d+a Issue 099 (Preview)

Page 1

U S $ 1 2 O T H E R S A U S $ 1 4 . 9 5

design and architecture / ISSUE 099. 2017 • S$8 /



$ 8


R M 1 8


H K D 9 0


/ www.designandarchitecture. com /



CROSSING CROSSROADS A crossroad is like a secret labyrinth that is fenceless yet confusing at the same time. Do we turn left or move on? instagram.com/timmy727





espite its absence in Asia this year, M&O Paris continues to stay at the forefront to promote emerging designers from the Asian region in the upcoming September edition. WOHA, the world-renowned Singapore-based architectural firm founded by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell has been announced as the Designer of the Year Asia 2017. WOHA has designed some of the most significant award-winning projects in the region including Park Royal on Pickering and Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali, Intercontinental Sanya Resort in China and The Hyde in Australia. At the upcoming September show, WOHA will be debuting their lifestyle brand WOHAbeing in a 90sqm showcase in Hall 7. The showcase will feature some of the most enticing curated pieces ranging from furniture, lights, carpets, accessories, table and bathware. Alongside the illustrated WOHA, five rising talents will also be recognised at the prestigious event. d+a gets up-close and personal with these amazing design talents.



ADesign Studio (Australia) Alex Fitzpatrick grew up in three different continents: born in Canada, he then lived in Australia and India. He trained as an Industrial Designer at the University of Alberta, Canada and finally set up his practice, AdesignStudio, in Sydney, Australia, focusing on architectural lighting and luminaire design. ‘We Light to Enhance Life’ is the studio motto. Alex Fitzpatrick believes that the power of lighting can transform space, experience, emotions or even increase health and wellbeing by ‘balancing the scientific

lights: to be decorative, functional and durable. The metals we use can pull enough heat from the LED bulbs. This is the finely-tuned technical, engineering side of our work: maximising the energy-efficiency, considering the warmth of light and ensuring a long life to our products’. From Tokyo to Milan, the multi-awarded ADesignStudio has taken part in international design exhibitions. Alex Fitzpatrick’s works will be showcased for the first time in France at Maison&Objet Paris. www.adesignstudio.com.au

and poetic aspects of light’. Alex Fitzpatrick’s travels and experience have left their imprint on his work. Australian heritage and society are a strong influence: the Greenway family of lighting takes after the architectural heritage of Sydney’s coast, echoing the forms of lighthouses dotted along its shores. Named after convict architect Francis Greenway (who designed Australia’s first lighthouse in 1818), the range combines history with modern technology. Metals give the fittings longevity, which is the definitive purpose of our

Jinggoy Buensuceso (Philippines) Jinggoy Buensuceso is a visual artist and designer based in the Philippines. Influenced by his childhood in the province of Bataan and his exposure to the art and architecture scenes of New York and Singapore where he lived, and after graduating from the University of the Philippines with a Fine Arts degree in Visual Communication, he immediately worked with international companies, designing fashion accessories. Among his most acclaimed designed are the Spider Chair and the Moth Chair, which Jinggoy is particularly fond of, explaining that their graceful design also reminds him of his grandmother’s eyes. “From the back, you’ll notice the silhouette of a very singkit eye [a Filipino term for almond-shaped eye].” Hence its alias, the ‘Conching Chair’, named after his beloved grandma’s name.


Metal is Jinggoy Buensuceso’s favourite medium: he finds it very challenging and equally rewarding. “It’s hard to control the temperature to get the form. But it follows my orders. As a friend, it gives me a lot of ideas,” he shares. His works evokes organic forms, “inspired by the beauty and form of nature”, expressed with metal, wood or cement. As a furniture designer, he has created hybrid pieces meant to evolve design into art. In 2015, Jinggoy founded his own brand of creative objects, BETA. On his studio, Jinggoy describes: “My studio is set up in a black house: I am inspired by the different textures and intensities of black, as much as by the nature around me. Some people find this colour negative but do you know that if you put all colors together, the result is black? For me, black is creative, an infinite canvas of possibilities.” www.jinggotbuensuceso.com

Kamaro’an (Taiwan) Kamaro’an was born from a collaboration between artists and young Taiwanese designers. In May 2013, three students attending the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology started their project, embracing a vision rooted in the concept of social enterprise. The idea was “first, to introduce the unique aesthetics of the Amis artists to the mass by artistic designs, and then drive the tribal economy through the local craft industry.” The company was incubated at the university as part of a business design lab that matched tribal artists with business students. In the Pangcah language, the meaning of Kamoro’an is “the place to live”. The Makuta’ay tribe, whom the artists belong to, is located along the coastline in eastern Taiwan. In the 1990s, Rahic Talif led a group of youths from the tribe to open a new path of modern art based on


driftwood; the successful initiative started a social change, seeing tribal youths leaving cities and returning home to take part in the creative venture based on the longstanding culture of Pangcah. Kamaro’an was the next step, creating functional and beautiful design pieces based on the tribal artists’ works, every piece crafted by the local community. “We offer respectful payroll to local weavers, and share profits with artists”. Kamaro’an collections of lightings and accessories revive traditional craft via living design. In Maison&Objet Paris, Yun-Fann, marketing director of the brand, and designer Shane Liu will introduce driftwood and woven furniture, exploring natural materials and delicate craftsmanship through contemporary designs. “We believe design products can be as organic as agriculture. This is a continuous progress recombining the relationships between earth, humanities, product and consumer”. www.kamaroan.com

/ scene /

Images Bell&Ross




ince it was founded, Bell & Ross has taken its inspiration from the history of aviation. It has developed Vintage collections that pay tribute to key eras of the great aeronautical adventure. Each series of watches marks a milestone in its chronology. Bring them together, and they summarise the history of aviation. The Vintage family made its début during early years of Bell & Ross. The collection boasts a series watches with a round case, the most classical of shapes. They count with a range of complications, such as chronograph, Flyback function, dual time zone, date, and even small second hands. Vintage scrupulously respects the brand’s DNA and largely draws its inspiration from military codes. It is a sort of equivalent to the BR 01, Bell & Ross’ iconic watch, but with a round case. The original first generation is characterised by a classic dial, rounded lugs and the absence of a bezel.

As the model transitions to the second generation, the case and dial are redesigned to bring coherence to the collection. The watch bears a case with a larger diameter and has a bezel. The dial takes its aesthetic codes from the iconic BR01, including the distinctive sword-shaped hands. With the third generation, the latest has once again evolved with the times. The identity of the dial remains and the case becomes more sophisticated. The diameter has decreased and the watches are flatter. This new Vintage generation has seen much innovation. A modern touch has been added to this firmly established collection by redesigning the diameter and thickness of the case. Many of its details have been reworked to combine sophistication with optimum functionality. With this collection, Bell & Ross has also forced symbolic partnerships and paid tribute to several air force regiments. Three chronographs paying tribute




nspired by the colors and elements of summer and Frappuccino, Starbucks collaborates with Dulux Paints to invite local talents in showcasing their creativity in mural art at selected Starbucks stores in Malaysia. Aligned with Starbucks summer campaign tagline ‘Show Your Flavor’, Starbucks wants to encourage customers to be daring and adventurous to try on new experiences and express themselves through colours this summer. Starbucks invited local talents to create their own unique masterpiece at the walls of selected Starbucks stores using the high quality and colourful paints provided by Dulux Paint (Malaysia). Playing around the elements of vibrant, adventurous, bright, bold and energetic palettes, these masterpieces were officially unveiled to the public on the 7 June. This is the first ever collaboration between Starbucks and Dulux in showcasing the local talents in mural art. Through this collaboration, Starbucks Malaysia and Dulux Paint strongly believe that this project will create a platform for the local talents to showcase their creativity in mural arts and embrace the Malaysia’s culture and lifestyle. (www.starbucks.com.my) (www.dulux.com.my )


1. The brand new BR V294 combines sophistication with optimum functionality through multiple detailed works 2. (from top to bottom) VINTAGE Chrono 1st Generation, VINTAGE BR 126 INSIGNIA (UK), Vintage BR126 Sport


to the air forces that fought in the Second World War were released. The dials of these pilots’ watches feature a coloured insignia, like those painted on the wings of the French, British and American fighter planes of the era. The Vintage Sport Heritage, with its Sixties aesthetic, was inspired by the French Falcon Mystère 20 business jet built by Dassault Aviation. It was launched to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this successful twin-engine jet, which first took to the skies in 1963. Despite the round shape that may seem to veer away from its signature iconic square, the Bell & Ross Vintage collection remains a fashion staple that sets a ‘wow’ statement. Elegant in black (BR V1) or decked in an all-steel look (BR-V2), watch lovers are tantalised with an exciting twist to style. Classic is now back! (www.bellross.com)


1. A blue number from the Mobi range 2. Zaha Hadid’s trademark look romanticises the limited-edition clutches





arisian leather goods artisans, Perrin Paris have unveiled their collaboration with Zaha Hadid Design; a limited-edition collection of seven leather clutches. Founded in 1893, Rigaudy-Perrin became the purveyor of leather gloves for France’s premier couture houses. Re-launched in 2009 as Perrin Paris, the company has extended their expertise into a collection of handbags and accessories combining the finest quality skins with conceptual design. A brand signature, the glove clutch retains the label’s renowned DNA. The collaboration with Zaha Hadid Design is a marriage of creativity that began when Zaha Hadid received a Perrin Paris glove clutch as a gift in 2015. Soon afterwards, Sally and Michel Perrin connected with her studio, ultimately leading to a design partnership focused on creating a unique capsule collection, which reimagines the historic brand’s iconic glove clutch. The ‘Perrin Paris x Zaha Hadid’ collection consists of seven clutches with three different sculptural metal glove-pieces – Strae, Loop and Mobi – as part of a limited-edition series. The leather clutch is finished in five colours: black, white, blush, lipstick and electric blue, with sculpted metallic glove-pieces in a variety of finishes including gold, rose gold, silver, or the red and blue of their corresponding leather clutches. The fluid forms of each metallic glove-piece have been designed and crafted to enable the clutch to be worn on either the right or left hand, resulting in a striking combination of Hadid’s unmistakable design language with Perrin’s heritage and expertise of handcrafted leather. “We are honoured to unveil this incredible collaboration, which is dear to our hearts,” said Sally Perrin. “Zaha was an incredible talent, and her work lives on as a testament to her legacy and enduring impact on the architecture and design worlds.” “We have always been interested in the strong connection between fashion and jewellery, and this collaboration allowed us to combine both disciplines,” explained Maha Kutay, Director of Zaha Hadid Design. “Each piece is manufactured in soft leather and integrates Zaha Hadid Design’s signature language with Perrin’s immaculate craftsmanship.” (www.zaha-hadid-design.com) (www.perrinparis.com)


Images Courtesy of Perrin Paris

/ stage /

/ stage /


/ About Boca do Lobo /


he world of furniture is a daunting place. Revolutionary designs and statement pieces fly out the charts by the seconds. Gathering more than twenty of the most distinguished Portuguese luxury furniture brands in Madrid, Spanish interior designer Pepe Leal has created one of the most fascinating and memorable space. Pepe has carefully selected Portuguese historic and significant materials so that he would be able to reflect perfectly the Portuguese culture and the kind of furniture that has been made in Portugal. From the ceilings, passing through the walls and floor, to the dÊcor itself, each and every detail comes from Portugal in the creation of the Lusitano Corner, Pepe´s most recent design project.

Boca do Lobo emotional pieces are handmade in Portugal by talented artisans who use their wisdom from years of experience to combine traditional manufacturing techniques with the latest technological methods, shaping the most refined materials into furniture which gives rise to timeless and cosmopolitan luxury interiors.

Images Boca do Lobo

All luxury furniture pieces were flawlessly selected, including the Eden Center Table, Tiffany Stool and Heritage Sideboard by Boca do Lobo. The hand-painted tiles on the Heritage Sideboard presents different layers of story that illustrate the history of Portuguese hand-painted tiles. The Eden Centre Table that is fully made of polished casted brass has a delicately engraved top exposing the heart of a golden tree to the very heart of a home. In Pepe’s work, there is a certain flamboyance within an understated cultural reference. In Madrid, the capital city of Spain, the flourishing culture and heritage are the best component to recreate, redefine and re-modernise new trends. (www.bocadolobo.com)


/ inside /



DRAMATIC EXPRESSION Redefining the conventional century-old mansions in Toronto’s most notable historic neighbourhood, Batay-Csorba Architects creates a creative space that invokes imagination and drama. Words Martin Teo / Photography Doublespace Photography


1.The entrance celebrates the rawness of bricks and unclad materials 2. At night, the screen reads as a decorative glowing lantern from the building’s facade


he Double Duplex was created in response to the cities growing need for alternative housing models due to the rising cost of urban real estate and the need for urban densification within Toronto’s established residential neighbourhoods. A proliferation of high and mid-rise condominiums have been making the urban core even more dense and serve as the predominant model for entry level home ownership within the city. However, very few new low-rise infill models of densification or affordable living within Toronto’s sought after historic residential neighbourhoods have been developed. The Double Duplex infill project is located on Melbourne Avenue in Parkdale, one of Toronto’s most notable historic neighbourhoods for their century old Victorian and Bay and

Gable mansions. The existing double wide site was severed into two separate properties with a four storey 3,500 square foot detached duplex residence being constructed on each site, allowing property owners to either rent out one of the units to subsidise their own income or to use it as a live work space. Many of the 19th Century mansions, often later converted to rooming houses still exist and are being converted back into single-family homes. The unique Parkdale neighbourhood now finds itself home to a large burgeoning artist community akin to the Tribeca homes in Manhattan, New York. Cultural Context Double Duplex pays tribute to the existing context and the beauty of its craft and local artistry by making contextual


/ inside /


3. White used paves the way for the colourful graphics to stand out 4. Inside, simplicity calls for an easy-tolook-at space 5. With a clever design approach, the light is filtered and illuminates the interior spaces with ephemeral dappled light effects


relationships through massing and geometry along with texture and detail of paramount concern. “Instead of trying to replicate the 19th century means and methods of craft, we ask how can we contemporise and reinterpret the existing condition?” suggest the architects of Batay-Csorba Architects. The Double Duplex massing emerges as a contemporary response to its context. Using an abstraction of the pervasive Bay and Gable typology, the project becomes a reinterpretation of key architectural elements. These elements include the large bay massing that usually covered over half of the front elevation, the steep roofs and sharp vertical lines, the front balcony, high ceilings with large windows, which allow light to reach the depths of the narrow floor plates. The space is elaborately decorated with selected ornamentation in the form of motifs, mouldings and Brick Expressionism to create rich and textural facades. The Double Duplex geometry registers datums of adjacent neighbours window and door opening heights, roof slopes and eave heights. The material transitions on either side produce specific formal relationships. The architects


share: “By leveraging digital fabrication techniques and the use of new material technologies for perceptual, spatial and formal effect, we translate the notion of 19th century craft using the way of a two storey brise soleil. The brise soleil encloses the front and rear balconies, allowing for controlled lighting conditions and privacy.” Constructed of bio-enhanced, rot resistant and sustainable softwood, the individual pieces are organised to create a large-scale dynamic facade. During the day, the light is filtered and illuminates the interior spaces with ephemeral dappled light effects. And at night the screen reads as a decorative glowing lantern. Controling Space The project also represents strategies for dynamic and spatial integration of exterior and interior spaces within a typical narrow and deep Toronto infill lot. Each duplex residence consists of a two storey lower unit and a two storey upper unit. The lower unit is carved out in the front and back with double height volumes that flow out to sunken courtyards, maximising the amount of natural daylight entering the unit

DOUBLE DUPLEX location Building Area Completion Architect

Toronto Ontario Canada 3,500 ft2 2016 Batay-Csorba Architects



/ inside /


6. Top view of the external courtyard

and transgressing the basement apartment stereotype. The lower unit’s courtyards are wrapped in brightly murals painted by local artists. The upper unit is organised around a double height atrium space, which brings natural light and ventilation into the center of the unit. Two exterior courtyards punctuate either end of the floor plate behind the wooden brise soleil; to the front a double height balcony overlooks the street and to the rear provides for a master bedroom terrace. Creating an activated urban environment on the busy residential street is of key importance. A modern static building facade could not contend with the ornate historical context. The response is to engage the movement of the public passing by through the tools of material and spatial depth, referencing a large art installation. The two-storey brise soleil is angled such that as viewers pass by multiple images appear, catching the light differently at different times of the day. The screen proposes a variation


of figures that evokes loose, variable associations while still remaining in the realm of affect, giving viewers a freeassociation. The patterns across the surface and varied interrelationships of depth, angle and shadow from one member to the next reinforce the abstractions they define in one moment and cloud it the next. Somewhat this is akin to the idea of cloud animals that we have all as children lost ourselves to in daydreaming. For artists and poets of the Romantic period, clouds provided a metaphor for mobility and transcendence. Clouds are as much a source of perception and transient states of mind as they are meteorological phenomenon. They mysteriously combine visibility and volume without space. For cloud painters like John Constable, clouds serve to abolish the representational realm altogether; they round out pictorial space instead of flattening it; they point to the organisation of the pictorial as a dialectic of surface and depth.

7. The modern living is defined through simple spaces and a touch of whimsy 8. A jolt of surprise with street art elements adorning the interiors unconventionally





SPATIAL SYMPHONY Architecture firm RT+Q designs a trio of houses that reads like siblings. While sharing similar traits, the ‘Case Study Houses’ also offer distinct personalities and experiences articulated through unique spatial and material dynamics. WORDS LUO JINGMEI / IMAGES COURTESY OF RT+Q ARCHITECTS





efore Rene Tan, co-founder of architecture firm RT+Q, settled into architecture as a career choice, his first love was music. This shows in the way musical analogies pop up when he talks about his work. For a recently completed project – a row of three gabled-roof houses he names the ‘Case Study Houses’ – he says, “We saw them as an exploration of variations to a single theme (i.e., one theme, many variations; or one form, many variations). This likens to music, for example, the many variations of Paganini’s caprice no.24, where the likes of Brahms, Rachmaninov, Liszt, Lutoslawski, etc., all took a hand in writing variations.” Those familiar with modern architecture would recall the original ‘Case Study Houses’, where architects such as Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano,


Charles and Ray Eames and Pierre Koenig, to name a few, were called upon to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for United States’ postWorld War Two residential housing explosion, sponsored and commissioned by Arts & Architecture magazine from 1945 to 1966. While the three houses designed by RT+Q look nothing like their Modernist namesakes, they are still rooted in the same fundamental concept of exploring a common form or idea and expounding permutations and variations to the expressions of this form, says Melvin Keng, the architect in charge of this project. He adds: “We sought to explore and study everything architecture: from numerous different ways of applying certain building elements, materials and down to the tectonics of architecture detailing.

1. A dramatic cantilevering screen heralds the entrance of the House with Shadows 2. Water bodies and courtyards fill the courtyards within and in between the houses




3. In the House with Shadows, glass is used abundantly for openness but screens help to temper the unforgiving blaze of the tropical sun 4. Concrete, wood and metal form an atmospheric transitional space in the main stairway of the House with Shadows 5. Sectional perspective of the House with Shadows 6. Sectional perspective of the House in Grey


The built result illustrates these studies (e.g., multiple solutions to sun-shading, multiple expressions of building edges, spatial variations, etc.). An opportunity of such exhaustive studies, at least till a certain point, would not have been possible with a single house commission.” Two Good Class Bungalow (GCB) plots were combined and subsequently subdivided into the three plots, with the middle being the largest. This is where the client resides with his threegenerational family. The other two plots are to be rented out upon completion. “The clients were specific in requesting for houses that were practical and functional, whilst providing large spacious outdoor spaces for family or communal functions,” shares Keng. Their names – House with Shadows, House of Fins and House in Grey – hint at their defining focuses of experimentation. The approach of each house is similar: all are on elevated ground, explaining basements housing utility spaces and car parks carved


in on street level. From basement, up a flight of stone garden steps, an entrance forecourt before is the prelude to entering each home proper. While the entrance sequences are similar, the architects have designed unique welcoming elements for each house. For the House of Fins, a boxy timber trellis portal invites rhythmic conversations between light and shadow. For the House with Shadows, the drama occurs upon encountering a two-storey-high façade at the main door, framed above by a cantilevering timber canopy, an experience Keng describes as akin to “‘climbing a hill, in anticipation of coming up face-to-face with a Japanese Shinto temple at the summit’.” On the other hand, the House of Grey’s approach is subtler, gentler, where the full breath of the front lawn garden in view provides the welcome. These ceremonial gestures are a start to a host of architectural surprises at play – be it through theatrics in form or the





7. Sectional perspective of the House with Shadows highlights the elevation of the land 8. The House in Grey is clad in grey metal with dashes of blood red highlighting certain portals 9. The pavilion of the House in Grey is clad in a unique metal mesh that shimmers when viewed from a distance

harmonious synthesis of materials. A defining datum is the gabled roof profile present in all three properties, which unites the estate visually. Shares Tan of this gesture: “Fascination arises from two considerations: one aesthetic, because it fosters a domestic image, which many homeowners feel comfortable with; the other, utilitarian, because the form allows for additional habitable spaces like attics.” PLAY ON HARMONY The material play is yet another exploration in variation. “For us, it’s always interesting to see how different materials can transform a common form, not unlike how Ravel orchestrated Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ (originally written for a piano solo),” expounds Tan, drawing again upon a musical metaphor. Off form concrete and solid timber planks dress the House of Shadows, while plaster and textured paint coat the House of Fins for most of the vertical surfaces, providing a pleasing complement


to solid timber cladding and fins functioning as bries soliel on some facades. In contrast, metal clads the House in Grey – an unconventional choice as an external skin for a tropical house. “Aluminium sheet cladding was used for both roof and walls of the second storey blocks, with an intention to alleviate the maintenance of vertical surfaces in most tropical houses. Perforated metal mesh was used as the inlay material instead of the usual timber screen solution. It is an experiment to investigate if they can perform similarly with respect to sun shading. The result is an uncanny resemblance to a ship or machine – quite the opposite of what one would expect from a house,” Keng muses. Throughout all three houses, the programmatic planning is logical and also fluid, reading either as ‘L’ or ‘U’ shape arrangements in plan within each plot. The residual spaces become a series of bounded courtyards – some with pools – that are either private or public in character, depending on their facing on site. These courtyards extend the green vista of each house beyond its


Rene Tan, Co-founder RT+Q Architects Pte Ltd

“Fascination arises from two considerations: one aesthetic, because it fosters a domestic image, which many homeowners feel comfortable with; the other, utilitarian, because the form allows for additional habitable spaces like attics”











property line and also create seamless indoor-outdoor connections between habitation and garden, highlighted in various ways. In the House with Fins and House in Grey, pavilions floating above water bodies are calming spaces from which to contemplate the main architecture volumes. The notable landscape, with influences from Australian wilderness and Japanese gardens mixed with simple, manicured lawns, embraces the architecture in a congenial way. It was designed in collaboration with the client’s son-in-law, a recognised landscape architect in Singapore. The interior of each house is a blend of discretion and sensuality, where delicately crafted and designed staircases make for inspiring transitional spaces and architectural highlights. Deep canopies and sheltered verandahs to both protect from and

enjoy the tropical weather are also thoughtfully designed into the architectural scheme. Where possible, cross-ventilation is also considered to ensure drafts of breeze passing through the houses. For instance, in the House with Shadows, full-height sliding glass doors and windows largely enclose the first floor on opposite sides of each wing. “The ‘Case Study Houses’ are very different from our earlier RT+Q works. The earlier works like the House at Damansara and the House at Watten tended to be more abstract in character. With the barn-shape form, the architecture has become more representational. It is our firm’s intent to explore, again, the emancipation of the traditional ‘primitive hut’ – the simplest form of dwelling and architecture,” concludes Tan.


10. Sectional perspective of House with Fins 11. A detailed spiral staircase in the House with Fins is highlighted and showcased from the exterior in a picture frame manner

/ stay /


1. The main lobby introduces a striking red seating console as an element of surprise

UNCOVERED SURPRISES From an old sugar mill to a masterful naturecentric resort, Alila Yangshuo celebrates the tactility of its rustic materials and the wonders of Guilin’s cultural experience. Words MARTIN TEO / Photography Alila Yangshuo



lila means ‘Surprise’ in Sanskrit. This word suitable describes the refreshing character of their properties and impressions given to guests when enjoying the ‘Alila’ experience. Naturally crafted against the picturesque karst mountains, rolling verdant hills and meandering rivers, Alila Yangshuo is Alila Hotels and Resorts’ second property in China. Set in a modern retro theme, Alila Yangshuo is located in one of the most breathtaking places in China – Guilin. Alila Yangshuo overlooks the scenic vista of the Li River. The resort reaps the exciting nuances of the site’s natural and cultural wonders. Once a working sugar mill, Alila Yangshuo is converted exquisitely into a rustic chic resort of 117 rooms, suites and villas; combining stylish simplicity, with exceptional comfort and convenience. Designed by Dong Gong of Vector Architects with interiors by award-winning Ju Bin of Horizontal Space Design, the vision of Alila Yangshuo is to integrate the new with the old. The designers have artfully incorporated elements of the retro 1960s sugar mill


architecture into the common areas of Alila Yangshuo as seen in the hollow wall structure and in the transformation of the original sugarcane dock into a swimming pool. Stripped Surprise As a repurposed conservation project, the authenticity of the existing structure is kept to the T. Rustic faded brick wall with unique ventilation blocks are evident around the exteriors. The construction of bricks is obvious, dressing the exterior walls with a beautiful texture from the past. Walking into the property, the height of a mill is present. The steam-punk factory-style architecture is magnificent against the undulating mountains. As if reminiscing its good old days, the majesticity of the building is rendered in all honesty of its original materials. Its hierarchical elevation creates the visual impact from afar. The stroll into Alila Yangshuo is truly a walk to remember. Inside, a combination of bamboo, concrete and bricks builds the overall ambience in the resort. The reception area is like an old-school post-office but with a magical surprise. Surrounded

/ stay /


by stripped walls in rustic grey, the high ceiling concept helps to eliminate the feeling of claustrophobia. In the middle, a recessed circular seating reminisces of the traditional Chinese ‘Ba Zi’ or the Feng Shui compass. In scarlet red, the seating space represents the Chinese character in a very literal manner. Not at all kitsch, the addition of red is tasteful enough to bring out the joy of life in this old space. In the hallway, the Asian sensibility is interpreted using the simplicity of wood, geometry and light. Doused in natural lighting, the zen-like space carries you into a tranquil zone as you walk to the guest rooms. Curated Corners “Alila Yangshuo, as in many of our recent projects, is located in a natural site (and) so I have the opportunity to think of how the environment can impact and influence the architecture and its function,” shares Dong Gong. “I believe that an architect should

be in awe of what is called ‘Tian’ in Chinese or ‘nature’ in Western culture. This means that when you’re on site, you see with your heart and invoke the energy of the site environs to define the form and meaning for your architecture.” The architect is frequently consulted to share his philosophy regarding the use of light and space in relation to the natural surroundings of the building. With this in mind, Dong Gong has created Alila Yangshuo as a modern retro resort that blends seamlessly with the stunning landscape of Yangshuo while keeping in tact the important heritage of the original sugar mill. Some of the prominent features including the hollow block brickworks of the resort were drawn from the sugar blocks that were produced in the 1920s. Dong Gong had to design a machine specifically to produce the custom-made hollow bricks using local sandstones and other materials gathered from earthworks in the construction of the underground Spa Alila. Over 60,000 bricks, six months, five tradesmen and one architect later, the construction


Ju Bin, Founder and CEO of Horizontal Space Design

“Beauty in the turbid means that the space must contain a touch of rusticity and must not be too refined�

2. Dining here calls for a minute to marvel at the surrounding natural environment 3. Guests are tantalised with a tranquil setting amidst nature




/ stay /


4&5. Material tactility and textural qualities are abundant throughout the entire space including the bathrooms 6. Celebrating the beauty of the original mill architecture, some parts of the building are kept raw and rustic; harkening back to the building’s past


of the exterior walls is realised. “We contemplated on how to give the building façade an airy sense of lightness, especially at night, with subtle lighting beaming through the walls,” states Dong Gong. “It is a building made of concrete but visually it possesses a quality of lattice work with light and air.” Red volcanic rocks that were unearthed during the construction phase were artfully incorporated in the building materials, paying homage to its origins. The volcanic rocks were also ground and mixed into the terrazzo floors and used on the wall screed, playing up subtle hints of red in the finished design. In Dong Gong’s design concept for the new accommodation block, he assimilated the caves and bamboo shoring within the building and created some outstanding bamboo installation art pieces, which are hung-up in the voids to represent the caves in the hills. The passageways in the building are built as though one is going up and down hill slopes, with surprising ups and downs, while some corridors lead to nowhere. The designers have certainly make use of the unique original


structure to magnify the aesthetics of the communal spaces in the most creative way. The open event space is like a place of worship to nature. Peppered with poufs and side tables, the wooden platform overlooks into the infinite horizon of the therapeutic river. Here, the swimming pool (which was previously the sugar cane loading dock) injects even more ‘zen’ spirit into the place. With a delicate balance of new and old, both the architect and interior designer, have successfully integrated the historic details of the old sugar mill, to complement the contemporary architecture. “In defining the Chinese aesthetic concept of ‘beauty is in the old and the turbid’, the design team feels that the buildings must contain elements of the original sugar mill. ‘Beauty in the turbid’ means that the space must contain a touch of rusticity and must not be too refined,” expresses interior designer, Ju Bin. Like in the case of the arrival hall at the resort, it is akin to a gallery of design arts. “The entire interior space in the old building has been transformed into an industrial space. Works of artisans, young and old, new and acclaimed, are thrown together, giving sense to ‘beauty in the turbid’ as understood in Chinese culture.”


location Year of Completion Client Architect Lead Architect Interior Design Lead Designer

Guilin, China 2017 Two Roads Hospitality Vector Architects Dong Gong Horizontal Space Design Ju Bin



/ DINE /


CEILING CONTROL Changing design norms for the ceiling of the Norton Restaurant brings warmth into it and unexpectedly personalises the entire space. WORDS ANEETA SUNDARARAJ / PHOTOGRAPHY HARUO MIKAMI


ame old, same old. That’s often the first thought that comes to mind when entering a restaurant located inside a hotel, especially one that belongs to a chain of hotels. The food is the same, the cutlery is the same and even the décor is the same. They verge on being absolutely boring. Aware of how impersonal such spaces can be, today’s architects are determined to go beyond design norms to create something special. Bringing the outside in, playing with light and shadow and being flexible with the materials used are some of the unique ways to give life to a lifeless space. The result, like the glorious ceiling of the Norton Restaurant in Brasilia, Brazil, is often a feast for the senses. Located on the rooftop of the Melia Complex, the eatery is designed by BLOCO Arquitetos.


Together with his partners (Daniel Mangabeira and Henrique Coutinho), Matheus Seco reveals that the starting point of any project is be mindful of working within a specific context. Elements like weather, budget limitations, construction process limitations, program and are first analysed. Combined with the cultural background of these natives of Brasilia, their response is to connect to the city and their architectural heritage. “In a case like this we consider our work to be very close to stage design,” shares Seco. The main aim of the design for the Norton Restaurant is to stress the differences between the floor and the ceiling, and explore the tension between undefined and specific characteristics in a hotel building. “The tension between the two is always present both in form and colour,” Seco elaborates. “However,

/ DINE /

1. Layering of wood panels in a very unique and creative way creates a dramatic expression to the space 2. The effects of shadow and light filtrated through the alternate layers of expanded metal and wood command a second look 3. The wood treatment is extended all the way to the exterior space to create a continuous visual impact



the irregular geometry to the existing space, the architects are able to create small pockets of space defined by subsequent corners. What becomes specific in the design is the restaurant’s ceiling. The rationale behind this was best articulated by Rem Koolhaas at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. Reportedly, Koolhaas entered a room where the plaster walls were chipped away to reveal ‘a tangle of pipes,’ ‘guts of air conditioning’ and ‘sprinkler systems’. Describing it as an ‘exploded ceiling’, he argued that, ‘[The ceiling] has become an entire factory of equipment that enables us to exist, a space so deep that it begins to compete with the architecture. It is a domain over which architects have lost all control, a zone surrendered to other professions.’ “Architects have gradually positioned themselves far away of the construction process over the years,” reasons Seco. At the risk of making architecture a superfluous profession, Seco bemoans architects’ lack of knowledge or interest in the construction process and feels it’s a lost opportunity to take part in the construction of a contemporary city.

we can say that the most important aspect is the difference between the ‘cold’ materials on the floor and all the hotel spaces that you must cross before entering the restaurant and the natural and ‘warm’ look of the natural wood of the ceiling.” INVERSION OF SORTS Seco’s statement makes one aware that in many establishments today, it is common to use wood as floorboards. By using wood on the ceiling, there is an inversion of sorts and begs further explanation. Obliging, Seco says that all the areas related to the hotel lobby and internal spaces are made of dark colours such as black and grey. The flow of design continues into the Norton Restaurant with the use of uniform lighting design, described as the ‘undefined character’, and connects the dark corridor between the hotel and the restaurant. Indeed, the floor plan of the Norton Restaurant is extremely impersonal and standard. Done deliberately, it allows for flexibility so that there are different configurations of layouts. Taking advantage of


Matheus Seco, Architect & Partner, BLOCO Arquitetos

“It is very important for us to get to know more and more about the technical possibilities and requirements that might limit our expression�



/ DINE /


4. Inside the dining area, the wooden feature looks quirky but inviting at the same time

To reclaim this ‘control of the ceiling’, Seco insists that: “It is very important for us to get to know more and more about the technical possibilities and requirements that might limit our expression. We believe that all ‘limitations’ related to technical requirements or limited budget be good creative possibilities. The way that architects can deal with these limitations can be our strongest asset.” DRESSING UP Having decided to redress the imbalance, Seco and his partners let their creative juices flow and created a ceiling that is intense and decorative in equal measure. At a glance, the vast ceiling of natural wood stands in stark contrast to its black background and the neutral colours of the floor. Based on an abstraction of an imaginary topography plan, such a plan is a specific way of registering a real topography of an existing place. By redesigning an imaginary curvaceous map using only straight lines the aim was to disconnect the ceiling completely from a real


place. Suspended, the ceiling is made from Tauarí wood slabs, which instantly arouse warmth. Soft to the touch, the wood slabs are fixed on a steel grid, which is clad with perforated steel sheets to allow the air conditioning to flow. The impact of such a design is best appreciated when you go into that space beyond the Finestri blinds and glass doors. An outdoor verandah, the covered glass roof here allows natural light to filter through the perforated steel sheets. As the sun rises, reaches its zenith and sets, there is an ever-changing interplay between light and shadow, and a multitude of patterns created on the wood slabs and the floor. Working with nature, the space acquires a magical allure, thereby, inducing a sense of being in a state of constant flux. Evoking intense emotions, there is no doubt that you come away from the Norton Restaurant not merely having whet your appetite. More than architects regaining control of the ceiling, there is a curious sense that this space has become decidedly personal.





09 06





01 04 02



15 14



14 15




/ dine /

La Dolce Vita Run away and join an Italian circus at Spiga, Joyce Wang Studio’s latest culinary masterpiece in the heart of Central, Hong Kong Words Rebecca Lo Photography Sinclair Communications & Joyce Wang Studio



stablished Hong Kong restaurant group Dining Concepts understands its market well. Despite its founder, Sandeep Sekhri, being a strict vegetarian, he knows that Hong Kongers love their animal protein. When combined with the allure of a Michelin starred celebrity chef, the venue is bound to be a winning combination. For Spiga, he secured the signature Italian dishes of two Michelin starred chef Enrico Bartonlini to headline the menu at the 7,000 square foot space on the third floor of LHT Tower in Central. Previously, Dining Concepts operated successful Italian restaurant Lupa there. To give the space a distinctly new identity, the group enlisted the talents of Joyce Wang Studio to create a dramatic new interior. Wang, who has designed some of the city’s more theatrical dining establishments including AMMO, Mott 32 and Rhoda,


likes to marry vintage elements with industrial chic in many of her spaces. For Spiga, she humanised the expansive space by subdividing it into six zones, namely: Secret Garden, a semiprivate dining room; Portico, a 214 square foot outdoor terrace offering al fresco plates and drinks; a private dining room facing Queen’s Road Central; a main open dining area and a long table that lies at the restaurant’s core. “This large buffet table in the centre is the heart of Spiga,” elaborates Wang. “With such a linear floor plan, it was important for me to break up the feeling of that corridor that existed in the previous establishment. People naturally gravitate towards it and circulate around it as the daily fresh antipasti offering is staged upon it. We derived the formal language of the table by celebrating Scarpa’s architecture, making geometric cuts into the slabs of marble and layering on top of one another to create a sense of

/ dine /


1. A central shared dining table in the main dining area is highlighted above by a pendulum chandelier featuring slowly moving arms of lights 2. Joyce Wang’s fondness for industrial chic is perhaps most evident in the lavatories, where copper pipes form wall sconces and a marble vanity boasts a roughly broken edge

something that has existed in the restaurant since day one.” To provide sufficient eye candy, Wang looks to Italian circuses for inspiration and artefacts. Most notably in the main dining area, items such as flame throwers and juggling pins are grouped together and framed as if they were art pieces that reinforce the big top ambience. An oversized pendulum chandelier features slowly moving arms to mimic the motion of street performers. “This particular area of the restaurant celebrates Italian piazza performers and the renowned Italian circus,” notes Wang. “The items have been procured from avid collectors of circus and performance paraphernalia, as well as galleries that specialise in vintage accessories. These pieces add a layer of story and authenticity by speaking to the architectural quality of the space—a circus tent interior composed of alternating sheets of silk wallcovering and rope detailing.”


A Starry Setting With outdoor spaces at a premium in the city, Spiga’s generous terrace and adjacent dining room are two of its most enticing spaces. Wang ensures that just as much attention has been paid to Portico as to the interior areas by creating different layers to foster privacy. A large bar anchors the terrace to the rear, while volume was formed with regularly spaced columns and trellises for areas with barstools, rattan swing chairs or low deck seating. “The terrace was turned into series of intimate spaces with furniture of different heights and planting used as loose space dividers,” explains the acclaimed designer. “There are cabanas along the perimeter, which feel like semi-private outdoor dining rooms. In the centre, there is a collection of large, deep banquettes arranged back to back for a more fun and lively atmosphere.” Similarly, Wang embraced the double volume architecture

Joyce Wang, Interior Designer

“The menu is rich and eclectic with a fusion of playfulness, which inspired the approach of the interiors�



/ people /

THE ANALOGY OF A BOXER When Chef AndrĂŠ Chiang decides to return to Asia, he dreams of redefining Taiwanese cuisine in his homeland. Today, his name is synonymous to some of the best restaurants in the world. His belief and philosophy resonate in the true essence of ingredients, multi-sensorial experience and a sense of belonging. As he sets his eye on his next achievement, he believes in being triumphant with the right recipe (and a pinch of faith). Interview Martin Teo / Photography heartpatrick


Congratulations on your recent laurels – second-best restaurant in Asia for Restaurant André and two more restaurants in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list. Last year, you also appeared on the cover of GQ Taiwan and launched the remarkable Octo-philosophy book the year you turned 40. How do you feel about everything and can you pinpoint a defining moment in your career so far? Every moment counts. I believe each moment for me is a milestone and each time we set ourselves a small goal, we try to reach it and set a new goal for ourselves – one step at a time and plan what’s next. Another particular moment this year would be our recent success, where we had three restaurants in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant. This is the first time in Asia’s 50 hisotry that a chef has three restaurants in the list and this year, all three went up the ranks quite dramatically. Restaurant André is now the best in Singapore and RAW Taipei the best in Taiwan. It’s quite an important moment because it is not easy to achieve this. It is not just about being a good chef but to be able to run several successful restaurants simultaneously is very rewarding to me. Let’s talk about RAW Taipei. What makes you decide to open your first restaurant in Taiwan back then? I had that idea since I moved back to Asia ten years ago. The thought lingered in my mind and I wanted to make sure I do something right in Taiwan. Launching RAW Taipei means a lot to me because this is where I was born. I want to make sure that we deliver something right. Taiwan never had a proper restaurant that is at par to the international culinary scene. Moreover, nobody knew what the flavour of Taiwanese cuisine but as a Taiwanese chef, I strive to create the DNA of Taiwanese cuisine. It is important for me to give Taiwan an iconic restaurant for the country; it is more than just a business.

Can you narrate the concept and idea behind RAW Taipei? What we do is really to highlight the beautiful things from Taiwan. From the materials that we use to build the restaurant, the ingredients that we cook with, as well as the entire team, they are all Taiwanese. Every month, we pick 21 ingredients to compose the menu and highlight the seasonality of the produce. Even the wood sculpture in the restaurant is made by Taiwanese carpenters using a very special local pine from the south of Taipei. The interior design and construction of RAW Taipei has been one of the most celebrated spaces in the region. How do the design of the space complements the dining experience? Of course it is all about Taiwan. We want to use everything from Taiwan. We want to make sure that it is very organic in terms of design. When you look at it, it is hard to define what the shape looks like. The whole concept is focused on craft and nature. From far away, you’d see a natural wood sculpture. Once you draw yourself closer, you see that it is actually sculpted. The organic structure comes with a lot of exciting minute details.


/ people /

Tell us more about the lighting strategy applied in the restaurant space. When we first started, we realised a lot of restaurants don’t like to have their stuff being photographed by people. Instead, my team and I began thinking how we can do it the opposite way. We wanted people to take as many photos as possible. So, we implemented good lighting to encourage our customers to take pictures of their food. We researched and found these expensive spotlights used for theaters and galleries. So, we set each table akin to an exhibition space – focused but soft illumination to highlight the dish and allow people to appreciate the ‘piece of art’ on the table. There are 60 lightings altogether to make sure every table is set perfectly. How did your experience growing up affects your creative approach in your culinary artistry today? I guess the influence that played a big part in my career is the family that I grew up with. They are all artists in pottery, painting and calligraphy, which attributed to the sharpening of my senses when I was little. In fact, my brother is an actor. The influences from the family push me to be creative in colour, texture and the structure of my work today. Your restaurants around the world carry a significant identity. In your own words, why is it important to create a signature style? We never do ‘copy and paste’. Every restaurant is unique on its own. I believe my restaurant should be a model restaurant with its own DNA. There shouldn’t be a branch or second restaurant. The reason a person remembers a certain restaurant is because it has its own style. That’s why when we build a new restaurant, we create a new concept, and a new philosophy. If you were to design a new restaurant, what would it be? Perhaps redefining Chinese cuisine. I think people would be interested to see André cooks Chinese. Taiwan is rich with fresh produce and ingredients. What has been the most interesting local ingredient that you’ve used in a dish and how did you presented it in that dish? One of the ingredients that we used recently is loquat. We used the loquat like a French poached pear. It has the same waterdrop shape. So we poached the loquat in white white (like a peach melba) and stuffed it with French gingerbread. Then we coat it with burnt marshmallow. In doing so, we are making a very traditional Chinese fruit very ‘European’.


Having garnered outstanding successes over the years, what’s next for André Chiang? I don’t know. I never set myself a goal. Everything that we do in Restaurant André, we try to redefine French cuisine. In RAW Taipei, we are continuously reinventing Taiwanese cuisine. I think I’d like to use my experience to recreate Chinese cuisine, an area I’ve never explored before.

Speaking about the Octo-philosophy, what inspired you to create this very inspiring book? Octo-philosophy is like a core message that encapsulates the philosophy of a chef. Every chef has his own style and purpose in creating a dish. These are the elements that I relate to each time I create a dish. These eight words represent my core values - everything that I create would capture the essence of these fundamentals.

What is your advice to young hopeful chefs who want to make it big out there? What can they take away from your experience as an encouragement and inspiration to etch success in this industry? It is important to take your time, and to train as hard as you can. Take the analogy of a good boxer. Before a boxer goes into the ring, he takes a lot of time to train - train very hard. Don’t get into the ring unless you’re ready. Once you’re in the ring, be fearless, focused and trust your coach and the team. And lastly, (against all odds) you need to win. Otherwise, there’s no point training in the first place.

You’re a busy man. When you’re not travelling, you’ll be hitting the pots and pans in your restaurant. Where do you find time to pause and how do you find your inspirations? I don’t pause. I enjoy being busy and I try to do as much as I can. Maybe one day, I would say I have done everything and now I want to stop and enjoy life a little bit. I also believe inspirations should come naturally. It is a reflection from your experience. Inspiration is also drawn from your practice. The more you practise, the more you know how to work with a certain product. For me, it is also about finding better solutions to work on the best ways to use the produce. In the context of restaurant design, what are the most important elements that must be highlighted, focused and developed to achieve the ultimate dining experience? I think it would be three things – the space, its atmosphere and the lighting design. The elements of surprise would come from the dish itself. Do you consider branding and social media important in your business? I am not an expert in social media. In the end of the day, food needs to taste good. Branding is important and it helps people to understand who we are but at the end, it is a restaurant business. People will come because they learn about it and heard about us but if the food doesn’t taste good, it is going to be a backlash for us. Negative advertising.




TELLING A STORY Andre Fu may not be the most flamboyant designer in the industry but he evidently has a commanding voice. His designs tell a story and his storytelling takes you on a journey into his inspired sensibilities. In a recent encounter, Andre Fu shares his modus operandi in finding the dimensions in his works. INTERVIEW MARTIN TEO / PHOTOGRAPHY MARCUS TONDO

YOU’VE ACHIEVED SO MUCH IN THE PAST YEAR, FROM BEING MAISON&OBJET ASIA’S DESIGNER OF THE YEAR TO SEVERAL BIG COLLABORATIONS IN THE DESIGN SCENE. WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS IN 2016? 2016 saw the launch of my lifestyle brand – andre fu living. I saw it as means to challenge myself – whether the type of experiences offered by my spatial projects could be more tangible. The vision for the brand is composed in a collective of collaborations, from established brands to small artisans. It is also an online retail platform that allows all products to be seen holistically together. WHAT IS THERE IN STORE FOR ANDRE FU IN 2017 AND WHAT DO YOU SET TO ACHIEVE NEXT? I rarely set myself goals in life. My journey in design has always been very organic. 2017 and 2018 shall be two critical years as a handful of hospitality projects that I have been working on the past six years shall be finally unveiled within this period. There are a number of new projects in the pipeline and I hope that I shall continue to create design experiences that shall inspire the customers. CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CHILDHOOD AND WHAT ELEMENTS OF YOUR UPBRINGING HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR CREATIVE PRINCIPLES TODAY? My father is a lawyer and my mother is an educationist. I believe they have provided me with a solid education background and have also cultivated my interest in fine arts – much of there have enriched my cultural awareness that has heavily influenced my design philosophy in many ways. CONGRATULATIONS ON THE AMAZING CURATION OF THE KERRY HOTEL HONG KONG. WHAT CAN YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THIS PLACE AND CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE HOTEL’S SITE CONTEXT? It was formerly a dockyard in a very local neighbourhood somewhat. Today, the hotel is well positioned as one of the rare prime sites that is set on the city’s most desirable harbourfront location. I believe the hotel experience seeks to celebrate the life of the harbour – from the water silhouette that has been adopted as a key motif, to the vast alfresco experiences that are created at multiple levels throughout the hotel journey.


HONG KONG IS A PLACE RICH IN HERITAGE, CULTURE AND A FAST-PACED LIFESTYLE. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN THESE ELEMENTS AND ASSIMILATE THEM INTO THE HOTEL DESIGN? I believe the design process of Kerry Hotel Hong Kong is very specific and the goal to create one of the city’s first urban resort has proven to be intriguing and challenging at the same time. In many regards, the scalability of the project has allowed us to infuse a sense of openness and fluidity that is extremely rare in the urban city. I view this as a reflection of the pace of life of the city itself. YOU’VE DESIGNED MANY AWARD-WINNING HOSPITALITY PROJECTS IN YOUR CAREER. IN RETROSPECT TO THE FIRST HOTEL THAT YOU’VE DESIGNED AND YOUR LATEST ONE (KERRY HOTEL HONG KONG), WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IN YOUR DESIGN APPROACH? I have always believed in creating hotel experiences that expresses a sense of ‘relaxed luxury’. This belief has served to be core to many of my works. However, I also consider that storytelling is a key aspect in each of my project and it is critical that we are expressing a strong experience that is unique to each project’s sense of place. In the context of the Kerry Hotel Hong Kong, the life of the harbour formulates the soul of the inspirations. WHEN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HOTEL DESIGN, WHAT ARE THE KEY INGREDIENTS THAT MUST BE HIGHLIGHTED, FOCUSED AND DEVELOPED IN ORDER FOR THE HOTEL TO BE SUCCESSFUL? The hotel experience should focus on the experience of the guests, which is something that is easily forgotten in the world of social media where everyone is chasing for visual impact and a moment of ‘wow’. I also consider the spirit of storytelling the key to any hotel experience. YOUR WORKS HAVE A UNIQUE FLAIR AND A ‘JE NE SAIS QUOI’ THAT APPEAL TO BOTH INDUSTRY PLAYERS AND THE GENERAL AUDIENCE. HOW DO YOU KEEP THIS NARRATIVE RELEVANT IN ALL YOUR DESIGN SCHEMES? I have never tried to formulate my work. I simple create what felt appropriate to the project and the experience that we are looking for. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE FOR YOUNG DESIGNERS WHO ARE TRYING TO MAKE A MARK IN THE DESIGN WORLD? A good spatial design is simply a place that evokes a sense of comfort and has the ability to communicate a dimension in storytelling. It is something that is easily forgotten but I hope the upcoming designers would consider this particular aspect more thoughtfully.


MINIMALISM REDUX Austerity has never been so attractive. The Furnishing Utopia project not only brings to light the influence of the American Shakers but also presents a refreshing spin on everyday domestic objects. TEXT LUO JINGMEI / IMAGES COURTESY OF FURNISHING UTOPIA, BY PETTER JOHANSSON AND CHARLIE SCHUCK



rooms, wall pegs, stools and trays – these commonplace domestic objects have been given a makeover by a group of young, influential designers under the Furnishing Utopia project. ‘Utopia’ here refers to the Shakers’ vision of heaven as practised in daily living. Founded in the 18th century in England, the Christian sect eventually settled in colonial America. They were known not only for their celibate and communal lifestyle but also for their architecture and furniture, which reflected their vision of utopia as one void of excess and steeped in simplicity and honest functionality. “The Shakers are considered to be the most successful Utopian Community, active for more than 200 years. They were literally attempting to create heaven on earth: to live in a better way socially and spiritually. But they still needed to make buildings and tables and chairs. So, what do these objects look like if you were making them in heaven? How does that mental approach change the way you make them? Our goal was to try to tap into that idealism and attention and care that the

1. The Step Stool’s unique function of additional support is expressed in the elongated handle 2. Torbjørn Anderssen and Espen Voll of Anderssen & Voll




3. Jonah Takagi’s Candle Holder is milled from a solid block of aluminum 4. Christopher Specce’s latest contributions to the New York exhibition is a woven paper basket and hat 5. Designer Hallgeir Homstvedt’s Shaker Toolbox was inspired by a Shaker drawers with oversized knobs and functions as a desktop organiser

Shakers embodied into the things that were fitting for use today, but from a non-secular position,” says John Arndt of Studio Gorm, one of the participating design studios and also an initiator of the project. “The idea was not necessarily to make commercial products, but to make objects that embody the Shaker Maxim and that an object should be useful and necessary.” The Shakers’ reach is far and wide. Their inventions, such as the chair, flat broom, oval box

and perimeter room peg rail for hanging furniture and other things, are important archetypes in America’s domestic environment. Bringing a modern spin to objects such as these started with a visit by the designers to the Hancock Shaker Village and the Mt. Lebanon Shaker Museum where they were privy to a rich archive of artefacts. Not only are the resultant products useful, they are also beautiful. The first exhibition in 2016 debuted in New York with 32 pieces. In February this year, new designers entered the fold and over 40 pieces were showcased at the Stockholm Furniture and Lighting Fair. Most recently in May 2017 during New York Design Week, furniture retailer Design Within Reach presented a total




/ PALaTE /

go for gold







7 9 8


13 14 12

1. Gold Rose in Bell Jar by LavieFlo Home Collection / 2. Gold Scented Candle by Cire Trudon Abd El Kader / 3. The Galvanize S2 Gold 24K Deluxe Headphones by Bloc & Roc / 4. Gold Vintage Round Shape frame by True Vintage Revival (TVR OPT) / 5. Relaunch of a Classic: New Panthere Watch by Cartier / 6. The Fortuna Dining Table by Boca do Lobo / 7. Design Gold Teapot in White by TWG / 8. Gold Scented Candle by Cire Trudon Abd El Kader / 9. Dubai’s Leading 5-Star Fashion Hotel, Palazzo Versace Dubai / 10. Chocolatier Assorted Chocolates in Gold Gift Box by Godiva / 11. Louis Vuitton Four-Petal Blossom Stool by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka / 12. Gold Edition 1.5L Champagne from Moet & Chandon / 13. Koi Upholstered Stool Contemporary Design by Brabbu / 14. Serpenti Band Rings by Bulgari

Compiled by Melvin Chan


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.