people to afford the cost of city living, but caters to those who’ve adopted a modern minimalist lifestyle and want to live with a lighter footprint.

Enter The Nate Studios in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood, the latest residential project from boutique real estate developers District15. A first in the city, Hong Kong’s urbanites now have the option of a short-term studio rental option that allows them to book and pay online.

But forget any ideas of communal bathrooms or dorm-style living; The Nate offers something different altogether. In fact, District 15 co-founder Alexander Bent makes a point to distance The Nate from the ‘co-living’ label. ‘A lot of people talk about co-living these days.We don’t use that label because The Nate is so much more than what the term traditionally implies. Our goal was to depart from the herd and create a fun, comfortable and more luxe studio living experience,’ he explains.

The private studios (of which there are 71, ranging from 12-24 square metres in size) are fitted with the essentials, including generous under-bed storage space, KEF speakers, televisions with Airplay function, and large windows that allow natural light in (a feature that is somewhat uncommon in Hong Kong apartments). The communal spaces include a central kitchen area on the top floor, with six individual kitchens, high-quality appliances and cookware, and an inviting lounge around the preparation areas, with expansive views over the harbour. Here, guests can share meals, socialise, work, or even host their own visitors. ‘It’s just the right recipe for city living – premium living made affordable, thoughtfully designed, convenient and a bit of fun,’ says Bent, echoing a sentiment shared by District15’s second co-founder Dinesh Nihalchand, who calls it ‘plug-and-play for urban living’.

With developments that span residential and commercial, District15 promotes design and creativity as two factors that can lead to vibrant communities and neighbourhoods. The Nate is no exception, and here the design was undertaken by Hong Kong design studio Charlie & Rose, responsible for a number of the city’s best-looking drinking and dining spots.

Throughout, from the rooftop and laundrette to the individual studio spaces, the decor incorporates raw yet refined materials, like warm walnut and brass, complemented by a palette of charcoal, white and emerald green. Some of the furniture was designed in-house for the property, while other pieces are contemporary Danish designs. According to Charlie & Rose founder Ben McCarthy, The Nate is more like a ‘vertical village’. When designing the private and public spaces, McCarthy focused on creating a sense of community and a feeling of being at home. ‘Combining vibrant materials, bespoke fittings and vintage elements, the creative use of space creates a comfortable and welcoming domain that residents will happily call home,’ says the designer.

Text / Simone Schultz
Images / studio8ight 

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The Chinese Library

In Hong Kong’s newly opened Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, restaurants Statement and The Chinese Library celebrate the building’s history

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The long-awaited Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, formerly Hong Kong’s Central Police Station, is finally open to the public after extensive restoration. The Hong Kong public have been eagerly awaiting the opening and are arriving in hoards to check out the city’s latest cultural and lifestyle destination. And what would a lifestyle hub in Hong Kong be without a few new restaurants?

Of note is Statement and The Chinese Library, both run by Aqua group, situated on Hollywood road facing the Police Headquarters block. Aside from the historic architectural features, the building is flanked by parallel verandas — facing both Hollywood Road and the inner courtyard or ‘Parade Square’ — providing outdoor space that is nothing short of a rarity in Hong Kong.

Guests enter via The Dispensary, reminiscent of a Colonial-era bar and inspired by the mixed-race mess hall that once existed there in the early 1900’s, and take a left to dine on Hong Kong-style cuisine at The Chinese Library, or turn right for its English counterpart, Statement. The concept for the space, says designer Ed Ng of the interior design firm AB Concept who were charged with the interiors, was to represent the story and the journey of Hong Kong.

Retaining as many of the original features was a priority, Ng says. The wooden floors and window frames were left untouched, allowing guests to better envisage the original space. The venue’s original function inspired many of the details too — mirrors and decoration take the form of police officers’ badges, while the royal blue colour was inspired by police uniforms.

Like many cities, Hong Kong and its citizens are always keen to see and be seen in the newest and hottest places. What makes this venue so unique and unusual is its location in one of Hong Kong’s few remaining heritage buildings and one which Ng, a Hongkonger born and raised, believes is one of its most iconic.

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Courtesy of Aqua Group

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New Traditions

In this Hong Kong apartment, STUDIO ADJECTIVE translates traditional Chinese architecture and aesthetics into a modern design language

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The connection between people, community and city is a focal point for Emily Ho and Wilson Lee, founders of Hong Kong-based STUDIO ADJECTIVE. It’s at the intersection of these three themes that their designs fit most comfortably: considering individual needs and character, and the broader community it is or will become part of.

For their recent design of a 2-bedroom 2-bathroom apartment in Hong Kong, the duo reinterpreted traditional design to reflect the client’s fascination with Chinese culture and minimised the spatial constraints that are par for the course in the city.

Where before the kitchen and service area consumed more than half of the available living space, a pavilion-like structure now houses the full kitchen and bathrooms, blurring the boundaries between these spaces and the rest of the home. Here, overlapping layers of fluted glass and wooden fins define the areas more subtly.

Wrapped in teak, glass and metal frames, the kitchen becomes an extension of the living space. The materials, in varying levels of transparency, are used again in the bathrooms and on one side of the corridor, while a dark smoked oak wall wraps around into the corridor on the opposite side. Throughout the compact apartment, the fragmented layers, visual depth and material continuity create a balance of spatial and tactile qualities.

Text / Simone Schultz
Images / Courtesy of STUDIO ADJECTIVE

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A New Narrative

In her latest collection, interior and furniture designer Joyce Wang reimagines traditional terrazzo

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With bases in London and Hong Kong, Joyce Wang’s eponymous studio specialises in hospitality and residential interiors and furniture design, and her name is on a host of top international locations, including the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, and Mott 32 in Hong Kong and Vancouver.

The studio’s latest collection, FLINT launched at a week-long open studio during this year’s London Design Festival. Inspired by the idea of reinventing an old material into something new, Wang reimagines and elevates terrazzo beyond its traditional uses in flooring and surfaces, diverging from those rectilinear forms to create curves and domed shapes that reveal the material from a sculptural perspective.

Featuring a series of objects, vessels and furniture, FLINT is a celebration of contemporary design, modern techniques and classic materials. Wang developed the collection in Hong Kong, experimenting with various tools, technology and techniques, and developed FLINT in collaboration with a third-generation Italian terrazzo manufacturer. The collection also features the studio’s signature metalwork, with solid brass accents that form complimentary motifs throughout.

With FLINT, Wang has created objects that are refined and robust, and that breathe new life into the humble material.

The full series is available in charcoal, and also includes limited edition rose- and sage-coloured ice cream bowls.

Text / Simone Schultz

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The Imaginarium of Luis Chan

Iconic Hong Kong artist Luis Chan’s fantastic beasts and how he found them

Untitled (Goldenhaired Girl with Bird and Beasts)  Luis Chan 1964-1971 Acrylic on paper 45 × 59 cm Unique Generously donated by Red Rock Studio

Untitled (Goldenhaired Girl with Bird and Beasts)
Luis Chan
1964-1971
Acrylic on paper
45 × 59 cm
Unique
Generously donated by Red Rock Studio

Resembling illustrations from a half-remembered but much-loved book of fairy tales, the paintings that cemented Luis Chan’s place as a legend of Hong Kong contemporary art arose from a technique he developed to harness his subconscious mind. Strange creatures and kaleidoscopic characters blossom from arbitrary smears of ink, floating serenely on paper and blending into each other like mirages — their dreamlike quality a reflection of Chan’s rich inner world.

 Chan’s fascination with the everyday threaded his artistic career, which began in the 1920s and continued until his death in 1995. Born in 1905 in Panama, Chan moved with his family to Hong Kong five years later. He spent the rest of his life in the city, watching it change and devoting his life to making art that reflected those transformations.

 Chan began as a realist painter in the English style, capturing day-to-day scenes around Hong Kong with such verve and skill that he became known as the ‘King of Watercolour’ and was considered one of the ‘Three Masters’ of Hong Kong painting alongside Li Bing and Yu Ben. Collectors of his early works included Sir Andrew Caldecott, then-governor of Hong Kong, but Chan remained modest and unpretentious, focused only on his passion for art. He was known for his all-consuming desire to learn as much as he could about art, subscribing to art magazines and surrounding himself with a community of artists from diverse backgrounds. Not only was he a member of Hong Kong’s prestigious non-Chinese art society, the Hong Kong Art Club — eventually becoming chairman — he also founded the Chinese Contemporary Artists’ Guild in the hopes that Chinese artists would find their place in the contemporary art world.

 It was this open-minded approach to art and thirst for self-improvement that made him unique among his peers during the experimental art period of the 1960s. Despite being in his 50s, Chan was able to make the transition from realist painting to a diverse range of genres including abstract art similar to action painting and Matisse-inspired collages, before honing the magical realism that would become his signature.

 Though the style of his paintings shifted dramatically, Chan continued to take inspiration from daily life. The fish swimming in restaurant aquariums, the birds callings out from their cages shops — everything he observed on his daily walks made appearances in his paintings, transformed into otherworldly creatures. Consider the luminous fairy-tale subjects in Untitled (Golden-haired Girl with Bird and Beasts), with their hazy, surreal qualities. A lovely and rare example of Chan’s early fantastical work, the painting fills the viewer with the kind of childlike anticipation that might accompany a bedtime story. Is the golden-haired girl a captive or an adventurer? Are we at the beginning, the middle or the end of the story? Chan’s genius lay in his ability to inspire a multitude of narratives through a psychedelic language that could be understood by everyone.

 In 1984, Chan was quoted as saying ‘Above all else, art has to stimulate the imagination.’ Although his paintings have their origins as random marks on paper, his dreams emerged to inspire our own.

Text / Maloy Luakian

ICHU

The H Queen’s Building in Hong Kong’s Central district was custom designed by CL3 Architects to house art. Heavy-hitters in the art world like Hauser & Wirth, Pace, Pearl Lam and David Zwirner are all in residence on the upper levels. But the gleaming new tower is quickly becoming home to a number of fine dining destinations too.

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Case in point is the recently revealed ICHU, the brainchild of Peruvian chef and restaurateur Virgilio Martinez Véliz. Recognised internationally for his efforts in bringing a modern twist to his native cuisine via Central Restaurante in Peru — a frequent addition to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

In the new Hong Kong location Chef Martinez wanted to ‘replicate the atmosphere of Lima’s local cevicherias’, and ‘honour Peru’s no-fuss dining culture where the atmosphere is relaxed, the dishes are shared and the recipes highlight fresh ingredients and traditional flavours.’

The authentic, sophisticated flavours are enjoyed in equally sophisticated surrounds, courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio. Wang’s signature cinematic approach is evident in her studio’s latest project — a cleverly crafted narrative that creates a sense of discovery, an experience that unfolds throughout the course of the evening as a stunning backdrop to the highly inventive menu. The thoughtfully designed interiors were inspired by the unique mountainous terrain of Peru, which, explains Wang, ‘has one of the most varied ecosystems in the world, and we wanted to reflect that in our design.’ The dynamic colour palette and selection of richly textured materials ‘capture Martinez’s creative culinary style,’ she adds.

The studio collaborated with local artist Vivian Ho to create an art piece that takes centre stage. The mega-scale landscape vibrantly illustrates, as Wang points out, the ‘interdependent relationship of the various flora and fauna — an ecosystem that speaks to the unique network of flavours offered on the menu.’

The layers of richness are carefully tempered with a rawness that, like a good cerviche, is flavourful but not overwhelming. But don’t just take our word for it, go and see for yourself.

Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Courtesy of ICHU

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Asia Art Archive

Founded in 2000, Asia Art Archive has grown from a handful of catalogues in an unassuming office into one of the region’s most critical art institutions

Asia Art Archive Library  Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

Asia Art Archive Library
Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

‘It’s so much more than a library,’ says Alexandra Seno, Head of Development at Asia Art Archive (AAA), a Hong Kong-based non-profit art organisation. ‘It’s really a think tank, a place to experiment with new ideas... Books are just materials on a shelf unless you activate them’. Alongside its burgeoning collection of some 70,000 items, AAA has built a reputation for its insightful exhibitions, talks and artist residency programme.

For the latest edition of Art Basel Hong Kong for instance, AAA flew in famed feminist activist art group Guerrilla Girls to curate their booth, which questioned the status of women at the fair itself as well as in the Hong Kong art world. Donning gorilla masks, the activists also gave a series of talks in the city where they delivered a scathing critique of art institutions in Asia (including AAA) for their lack of female representation.

Bringing in individuals who deliver thought-provoking talks is just one example of AAA’s contributions to the local art scene. ‘Having the Guerilla Girls here and talking to them really made us commit. We just started a women artist art fund,’ says Seno as she explains that the archive is constantly evolving and responding to the city’s changing art ecology.

When AAA was founded almost two decades ago, Hong Kong was a cultural backwater and the contemporary art scene was only just taking off. Founder Claire Hsu, a graduate student in her twenties, realised there weren’t any resources for academics researching Asian art and decided to start AAA. Since then the landscape has transformed with the arrival of Art Basel Hong Kong, Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts and M+. ‘Our work and goals have changed throughout the years,’ she says. ‘[Now] the most important thing is to provide a platform for the writing of Hong Kong’s art history’.

Today AAA is working with The University of Hong Kong to teach a course on Hong Kong’s modern art history. ‘It’s always been a struggle because there are only really three or four reference books available,’ says Seno. ‘Because we have the resources, we co-teach the programme’. The archive is also reaching out to some 250 secondary schools to help teachers incorporate contemporary art into their lessons. Another central project is archiving the late Hong Kong sculptor and printmaker Ha Bik Chuen’s work. The prolific artist documented exhibitions in Hong Kong from the 1960s to 70s offering a window into the city’s past.

To fund their various projects AAA holds an annual auction dinner, which has become a key fixture on the city’s art calendar. As Seno explains, the event supports more than half of AAA's annual budget and will this year feature about 70 works donated by artists, galleries and private collectors. 

While the auction is a glamorous affair, Seno admits, ‘[AAA’s day to day work] is not naturally sexy.’ However, she stresses that it is extremely important. ‘AAA’s goal is to create a more generous art history that encompasses Asian art and artists. Without primary resources and solid archives, great exhibitions cannot happen, and art histories cannot be written… that’s one of our big contributions’.

Text / Payal Uttam


The auction will be live from 9 October 2018 at aaa2018auction.com

Asia Art Archive Library  Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

Asia Art Archive Library
Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

Asia Art Archive Library  Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

Asia Art Archive Library
Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

Joyce Ho,  Go Tell It , 2018, acrylic paint on book, aluminum frame. Donated by the artist and TKG+

Joyce Ho, Go Tell It, 2018, acrylic paint on book, aluminum frame. Donated by the artist and TKG+

Ho Sin Tung, Outlive the Light, 2017, colour pencil on paper mounted on wood (five panels), wood acrylic display case with key. Donated by the artist

Ho Sin Tung, Outlive the Light, 2017, colour pencil on paper mounted on wood (five panels), wood acrylic display case with key. Donated by the artist

Izumi Kato,  Untitled , 2017, lithograph on BFK rives paper, wood frame. Donated by the artist and Perrotin

Izumi Kato, Untitled, 2017, lithograph on BFK rives paper, wood frame. Donated by the artist and Perrotin

Liu Ye,  Pyramid , 2010, acrylic on paper. Donated by the artist and Esther Schipper

Liu Ye, Pyramid, 2010, acrylic on paper. Donated by the artist and Esther Schipper

Seher Shah,  Hewn (first and plan) , 2014, woodcut mono print on A4 grid paper. Donated by the artist

Seher Shah, Hewn (first and plan), 2014, woodcut mono print on A4 grid paper. Donated by the artist

Asia Art Archive Library  Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

Asia Art Archive Library
Photo by Kitmin Lee. Courtesy of Asia Art Archive

See & Do, ArtPayal UttamHong Kong