LYNDON NERI Husband and wife team Neri and Hu work from Shanghai, creating spaces that surprise and intrigue. Lyndon Neri talks to Magali Robathan about working in China, their upcoming projects and challenging the status quo
How would you sum up Neri & Hu’s philosophy? We’re interested in being subversive and always questioning things. We deal with the notion of blurring the public and the private, the old and new. We’re constantly challenging the refined and the rough. People need these contrasts to understand and appreciate differences in society. What are your thoughts on hotel design? The problem with hotels today is that guests just go into their rooms and close the door behind them. They ask if the light is okay, if the stationary is nice. They crave comfort; there’s no sense of questioning what’s there. It’s all about providing luxury in a decorative way – better wall coverings, a beautiful chair. Those are good, but they’re not enough. We like to question what’s taken for granted. I often wonder whether the privacy of the hotel bedroom should be truly respected, for example. Could the room be open, so that natural light can filter down from above and guests don’t always have to turn on the light in their rooms? Hoteliers will tell you that hotel bedrooms need to be totally blacked out. In the old days, people were very happy in their homes because their rooms weren’t blacked out and they learned to live with the land; when morning came, they woke up. Nowadays, with blackout curtains, we sometimes don’t wake up until 11am, then at night we can’t sleep so we take sleeping pills. We are becoming abnormal beings. I also think that maybe our notion of personal space should be challenged. We’re trained to think that we need to be separate. When we come home from work, we close our front door, we make sure we have our privacy. We have a garden so that we can separate ourselves from our neighbours, and the length of our garden tells people how rich we are.
Lyndon Neri co-founded Neri & Hu in 2004
CLAD mag 2017 ISSUE 2