[ PLACES | SUPER PRIME LONDON summer 2012 ]
0100 WWW. LOFT-MAGAZINE.COM
PROPERTY | DESIGN | INSPIRATION
[ HAPPY HIP HOMES ]
EXPLORING AMAZING ABODES
[ INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ]
WONG CHUK HANG’S NEW DESIGN SCENE
LOVE LONDON HOT PROPERTY IN THE UK CAPITAL THIS SUMMER
[ contents ]
[ places ] Foundations Facts, figures and finds from the property world 11 london calling Prime luxury property is still a safe bet in the capital 18 HK$150m property search What can your money buy across the globe? 24 POLE POSITION Property markets in F1 host nations 29 an emerging emirate Is Abu Dhabi a safe investment spot? 34
[ faces ] agent secrets Advice on property investment from industry experts 40 ma yansong An interview with the talented Chinese architect 46 how i did it Talking to Barry Yen about his new build home in Niseko 50 shaun clarkson The London based interiors king talks to LOFT 54
64 industrial revolution 68
style in sai Kung
HK$150m property search
I did it
on the cover Architects Rodic Davidson (www.rodicdavidson. co.uk) present a typically cool and contemporary London home
Letter from the Editor
61 new and noted
[ spACES ] by design Beautifully designed products for the home 58 New & Noted Design hotels to fly for 61 design cities A focus on London 62 industrial revolution Wong Chuk Hang’s new design scene 64 style in sai kung A look inside a beautifully renovated home 68 london living Inside a converted workhouse in Hampstead 74 top ten The world’s most impressive colonial hotels 80 natural selection Shanghai’s latest eco retreat is a marvel 90 LOFT DIRECTORY Spaces, Faces and Places that inspired us this issue 96
ondon we salute you. We braved the distinct possibility of grey skies and rain this issue to report on the latest and greatest from the city of the moment. And guess what – the sun was shining! The UK capital is buzzing with positive energy this summer as it prepares to host the Olympics and reveals a whopping roster of parties and festivals for the Queen’s Jubilee. We bring you the lowdown on the thriving property market that is Prime Central London on page 18 and also launch our new Design Cities series on page 62, a cut-out-and-keep guide to London’s creative must-dos and must sees. Back in Hong Kong we launched our events arm, LOFT Live, kicking off with a preview at the new Armani Casa store in Causeway Bay. The LOFT community jumped at the chance to get first dibs on the super stylish new interiors collection and the verdict was unanimous – it rocks! Visit our website at www.loft-magazine.com to see video footage from the night.
the people person
The Abu dhabi Guru gavin Charlton
South African freelancer Gavin spent three years living in Abu Dhabi covering business and property issues – and penned our UAE feature for this issue on page 32. His favourite thing about living in Abu Dhabi? The sound of the call to prayer that rings out from hundreds of mosques across the city. Previously, Gary has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, South China Morning Post and The Australian.
Kit Gillet is a freelance journalist currently based in Beijing. Over the last four years he has often written about architecture and design, interviewing many leading practitioners in these fields, including Ma Yansong for this issue. His work appears regularly in the international press, for publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Architectural Records, Urbane and CNN.
the Eco explorer catherine shaw Freelance writer Catherine Shaw lived in Tokyo for nine years where she wrote about culture, architecture and travel for international publications, including Wallpaper*, Monocle, and South China Morning Post. In recent months she relocated to Hong Kong where she continues to freelance. For this issue she travelled to Shanghai to try out new hotel, ‘naked Retreat’ currently winning awards for its excellent eco credentials.
The cool creative sam growdon
the colonial connection samuel olsen A freelance writer now living in Hong Kong, Sam writes mainly about property and finance, and has been published widely. He is also obsessed with travel – 65 countries and counting – and for this issue he shares some of his favourite hidden colonial hotels, including the one where he spent his honeymoon.
South African-born Sam art directed this issue of LOFT, ensuring our biggest issue to date looked as hip and fresh as ever. As if that wasn’t enough, she also put her talent for interiors shopping to good use and sourced all the beautiful product for our ‘By Design’ pages. Turn to page 56 to see what she uncovered, including a Union Jack fridge especially for our London themed issue nice work Sam!
Editor Dominique Afacan email@example.com Art Director Sam Growdon firstname.lastname@example.org | Junior Designer Lianja Salgado email@example.com Managing Director Roger Searl firstname.lastname@example.org | Membership Services Carrie Wan email@example.com Partnerships Director Elizabeth Leung firstname.lastname@example.org | Partnerships Director Jadie Rees email@example.com Partnerships Director Katie Vajda firstname.lastname@example.org | Partnerships Director Steve Bruce email@example.com Partnership Manager Max Hussain firstname.lastname@example.org 16/F Chao’s Building, 143-145 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Tel +852 3620 3157, Fax +852 2522 3068, www.infonation.asia For advertising enquiries, email email@example.com INFO/NATION, its general and limited partners, and its subsidiaries, and their respective general partners and affiliates believe the information herein was obtained from reliable sources but they do not guarantee its accuracy. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of securities or commodities and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. Notwithstanding, INFO/NATION and affiliated companies disclaim to the extent permitted by law, any liability in respect of any claim which may arise from any errors or omissions or from providing such advice, opinions, judgement or information.
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[ loft live | events ]
WHAT? LOFT and Armani Casa WHEN? March 27th Founded back in 2000, Armani Casa is yet another platform for the Italian design supremo to express his creative vision. LOFT has long been a huge fan of his interpretation of living spaces and interiors and hooked up with the new Armani Casa store in Causeway Bay to give the LOFT community an exclusive chance to
preview the new collection. Verdict? LOFT loves! [ L ]
Register for our e-newsletter at www.loft-magazine.com
[ loft live | events ]
Coming up... PIE+S
Property Investment Exhibition and Seminar
WHEN? September 1st/2nd WHERE? Grand Hyatt Residences
Hong Kongâ€™s most exciting property investment event returns again in September, held exclusively for LOFT readers in the Grand Hyatt Residences. Visitors will have the chance to hear about compelling investment opportunities across the globe and talk about projects face to face with developers. Secure your place now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residences of unsurpassed beauty, now yours to own
Terms and conditions apply, please contact the Banyan Tree Residences Property Sales Centre for further information Tel. +66 (0)76 362 333 or email@example.com
places Local and international property investment
Facts, figures and finds from the property world
[ places | foundations ]
drawing a blank LOFT loves the new BLANK website created by HK-based former Vogue journalist Tinja Wright. Specialising in print-on-print art, the site lets users customise their own art online, choosing from a selection of icons, colour combos and sizes. Our favourite part? You can take full credit for the final masterpiece! www.blankbespokeart.com
Chinese architect Wang Shu has bagged the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize (previously awarded to the likes of Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas) this year. Shu, born in Urumqi, a city in Xinjiang, is the first Chinese national to win the award, suggesting a pivotal moment for Chinese architecture. Some of his noted works include Ceramic House in Jinhua (pictured), Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art and Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo. Look out for further coverage at www. loft-magazine.com. www.pritzkerprize.com
Source: Global Property Guide
pritzker architecture prize LOFT
The cost per month of renting a 1291 sq ft apartment in the worldâ€™s most expensive rental city â€“ Monaco, followed by London (HK$72,000) and Bermuda (HK$53,000). Hong Kong comes in at number five.
[ places | foundations ]
12 above it all Architect Christian de Portzamoarc’s ONE57 – a glistening new 90-storey glass tower featuring 95 luxury apartments and a Park Hyatt hotel is being billed as New York’s answer to London’s One Hyde Park. The tower will be the tallest residential build in NYC and residents will enjoy views over Central Park and the Manhattan skyline – along with an indoor pool, yoga studio, screening rooms and the obligatory pet spa. Prices start at HK$63m and occupancy is slated for 2013. www.one57.com
designs on downtown The tallest building in the world to be designed by a woman (Jeanne Gang), the Aqua Tower in Chicago stands at 82 storeys and cost a staggering HK$2.4bn to build. The launch of the new Radisson Blu hotel – which occupies the first 18 floors – is now drawing fresh and much deserved attention to the rippling landmark. With interiors by Glasgow-based Graven Images, the space is appropriately innovative, featuring a flying staircase and an immense ‘i-beam’ that runs the length of the mezzanine level, serving as a perch for overhanging restaurant seating boxes. Your excuse to go? Chicago Design Week - June 11-16th.
‘If a building becomes architecture, then it is art ’ Arne Jacobsen
ARMANI CASA 1/F, 111 LEIGHTON ROAD, CAUSEWAY BAY, HONG KONG TEL : 2882 2239 FAX : 2882 2730 WEBSITE : www.armanicasa.com
[ Places | foundations ]
Eart h onomi c s A look at the top ten cities for buy-to-let property throws up some interesting results. For a pad close to Hong Kong, the best bets are high yielding Jakarta or Manila, with options further afield favouring Central and South America. Check your inbox for LOFT’s new monthly e-newsletter LOFT on Location, for more on where and when to buy.
J akarta, Indonesi a 10.21% No.2
Chi si nau , Mol dov a 10% No.3
gold standard Possibly the most luxurious place to stay over the Olympics this summer, the Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living launched this April. The all-suite hotel, located on Park Lane includes a 5-bedroom penthouse, which comes with the use of an Aston Martin Rapide. Perfect for speeding around the capital during London 2012.
Ki ngston, J amai c a 9.75% No.4
Amman, J ordan 9.25%
Ki ev , U krai ne 9.09%
Web Watch 3 of the best…architecture and design blogs City of Sound - Monocle scribe Dan Hill’s musings on architecture and design. His connections between the likes of football and architecture or travel writing and design keep things fresh and interesting. www.cityofsound.com/blog/
Apartment Therapy - Design freaks love nothing more than a good old sneak around somebody else’s home. New York based ‘apartment therapist’ Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan has written books on design and interiors with the aim of ‘saving the world, one room at a time.’
P anama Ci ty , P anama 9.03% No.7
Santi ago, Chi l e 8.99% No.8
Mex i c o Ci ty , Mex i c o 8.77% No.9
My Urban Garden - A guide to making the most of tiny outdoor spaces, this blog by London and Paris based Anne Roberts should come in handy for space-challenged Hong Kong residents! LOFT loves the ‘moss graffiti’ to brighten up exterior walls and the Hook folding side table which can be hung up when not in use. Useful categories include Shade solutions and Eco-chic.
Mani l a, P hi l i ppi nes 8.62% No.10
Dar E s Sal aam, Tanzani a 8.57%
www.myurbangardendecoguide.com/ *source, Global Property Guide
[ Places | foundations ]
haute homes The new Palazzo Versace is set to become one of the most exclusive developments in the famously ostentatious emirate of Dubai. Featuring both 217-suites and a further 169 private residences – the sprawling palace, which cost around US$650m, features Versace interiors and luxury finishes intended to reflect the philosophy of the Italian brand. The new show residence gives potential buyers a glimpse of what they could be signing up for when the building completes next year. www.palazzoversace.com
new dubai law for investors Buying off-plan can be a risky business, as many investors have learnt following the economic crisis of 2008. In many cases completed properties are delayed by months, even years and on completion don’t have the promised swimming pool, gym, or are actually far smaller than initially agreed. Dubai has been a prime example of this, with up to 300 projects still on hold even today. Thankfully, property investors are set to be protected by a new law that could come into play by June. The Investor Protection Law protects buyers who have encountered long delays or who find that their completed property lacks many of the facilities advertised in the marketing material. Investors will be eligible for a full refund – and are within their rights to cancel their contract.
‘It’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful. I just love property.’ Donald Trump
[ places | london calling ]
london calling As a growing influx of international homebuyers snap up properties in London, LOFT’s UK correspondent finds out what impact this growth in demand is having on the market in the English capital. Words by Marc Da Silva
espite the global economic uncertainty and Eurozone woes, the London property market is bucking the trend by going from strength to strength, fuelled primarily by a fundamental housing shortage against growing demand, driven partly by rising activity among international homebuyers.
Residential property prices have been falling across much of the UK, but stark regional declines are being counterbalanced by strong appreciation in the English capital. The average price of a home in prime central London is now over 40% above the post-Lehman low reached in March 2009, and 7% higher than the last peak reached in March 2008, according to Knight Frank. The property consultant says that the market has been particularly healthy in the £1 million to £2.5 million bracket. This reflects strong demand from European and Asian investors for investment properties, with average prices in this range having increased by 14.1% in the 12 months to December, led by sought-after areas Chelsea, Hyde Park, Kensington and St John’s Wood.
But while London’s super prime property markets and prices continue to strengthen, the city’s secondtier markets also look solid. Ingrid Skinner of house builder Taylor Wimpey remarked: “Boroughs such as Highbury and Islington, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham can be seen to be prudent investments. Entry level pricing is lower and rental demand continues to be strong.” In spite of the recent surge in London property values, the weak pound, ironically, has actually made property in the city relatively cheaper for some foreign buyers, particularly those from Asia. Grainne Gilmore of Knight Frank, said: “Asian-based buyers are getting the best property deals in London because they are receiving a 15% discount on property prices compared to the previous market peak in 2008, due to the weak nature of the UK pound against most Asian currencies.” Aside from a favourable currency exchange rate, the majority of foreign buyers purchasing properties
19 [ places | london calling ]
The Eurozone crisis and threat of an Asian slowdown have boosted London as a safe haven
[ places | london calling ]
in London do so because they perceive the market to be a safe place to preserve wealth as they face political, economic and financial upheaval in their home markets.
London-based property developments at exhibitions throughout Asia, including Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, long before offering these schemes to buyers in the UK.
Greek buyers more than doubled their spending on properties in prime London in 2011 as riots raged across Athens, while the Italians recently overtook the Russians as the leading buyers of prime London homes. Asian buyers from Malaysia, Singapore, mainland China and Hong Kong are as active as ever.
Developer Berkeley Homes recently showcased One Tower Bridge, a new luxury development in London, at a three-day exhibition held in Kuala Lumpur, in a bid to attract early sales. One Tower Bridge, which will provide 350 new homes, is set to become one of the most talked-about London residential opportunities of 2012, as it is one of the last great riverside sites available in the city.
Yolande Barnes, director of residential research at Savills, commented: “The Eurozone crisis and threat of an Asian slowdown have boosted London as a safe haven and wealth preservation destination for global buyers. Overseas buyers make up 43% of all purchasers in its prime markets. Their presence is felt more strongly in London’s new build market where they account for 63% of purchasers.”
In addition Ballymore launched worldwide sales for Embassy Gardens, pegged as ‘London’s most anticipated riverside development’ in Hong Kong in April, giving local investors first dibs. Elsewhere, Weston Homes recently sold 31 new homes at their King’s Island development in Uxbridge, North West London, worth a collective
New homes Asia is the fastest-growing region for cross-border sales of new homes in London; many house builders have achieved significant success in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and parts of mainland China, especially as property prices in Asia have been escalating at a rapid pace, creating bubble fears. “New builds [in London] have always been of interest to the Far East markets for their long term investment potential,” said James Geddes of Private Property Search. Many developers regularly launch
£11 million, during just two weekend exhibitions last year in Hong Kong and Macau for international investors. “It is a booming market in the UK; international buyers want to invest in property,” said Bob Weston, chairman and chief executive of Weston Homes. “This is reflected in excellent sales success in Hong Kong and Macau.” While many Asian buyers are investors seeking to cash in on potential long-term capital growth, others are merely taking advantage of rising rental values.
[ places | london calling ]
Property investor activity in London shows little sign of slowing down, and not just because of the influx of foreign investment. There has also been a domestic rush into buyto-let by savers who are keen to find better income with savings rates at historic lows: the Bank of England base rate has been pinned down at 0.5% for almost three years.
According to a survey by property investment specialists Assetz, 76.8% of UK property investors are considering buying additional investment properties over the next 12 months, in order to take advantage of growing rental demand from would-be purchasers who cannot gain a foot on the UK housing ladder because of stringent mortgage lending conditions. The latest quarterly survey of Private Rented Sector investors carried out by the Young Group shows that 85.1% of respondents expect rents in London, with an average rental yield of 5.4%, to continue to rise throughout 2012. Rental values should certainly be boosted in the short-term by this summerâ€™s Olympic Games, which will take place in East London.
01 Embassy Gardens HK$4.3m www.joneslanglasalle. com.hk 02 Canary Wharf, HK$8.4 million. www.knightfrank.co.uk 03 Bishops Avenue, HK$117 million. www.harrodsestates.com
05 Chelsea, HK$12.9m. www.knightfrank.co.uk
04 Ebury Square, soon-to-launch in Belgravia, prices to be confirmed. www.knightfrank.co.uk
London is expected to continue to outperform the rest of the UK, led by Central London
[ places | london calling ]
Room for growth London is generally expected to continue to outperform the rest of the UK, led by Central London, where Knight Frank project average home prices will appreciate by 5% in 2012. Longer term, it says prices will rise 24% by the end of 2016. This is in stark contrast to an anticipated decline of about 6% in Northern England and Scotland next year, and even more in Wales. As for rental values, buy-to-let investors are in for another bumper year. Strong tenant demand is expected to push typical UK rents up by another 5% on average in 2012, following an average gain of 12% in 2011, according to property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). “There are likely to be 150,000 more London households renting [by 2015] than before the financial crisis,” JLL’s research director Jon Neale predicts. Historically, home prices in London have moved in upward cycles of boom, bust and stability, and this trend looks set to continue, which Trevor Abrahmsohn of super-prime agents Glentree International says confirms the city as “a bastion for residential property investment that has never disappointed and never will”. [ L ]
Going for East London gold It’s official, the race is now on as London homeowners seek to cash in on the estimated 500,000 visitors flooding into London this summer to witness the 2012 Olympic Games. Many Londoners have already begun advertising their Olympic properties to take advantage of the expected five-fold increase in London rental prices according to James Davis, CEO of lettings agency, Upad. Rental demand will be greatest in and around Stratford, where the Games will take place, along with neighbouring areas like Leyton, Upton Park, Bethnall Green and West Ham. Tariq Qureshi of local property developer A2Dominion commented: “Local regeneration brought by the 2012 Olympics has made this area of East London tangibly vibrant and desirable.” Lloyds TSB bank report that property values across the 14 postal districts closest to the main site for the 2012 Olympic Games have appreciated by over £60,000 or 30%, on average, to £268,884 since London’s winning bid was announced in July 2005. This is equivalent to a monthly rise of £815 against an average of £611 across England and Wales. “Over the long term, house prices in the East End of London are likely to be supported by the Olympic legacy of improved infrastructure and transport links,’ said Suren Thiru, housing economist at Lloyds TSB.
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Louise Ng, our Hong Kong Manager, can be contacted on
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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www.brlets.com *Terms apply
[ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]
HK$150m property search From castles in Barcelona to mansions in London, take a look at what HK$150m can buy you in three different cities.
Compiled by Dominique Afacan
25 [ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]
Barcelona Castillo de Santa Florentina Canet de Mar
Forget the house, buy a castle! This stunning option in Canet de Mar, in northeastern Spain traces its history far back through time with its first foundations built during the 2nd century. It was enlarged during the medieval period and since then, numerous renovations and extensions have contributed to the finished product as it stands today â€“ with features including a wine cellar, a stable for horses and a caretakerâ€™s house, which has four further bedrooms. www.rimontgo.es
[ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]
Phuket Cape Yamu
Designed by HK-based architects KplusK this sprawling property in Phuketâ€™s exclusive Cape Yamu private estate on the east coast, is the perfect party pad. The seven bedroom villa enjoys views across the stunning Phang Nga Bay, with an eight metre high picture window looking out over the ocean in the master bedroom suite. An infinity pool and beautifully landscaped gardens complete this decadent development.
27 [ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]
London Walpole Mayfair
Located right across from the Ritz, Walpole Mayfair consists of five apartments within an 18th-century Georgian building previously home to Britainâ€™s first prime minister Sir Robert Walpole. Apartment number four (pictured) is the most contemporary in design, with a lofty, apex ceiling and beautful finishes throughout. www.knightfrank.com
29 [ places | F1 ]
position Loft takes a whirlwind tour across the globe to look at the property markets in some of the host nations for this seasonâ€™s Formula 1 World Championship. Words by Marc da Silva
his yearâ€™s Formula 1 season, which started on the 18th of March, will be contested on 20 different Grand Prix circuits around the world. The tournament puts each host nation under the global spotlight, helping to boost tourism, the local economy and investment and construction levels, including new homes. All of which can have a positive impact on the price of property.
| F1 ] [ spaces | no place [ places like home
Catalunya, Spain HK$5.4m
spain Much like Spaniard Fernando Alonso’s struggling Ferrari during the early part of this season, the Spanish property market, including Catalunya, which is where the Spanish grand prix takes place, has stalled in recent years, with average prices nationwide reversing back to 2004 levels.
Inheritance tax between close relatives is not applied and assets outside Switzerland are tax-free.
According to Spanish property portal Kyero, the greatest price falls have been recorded along many coastal areas, such as Murcia, Malaga (Costa del Sol) and Alicante (Costa Blanca), where average prices have depreciated by 34.1% since the market peak of 2007. Properties in areas defined as Capitals and Major Cities have dropped in price by 29.7%, Metropolitan Areas fell by 28.9% and the Balearic and Canary Islands declined by 24.7%.
Autumn 2011 summer 2012
“Local economic conditions mean that sellers remain open to negotiation, enabling buyers to get good value properties at discounted prices,” said Alex Vaughan, director of Lucas Fox International. The Spanish property market has ultimately suffered from a chronic oversupply of homes, uncertain legislation and a series of scandals, with about 3.4 million, or 13% of Spain’s housing stock lying empty. In Valencia alone, which is home to the European Grand Prix, there are well over 150,000 unsold homes on the market.
Singapore, from HK$10,800/sq ft
31 [ places | F1 ]
brazil The Brazilian market has a lot going for it. The country is attracting a lot of attention from property investors, has one of the world’s fastest growing economies, an expanding middle class, a rapidly emerging mortgage market, a general shortage of quality homes, and has been selected to host the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. Property values have been recording double-digit growth annually in recent years, led by Sao Paulo, which is where the Brazilian Grand Prix takes place. Figures published by Global Property Guide reveal that average residential prices in the city appreciated by 19.8% in 2011, compared with 2010. The only market to show greater growth last year was Delhi in India, according to the research.
Natal, Brazil, HK$123,000
With new and improved infrastructures and homes being developed across the country, Brazil appears to offer genuine room for further capital growth. Reuters recently polled 15 banks, research groups and business associations, with nine projecting that prices would rise by 5-10% in 2012. Samantha Gore of UV10 estate agents commented: “Undoubtedly there have been some significant doubledigit percentage price hikes in Brazilian property over recent years but, instead of crashing, the consensus is that values will take a more modest path of growth.”
Overseas buyers now have to pay a 10% stamp duty in Singapore
But housing activity has dropped a gear in recent months, following the introduction of various cooling measures by the government. Overseas buyers now have to pay an additional 10% buyer’s stamp duty on the purchase price, which is deterring some would-be homebuyers.
Autumn 2011 summer 2012
Singapore, from HK$10,800/sq ft
“Reasons are aplenty as to why the private residential market was so hot in past years and is likely to remain so in the future,” said Alex Cheong of Savills.
However, a number of market commentators still believe that Singapore is in pole position to deliver further capital growth in the short to medium term, supported in part by low interest rates and a growing population.
The Singapore property market has boomed in recent years, fuelled by a strong appetite from international property investors, which made up 36% of property transactions in the prime market in 2011, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.
[ places | F1 ]
Monaco Unlike the fast paced Monaco Grand Prix, the signature event of the F1 racing season, Monegasque property sales are slow in comparison with 2007 and 2008. However, there is still a good level of demand for quality apartments in the best areas of Monaco, in particular for large apartments in the so-called Golden Square. Savills report that several sales in that area took place last year at an average of about £17 million each and good properties are still hard to come by. But the mid-market – £6 million to £12 million – has been harder hit and it is at this level that demand is lower. The lower end of the market is still relatively buoyant as people who might more readily have rented, are deciding to take the plunge and to buy. Irene Luke, Savills Monaco Estates said: “Prices are openly being reduced in some instances to reflect the current global economic difficulties. Vendors are simply – finally – becoming more realistic about their selling prices and now understand that the prices achieved in 2007 and 2008 may no longer be attained.”
canada The Formula one Grand Prix du Canada is held in Montreal, where property prices are 10% to 15% overvalued, Canada’s second-largest bank, Toronto-Dominion, has warned.
Toronto-Dominion Bank chief economist Craig Alexander said that Montreal, along with Vancouver, Toronto and Quebec City are most in danger of housing market corrections. He said it is likely that there will be a gradual decline in sales and prices over several years. In fact, Canadian property prices are already showing signs of dropping a gear. The latest data provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) shows that the number of property sales fell by 4.5% in January compared to the previous month, the first decrease since August 2011 and the largest decline since July 2010.
Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist, said: “Year-on-year comparisons in the national average price are expected to become volatile and may turn negative.” The average price of a home sold in Canada in January 2012 was £220,000 (HK$2.7 million), representing an increase of 1.2% yearon-year. This represents one of the lowest increases since late 2010.
USA Like many of the drivers that have tackled the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, homeowners in the USA have endured a bumpy ride in recent years, with property prices plummeting by up to 70 per cent across the country. But with the U.S. economy improving faster than economists had expected, property market conditions are improving in some part of the US, with transaction levels rising. According to the RE/MAX Housing Report, the number of completed sales recorded in the early part of
2012, have increased by 3-4% on the same period a year earlier. “If sales continue ahead of last year’s pace and inventory does not increase significantly, we could start to see increasing home prices this year,” said Margaret Kelly, chief executive officer of the organisation. Chief economist at the National Association of Realtors Lawrence Yun believes that the declining inventory is helping balance supply and demand, which in turn will result in greater stability for home prices. But in the meantime, the value of properties across much of the country is still falling, though parts of recession-hit states like California and Florida are showing some signs of improvement, mortgage insurer United Guaranty Corp (UGC) said. In total, 170 markets nationwide are considered stable but 214 are in some stage of decline. UGC said housing prices in 13 major markets improved in the most recent version of its Geographic Quality Index, while 18 markets demonstrated fresh weakness. [ L ]
33 [ places | F1 ]
[ places | UAE ]
An Emergi Emirate The property promise of Abu Dhabi Words by Gavin Charlton
he forest of cranes that weaved to-and-fro over the Abu Dhabi skyline is looking threadbare these days. Like the neighbouring emirate of Dubai, the oil-rich kingdom took a hard knock with the crash of 2008. But four years on, its property sector is once again coming to life. Abu Dhabi came late to the property frenzy that gripped the region a decade ago. With the world’s 6th largest oil reserves lying under its land, the city itself was a drab collection of utilitarian buildings designed to host the necessary labour to keep its crude production pumping. This changed in 2005, when the government opened up the property market to foreigners, and announced billions of dollars in developments. The plan was ambitious: to transform Abu Dhabi from an oil-producing backwater to a brand-new city, the cultural and financial capital of the Middle East.
With speculators already making a mint in Dubai, the kingdom was soon awash with investment money. “It was a total frenzy,” says Donald Pressley, an estate agent based in Abu Dhabi. “Offplan projects were sold out within hours of their launch. And this was before even a bucket of earth had been moved.”
35 [ places | UAE ]
UAE Fact Box
Geography: Middle East, bordering the Gulf between Oman and Saudi Arabia. Capital: Abu Dhabi Population: 5,314,317 Median Age: 30.2 Climate: Desert
[ places | UAE ]
St Regis show villa
Saadiyat Beach Villas
Two bedroom St Regis apartment
[ places | UAE ]
The reversal was as stunning as its arrival. The global market and credit crash hit. By mid 2009, property speculators were desperate to unload projects that would in all likelihood never be built. The government, the driving force behind some of the largest projects, put many of them on hold. Today, properties are trading at half what they were before the crash. There are, however, signs that life is returning to the moribund market. In January, the government said it would finance flagship projects whose completion was in doubt. These include the Louvre and Guggenhiem museums on Saadiyat island, the emirate’s planned cultural centre. Both institutions are franchises of their Paris and New York parent organisations. The Louvre will open in 2015, and the Guggenheim in 2017. “Abu Dhabi’s tourism is driven by corporate visitors, about 80 per cent of the total,” says David Dudley, the regional director of the consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle. “They want to build leisure tourism, and Saadiyat is central to this strategy”. He says continuing financial commitment to the project has reassured investors that Saadiyat – and by extension other keystone developments, will be completed. “These projects have already cost a lot of money and with the latest financial commitment, will be completed,” says Dudley. Last year, Saadiyat hosted Abu Dhabi’s annual art fair for the first time, and another permanent art venue, Manarat al-Saadiyat is open to visitors. Hotels such as the Park Hyatt and St Regis have also opened.
Yas island’s stages ring out with the songs of Elton John, Madonna and the Kings of Leon. The government
With Saadiyat island, Abu Dhabi hopes to replicate the success of Yas. It is taking a gamble that it will draw not simply visitors looking to make a fast buck with property speculating, or those wanting to work on their tan lines; it intends to host some of the greatest artwork in the world and so become a cultural destination in its own right. “Saadiyat is our flagship project and is at the forefront of Abu Dhabi’s vision to become a global destination of distinction,” says a spokesman for the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), which is overseeing the project. The island lies 500 meters offshore from Abu Dhabi – itself an
Good Neighbours Dubai property has taken investors for a heady ride since the early 2000s. Wild designs in the shape of a palm, a map of the world, and even plans to air condition beach sand, lured investors to the emirate. At the peak of the boom between 2007 and 2008, prices rose 80 per cent. In the ensuing crash a year later, many hapless investors lost everything – including, in some cases, their freedom as the emirate still places debtors in prison. Prices dropped by up to 90 per cent on some projects. Today, the market has stabilised, according to Knight Frank, and is once again one of the fastest growing in the world. And figures from the Dubai Land Department revealed the number of property purchases were up by 84 per cent in January 2012 over the previous year. This represents almost 500 property deals for the first month of this year, according to the Department. The UAE’s safe-status haven amidst the Arab Spring, as well as the stabilising property market in general, is aiding investor optimism.
island connected to the mainland by several bridges. Eventually, Saadiyat will be home to 145,000 people, and will ultimately be the single largest mixed use development on the entire Persian Gulf. The area will consist of five star resorts, villas, and the region’s first championship beach golf course, which is designed by the legendary Gary Player. The centrepiece will, however, be the museums. Apart from the Louvre and Guggenheim, a third, the Zayed National Museum is also planned to showcase Islamic arts and culture. It is likely to be a world first and the single biggest repository of Middle East artefacts. The response from the buying public, says the TDIC, has been overwhelming. “The TDIC has received an exceptional amount of buyer interest,” says the spokesman. The first of the residential projects, Saadiyat Beach Villas, is moving towards occupation. “The first phase of this development has now been completely sold out and will be handed over to home owners towards the end of 2012.” The emirate has loosened visa restrictions to help entice buyers – its now possible for foreign property owners to obtain a three-year-visa; previously, visas were limited to six months, with only employed expatriates entitled to longer term residence permits. The government continues to invest heavily in social services such as schools, hospitals and other amenities that underpin modern urban living. For investors, the question remains whether the Abu Dhabi market has stabilised. “Its hard to say whether we have seen the bottom,” says Dudley. With so much stock coming on the market, prices are likely to remain under pressure for some time. “But its very encouraging that the government has committed itself to such significant capital spending,” he adds. “Its exactly what this market needs.”[ L ]
The plan to open branches of two of the world’s most famous museums may appear ambitious, but on nearby Yas island there is evidence that big thinking can deliver results. The roar of Formula1 cars around the superfast Marina Yas circuit is now a well established annual event.
understands that to create a draw card for international tourists it needs a portfolio of social events to keep people interested and entertained.
Sadiyat will consist of five star resorts, villas, and the region’s first championship beach golf course
FOR IMMEDIATE SALE
A rare chance to own a beautiful estate in prime wine territory, nestled against the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, USA
US $13.9 MILLION Reduced by US6 million for quick sale
540 hectares (1 330 acres) pasture, forests, lakes & streams
3 300+ sq ft colonial manor house
8kms of public roads
Excellent development options
Close to ski resort and wine trail
Room for an airstrip
All gas and mineral rights convey
Close to Washington, DC and major East Coast cities
faces Interviews, profiles and people
[ Faces | secret agents ]
director of landscope
Head of residential leasing & relocation services at jones Lang Lasalle
executive director of asia investment services at colliers international
Three property experts give tips on Hong Kongâ€™s investment hotspots Words by Nicky Burridge
Where are Hong Kongâ€™s up-and-coming property hotspots? AW (Alan Wong): We believe Wanchai will be the next property investment hotspot. Wanchai is undergoing a series of urban renewal projects to bring new life to the area, several residential developments have completed in recent years and there are more to come in the near future. Many offices have moved out from Central to Wanchai, Causeway Bay and North Point. This movement has a great impact on the residential market. AMS (Anne-Marie Sage): Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay are both up-and-coming areas, although I think Sai Kung has more investment potential than Clearwater. The Kowloon East area is being developed as the second central business district and there is not a lot of residential infrastructure around there. The highway is likely to be extended down to Sai Kung and schools, like Hong Kong Academy, are opening there.
AWU (Antonio Wu): For residential property you can get some bargains in West Kowloon or Kowloon Bay, where the old airport used to be. The area should come on nicely with the recent government initiative to create an alternative central business district in the Kowloon Bay area. For people investing in office space, Kowloon East, Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong have a lot of nice buildings and they provide good quality office space. Get in there early before all the infrastructure is in place. I would also try to find a good deal in Wong Chuk Hang, where the new extension of the MTR will open in 2015.
[ Faces | secret agents ]
[ Faces | secret agents ]
What makes an investment spot promising? AW: Property investment is all about location, location and location. Transport and local amenities also play important roles. AMS: Anywhere where you have new transport links going in, such as the new MTR stations. Also places where you have new business districts developing. AWU: Always look for infrastructure, such as the MTR. Also look for dining options. But the MTR extension, such as the one to Aberdeen, may not make much difference, as Hong Kong already has a good above ground transport network.
What type of property should investors be targeting?
Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay are both up-andcoming areas, although I think Sai Kung has more investment potential than Clearwater.
AW: Wanchai is popular among expats, especially expats without a family. This makes studio flats or small apartments a good choice for investment. AMS: I think you have to be quite careful and think about what you are buying for. Properties in gated communities with good security, pools and car parking are easier to resell. AWU: If you can afford it, buy a quiet place that is slightly high-end. Smaller investors should buy into big complexes. I favour retail space and offices over residential, as the outlook for residential property prices is challenging.
How are up-and-coming markts currently performing? AW: Property prices in the Wanchai area are still behind the traditional luxury areas, such as the Mid-levels and Southside. We expect 10% to 15% growth in the coming years. AMS: I think Sai Kung is a micro-market. Property prices are not as high as on Hong Kong island, so I think there is good potential for price growth. Rental yields are also good. A 2,000 sq ft
[ Faces | secret agents ]
townhouse with a pool could be leased out for between HK$80,000 and HK$110,000 a month. AWU: In Kowloon East office rental trends are relatively stable, compared with Wan Chai and Central where rents are softening as they are affected by the financial sector. In Kowloon East I still think prices have some room to grow. Right now you are looking at paying HK$7,000 to HK$8,000 per sq ft for office space and there is a pretty good chance for that to go up 10% to 15% in the next two years.”
What are the major risks faced by investors?
AW: More and more residential units will become available in the coming years, so supply may outrun demand.
Wanchai is popular among expats, especially expats without a family. This makes studio flats or small apartments a good choice for investment.
AMS: There is always the risk that you are wrong about something. A road that was planned may not be built, or schools don’t move there. With village houses you also have to be careful about what you actually own and what access rights you have, as you may not actually own your driveway or garden. AWU: The risks are related to the economy. The most vulnerable areas are the central business districts, as the first impact will be on the financial sector, but then it will hit the domestic market.
Are there any properties currently on the market that you would recommend? AW: J Residence on Johnston Road and Starcrest just behind Pacific Place III are among the most popular developments in the Wanchai area. J Residence offers a wide range of apartments in different sizes, from 400 sq ft studio flats to penthouses of more than 2,400 sq ft. It is in an excellent location, with the tram and MTR on the doorstep. Starcrest is one of most sought after developments in Wanchai. It is located in a rejuvenated artistic neighbourhood, just a few minutes’ walk from Pacific Place and Admiralty MTR station.” [ L ]
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[ faces | Ma yansong ]
my story: ma yansong
47 [ faces | Ma yansong ]
With Ontario’s Absolute Towers nearing completion, Ma Yansong’s early decision to go it alone seems more than vindicated Words by Kit Gillet
or Ma Yansong, the time to act was straight after graduation, and before he had even moved to London to start his first job as an architect.
Back in 2002, the young Chinese architect was about to join Zaha Hadid Architects, the creator of some of the world’s most iconic structures, including the Maxxi in Rome, the Guangzhou Opera House, and the Aquatic Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Yet even then he knew his time in London would be short, and that he would return to his hometown of Beijing to set up his own firm.
48 [ faces | Ma yansong ]
I always wanted to work for myself, so I registered my office straight after graduation.
“I always wanted to work for myself, so I registered my office straight after graduation,” the 36-year-old architect told LOFT on a recent morning in his Beijing studio. “I was in London for a short amount of time – less than one year – and by 2004 I had returned to China to begin entering competitions.” In the beginning, MAD Studio seemed more like a game than a business to Ma. “Entering architecture competitions was very easy, it was just like being in architecture school,” he explains. MAD entered more than 100 such events in its first two years, winning no major ones but gaining valuable experience. “Zaha Hadid spent 20 years just drawing so I was not expecting to be working on any real buildings so young.” Then, in 2006, MAD won one: a commission to build a set of skyscrapers in Toronto. This was big news in China at a time when the country was allowing foreign firms to head the design of all of the major arenas for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The twin-towered, 56-storey design, officially called the Absolute Towers and scheduled to be completed later this year, soon developed the nickname “the Marilyn Monroe” for its aesthetically pleasing curves and catapulted MAD Studio and Ma onto the international scene. The studio received the
01 Interior of the Ordos Museum 02 The Ordos museum 03 The Absolute Towers 04 China Wood Sculpture Museum
Architectural League Young Architects Award later that year, one of several international awards to have now come their way. The studio rapidly expanded – it was initially just Ma and one intern – with 50 architects from all over the world now taking up residence in Beijing to work in MAD’s cavernous open-plan office, complete with ping-pong table. Many of the architects, like Ma, would have been too young to be heading large projects in more established firms. “I see young architects in the States, ones older than me, and they are experienced and ready enough for their own practices but there is no opportunity for them,” he says, adding that several of his classmates from Yale have moved on to other industries. “The opportunities mostly go to older, more wellknown architects. When we began many clients saw us as too young – they didn’t want to talk with us or meet with us. That is why we could only really enter competitions; where people had no image of you, just your designs.”
According to Ma they work on roughly 15 international projects at any ones time, all in various stages of design and production.
“Beijing’s old city is like a garden, with planned hills, lakes, rocks. With modern cities and their huge towers this idea has disappeared.” Ma even published a proposal in 2008 to get trees planted throughout Tian’anmen Square and turn the unappealing concrete expanse into an attractive outdoor space. They even met with officials regarding the idea but despite the proposed date of 2050 are realistic about the chances of it happening. Elsewhere, Ma is still testing his relatively new position in the architecture field and how far he can revolutionise geographical areas and the ideas for them. For a recent project in Beijing’s central business district MAD Studio proposed both a tower and an entirely new blueprint for the area, which would be much more based around nature, with the buildings surrounding a central lake and hills. While the landscape masterplan was not taken up, the building, an elegant two-tower design, was chosen as one of 12 to occupy the site, a block south of Rem Koolhaas’ iconic CCTV Tower. “I want our new projects and thoughts to become more experimental. Maybe clients will say ‘No,’ but that is okay. It is important to make time to think and try independent projects and ideas.” With commissions like the Absolute Towers opening over the next few months and years it is likely less and less clients will say no to MAD Studio and its youthful vision. [ L ]
Yet despite the numbers, and cutting edge feel of many of the buildings that MAD Studio have designed, Ma says that ten years into his career he is still looking
“Modern cities started from the likes of Chicago, Manhattan, but in North America buildings still feel like they are from the time of the Industrial Revolution: they are all trying to be symbols of power – higher, taller, more imposing. The same thing is happening here in China. I am more interested in looking at what the future city can be; where people aren’t building individual towers but instead entire cities.”
LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images
To date, the projects coming out of MAD Studio are futuristic in their design, favouring flowing lines, eye-catching structural patterns and ambitious facades. They’ve created futuristic add-ons to Beijing’s ancient hutong courtyards, an otherworldly museum being built as part of an architectural experiment – the Ordos 100 project – in the middle of the Inner Mongolian desert, and are currently in the construction phase of a set-piece museum in the northern Chinese city of Harbin as well as a residential and commercial compound in Sanya that resembles a rolling wave and several other projects around the world.
for his style, and that designs in the future could return to a more balanced relationship with nature.
I want our new projects and thoughts to become more experimental
[ faces | Ma yansong ]
[ faces | barry yen ]
How i did it
Barry Yen talks to LOFT about dreaming up and then developing his Hokkaido house.
What is your connection with Japan and Hokkiado? My wife studied at Keio University in Tokyo and has always been fascinated with Japan. A place she kept returning to was Hida Takayama, in the Western Alps. She was especially taken with the gassho-zukuri (traditional style farm houses), which we ended up basing our house around. What gave you the idea to create your own home? Actually we were initially interested in buying a place in a planned ski development called Panorama. Unfortunately, like a few of the
developments at the time, it was probably a bit too big for the market to absorb and it didnâ€™t go ahead. This ended up to be wonderful blessing in disguise. Even though Panorama was canned, the attraction of a family holiday place in Niseko was still strong. When we went back the next summer though, we noticed that Niseko had an entirely different character without the snow. When the snow melts the built area in the main Hirafu Village is starkly visible. In some senses itâ€™s not too different from the urban area we were trying to escape from. So instead of building in the city we decided to buy a hectare
51 [ faces | barry yen ]
[ faces | barry yen ]
or so of land in the woods on a large parcel of land (at least by HKG standards!). How did you go about designing the house? As I mentioned my wife was inspired by the gassho-zukuri so we looked into this type of design. Gasshozukuri literally means ‘constructed like hands in prayer,’ as the farmhouses have steep thatched roofs that look like hands pressed together. The style is designed to withstand the heavy snowfall during the harsh winter. That’s pretty much the key to what we designed but in a more contemporary style. Did you consider restoring a farmhouse instead of building a new one? Yes. We considered buying an old one and transporting it to the plot. I actually joined an association that recycles them. It’s interesting as Hokkaido is or was an agrarian economy but the current generation has mostly gone to work in the city, which means the farms are falling into disrepair. We actually stayed in one of the farmhouses to get a better idea of what life would be like having a gassho-zukuri as a home. Ultimately we decided to try a blend between old and new for maximum comfort!
How did you get building approval? There are two different types of approval – development approval and building approval. To speed things up we made sure that we subdivided the land (over 100,000 sq ft of it) and ensured that each plot had separate road access, meaning we only had to apply for building approval. The building approval took a week, a lot less time than developmental approval usually takes. How long did it take to build? Work started in July 2011 and we took possession at the end of January 2012. The Japanese builder we used was very anxious (and indeed honor bound) to be on time and on budget – unlike many builders I have worked with in other countries! Would you change anything if you did it again? One thing to watch is the exchange rate. If we had hedged the cost of Yen at the start of the process we would have saved 15-20%. My only mild consolation is that even the financiers and currency traders have trouble predicting the direction and extremes of exchange rate fluctuations. For more information contact email@example.com
02 Making room for music 03 Finishing touches 04 Books with balance
Land and Infrastructure: HK$2.3m: This was for 25,000 sq ft of forested land. Infrastructure-wise, we didn’t want the house to be visible from the public access road so we decided to build separate private access. We also wanted the services to be underground so there were no obvious telephone or electricity poles close to the house. House build: HK$10-12m: This was around the price of our house – which is about 3300 sq ft. For someone used to living in Hong Kong this is amazing value since there you can easily spend HK$15,500/sq ft for a very average place sold on a gross basis. Plus this is all usable space rather than being gross area less common area. This budget was also for very high quality and unique specifications. You could easily build a house at a lower cost more cheaply on one of the available plots remaining. A lot of the cost is influenced by the size of the house and the quality of the appointments. Architect, engineering and government approvals: Around about 10% of house cost. The market rate seems to be about 8% to 12%. Interior Design: HK$550,000. The lighting costs for us were a significant portion of this cost as we were quite keen to get some designer Bocci lights to contrast with the more rustic elements.
01 Room with a view
The Price List
The style is designed to withstand the heavy snowfall during the harsh winter
[ faces | barry yen ]
How did you approach the interior design? We used Jesus Salinas who has worked for over ten years as a designer in Tokyo including six years with the renowned IDEE design firm. Salinas really had a good eye and could anticipate how colours and textures would best work together. He added touches like the blue tiling that we would never have thought of.
[ faces | shaun clarkson ]
We’re not very good at blowing our own trumpets, we’re quite self-deprecating and then we surprise ourselves at how good we are. Interior designer Shaun Clarkson on the UK’s creative capital. Words by Bethan Ryder
haun Clarkson has been a London-based interior designer for 21 years. His flamboyant bar
and club interiors defined London nightlife in the nineties and noughties, buzzing hangouts such as Raw, the Atlantic Bar & Grill, Pop, Denim, Pigalle and Electric Birdcage to name a few. Then he branched out into hip rental properties – the ‘rancho-deluxe’ Cliff Barnes and the decadently louche
Carrington House in Norfolk – aimed at groups of friends and families that like to weekend and party in style. His most recent success is the Hoxton lifestyle boutique-café-gallery that he operates with his husband Paul Brewster – so cool they’re hosting a Jade Jagger pop-up shop. LOFT caught up with the colour-loving designer to find out more.
You seem immensely busy, what have you designed lately? Last December we completed the enormous Del’ Aziz in Clapham Old Town, a deli, nightclub, bar and coffee shop concept that is part of a chain. Also, we’ve just finished Pitt Cue Co. on Newburgh Street, a small no-reservations restaurant that specialises in barbecued meat, along the same lines as other single concept restaurants such as Lobster & Burgers and Meat Liquor. It originated as a street food van under Hungerford Bridge on the South Bank and has become a huge cult hit. What was the idea behind Pitfield? It’s a deconstructed movable retail space in which we create lots of beautiful vignettes of furniture and
55 [ faces | shaun clarkson ]
home accessories. It’s deliberately toned down so that the products and furniture provide the colour. We intermingle the product in the café, for example we serve coffee using Klaus Haapaniemi designed china. What impact do you think the Golden Jubilee and Olympics will have on British design? Well, it won’t affect my interior projects but we’re having a bit of fun with it in the shop, with displays of vintage red, white and blue things and Coronation mugs. We’ve gone a bit God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia. It’s a positive thing to have the world’s spotlight on us, I think it brings a new energy to the capital.
Which designers do you admire? Dorothy Draper for her forties elegance and pared-down grandeur with a modernist twist. Also David Hicks, when he’d come up with a design he’d put it on every surface, not just one wall – I’m a bit of a maximalist. Colour is my trademark too, so I’ve always been a fan of Verner Panton.
What would you be if you weren’t a designer? A lady of leisure, or someone with a huge trust fund. Shaunclarksonid.com
We’ve gone a bit God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia. It’s a positive thing to have the world’s spotlight on us.
01, 02 Pittcue 03, 04 Del Aziz 05 Fifth Floor Harvey Nichols
Such as? Dick Bradsell’s bar Pink Chihuahua in Soho, which is a bit old school and serves great cocktails in a kitsch environment. Also Big Apple Hot Dogs, which is a man
Any other favourite London haunts? I love Solange Azagury-Partridge’s jewellery shop on Bond Street, it’s all flocked and glittery, like a disco with jewellery.
How would you define British style? We have such a great stable of designers, from Tom Dixon to Vivienne Westwood, I think fashion is very influential. But we’re not very good at blowing our own trumpets, we’re quite self-deprecating and then we surprise ourselves at how good we are. We’re best at that underground and street stuff and I think we’re even more creative when times are tough. I’m relieved all the glamorous days of big restaurants and bars has gone and it’s a lot more about the hidden and the street cool places.
with a van in Shoreditch. And Gelupo Gelato in Soho, which serves the best ice cream in London.
榮獲 Hong Kong Business 頒發
傑出室內設計獎2011 Outstanding Interior Design Award 2011
Interior Design Commercial projects: Carlsberg
Residential projects: House, Belleview Drive, Repulse Bay
Apartment, The Mayfair
Apartment, The Leighton Hill
普特朗建築及室內設計 工程管理 T: (852) 2239 6888
www.zchron.com 3/F, No. 77, Wong Nai Chung Road
SPaces Shopping, interiors and architecture
[ spaces | by design ]
Carefully designed products to pore over 02
i llu m i nate i t Designed by Christian Dell â€“ these steel and brass lamps are smart and simple. HK$5000, www.fritzhansen.com
cool ki t This retro style Union Jack fridge will give your kitchen some serious London attitude. On request, www.smeg.asia
sou nd b i te
The Brionvega 522 cube radio opens like a shell, created by design duo Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper. HK$3,190, www.homeless.hk
cl e a n up
Hankies by Brit brand Thornback and Peel. Price on request, www.sidewalk.hk
dog fo od Time for a spot of baking with this cute corgi apron. On request, www. sidewalk.hk
[ spaces | by design ]
A tea cosy is the ultimate British accessory – especially this Jubilee edition. On request, www.heals.co.uk
strai ght u p
First class print from Ann Carrington. On request, www.sidewalk.hk
s p e e d up
Add a splash of colour to your ‘sills with this funky red raodster. HK$600, www.homeless.hk
09 summer 2012
This ‘Let them eat cake’ stand is a LOFT favourite. HK$1,900, www.heals.co.uk
c ake ale rt
61 [ spaces | new & noted ]
new & noted Decadent design hotels to inspire travel
Phuket Indigo Pearl
Maldives Jumeirah vittaveli
Mauritius Lux Belle Mare
miami Shelbourne South Beach
Indigo pearl, phuket Seven new private pool villas have been unveiled at Phuket’s Indigo Pearl Resort. Designed by ‘starchitect’ Bill Bensley, the villas all feature two bungalows, one acting as a sleeping zone and the other as a living space. Inspired by Phuket’s industrial heritage, the design features polished metals, exposed beams and riveted furnishing. Indigo Pearl also features the new COQOON spa, including a treatment room suspended mid-air from a Banyan tree. www.indigo-pearl.com
lux belle mare, mauritius
Shelbourne South beach, miami With a naughty but nice theme, architect Jonathan Cardello of ADD Inc Miami has given the historic Shelborne South Beach hotel a dose of devilish decadence. The Art Deco building now boasts a sleek new lobby, a new ‘catwalk’ to reach the infinity pool and new contemporary guest rooms – all helping to make it one of the hottest addresses on Miami Beach. www.shelbourne.com
It doesn’t take much to make a Maldives resort exceptional – with idyllic beaches and lagoons to frame the picture. But HBA Architects have created something really special here, with some of the largest guest villas in the Maldives – all featuring a pool, massage room and direct beach access.
Renowned interior designer Kelly Hoppen is the brains behind the rejuvenation of the Belle Mare resort on the island of Mauritius. She has already lent her magic touch to the honeymoon suites and pool villas and come September the whole resort will be complete. Kelly’s aim is to install a feeling of sanctuary in the 174 suites and 12 villas, which she achieves with minimalist luxury and clean, simple lines.
jumeirah Vittaveli, maldives
[ Spaces | design cities ]
Better Builds Catch the London Festival of Architecture (until July 8th) for exhibitions and tours of London’s most fascinating builds. lfa2012.org
The UK capital is a crazy creative hub with an everchanging design scene. Bethan Ryder delivers the latest.
Eat: La Bodega Negra: This moodily lit taqueria and cocktail bar in Soho is hidden behind the neon façade of a former sex shop and is currently the hottest ticket in town. The distressed interior features an upright piano as a screen and is full of nooks and crannies, perfect for group dining. Labodeganegra.com
Polpo: If you don’t mind chancing a no-reservation policy, try designer Russell Sage’s first of five restaurants. Polpo is a Venetian style bacaro serving lots of delicious Italian style tapas plates made for sharing. Exposed brickwork and butcher tiles make for a simple, welcoming interior. Polpo.co.uk The Delaunay: The latest blockbuster from esteemed restaurateurs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, modelled on a grand European café like their other classic The Wolesley. Exquisite interiors created by David Collins. Great for breakfast. Thedelaunay.com drink Lounge Bohemia: Make a reservation, dress down (suits are banned) and look out for an unmarked door to
find this Shoreditch basement gem. Step back in time with the 60s décor and vintage Czech books holding the menus. Cocktails are fantastic; try one of owner-mixologist Paul Tvaroh’s creations. loungebohemia.com Cocktail Lounge at the Townhouse: Molecular mixologists are masterminding operations in the ground floor cocktail lounge of this hip new Clerkenwell hotel that feels more like a sedate private house. Thezettertownhouse.com
shop Pitfield: Quirky Hoxton design store (selling vintage finds and new pieces), café and gallery owned by interior designer Shaun Clarkson. So cool it’s hosted a Jade Jagger pop-up shop. Pitfieldlondon.com
Writing on the Wall British street artist Banksy has become a global phenomenon. Seek out his latest works at artofthestate.co.uk
10,000 tonnes of steel have been used to build olympic venues
[ Spaces | design cities ]
Sporting Design Stop by the Design Museum to catch the Design to Win exhibition looking at the ways in which sport and design are combined. designmuseum.org
Jasper Morrison: Small but a fascinating little shop adjoining Morrison’s studio in Shoreditch. Find a mixture of his own products with other functional utilitarian pieces he has curated. Jaspermorrison.com Jonathan Adler: Zany American ceramicist and all round designer has opened his first UK store in Brompton Cross. There are two floors of groovy, happy chic home wares from rugs to handbags that are bound to make you smile. Jonathanadler.com
Tom Dixon: British industrial designer Tom Dixon has helped revitalise Portobello Dock with his shop and Dock Kitchen restaurant. Find his designs in this cool industrial development. Tomdixon.net
Design must do The Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park is reinvented annually. The 2012 pavilion promises to be a spellbinding collaboration between Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wewei. Opens 1st June. Serpentinegallery.org
L ond o n ’ s h e a r t o f g l a s s When The Shard is inaugurated on the 5th July it will become the tallest building in Western Europe, towering 310 metres high above this south-east patch – recently dubbed the London Bridge Quarter – of the capital. It’s the headlining act of the redevelopment of London Bridge station, a major travel hub for commuters. But for visitors to the city this shiny new landmark is where to trek to for an incredible view of this side of London from the highest public viewing platform in town. Follow up with a trip to the foodie mecca of nearby Borough Market (open Thu-Sat) and then you’re just a brisk ten-minute stroll from other South Bank highlights, such as the Tate Modern. The-shard.com
The Shop at Bluebird: This Chelsea lifestyle boutique is reminiscent of Milan’s 10 Corso Como with a blend of designer fashion, books, CDs and home accessories. Theshopatbluebird.com
Dorset Square: The latest outpost from the Firmdale group, with cool Brit-with-a-twist interiors by hotelier Kit Kemp. Brilliantly positioned for the independent boutiques – such as Designers Guild, Century and Skandium – and restaurants of Marylebone Village. Firmdale.com
Dine in the sky: Book ahead to enjoy a pop-up feast cooked by Michelin starred chefs from around Britain with 17 fellow diners in The Cube by Electrolux which will afford spectacular views of London’s river skyline. electrolux.co.uk/Cube/London
Dover Street Market: Comme des Garcons flagship Mayfair store has the feel of an artful pop-up. It offers designer labels including Celine, Lanvin and YSL attracting fashionistas globally. Doverstreetmarket.com
Stay The Boundary Hotel: Sir Terence Conran’s hotel is located in London’s most creative neighbourhood of Shoreditch and the rooms, all different, pay homage to various designers and design movements – from Eames to Shaker. Restaurants The Boundary in the basement, Boundary Rooftop and hip hangout the Albion café on the ground floor make it a major destination for style mavens and local hipsters alike. Theboundary.co.uk
out & about On yer bike: Dubbed Boris Bikes, after the London mayor who launched them in 2010, this public sharing bicycle scheme has really taken off. Find a docking station and use your credit card to grab a bike and go. Tfl. gov.uk
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ABERDEEN LOWER RESERVOIR
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industrial revolution Exploring Wong Chuk Hang’s emerging design scene Words by Catherine Shaw LOFT
ne of Hong Kong’s grittiest industrial areas is quietly redefining itself as a hip design hub with an adventurous new wave of interior design studios, galleries and boutiques, imbuing old structures with a new – and decidedly stylish – sense of purpose. The combination of a decline in traditional manufacturing, comparatively reasonably priced good quality space and the soon-to-be-completed South Island MTR Line (anticipated to transform the area’s strategic transport links with Central a mere 15 minutes away) have contributed to the metamorphosis of the once drab industrial landscape into one of the city’s most soughtafter neighbourhoods.
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It’s not the first time the city has seen industrial buildings transform into havens of style: Ap Lei Chau’s 28-storey Horizon Plaza crammed with cafés, designer outlets and furniture stores is now so popular that tourist buses whisk well heeled shoppers clutching shopping guides to its doors. In Wong Chuk Hang, however, the revival is more akin to other international gentrification experiences, such as New York’s SoHo, with an influx of trendy art and design-related tenants looking for that winning combination of large spaces and low rents.
furniture (the Infinity Chair is a design classic) and lighting by San Francisco-based Richard X. Zawitz. A short stroll away is SLACK’s Bean Bag City showroom (www. slackbeanbags.com) with their awardwinning designer take on slouchy comfort: the amphibious lounger in AmphiRed is a surprisingly elegant functional design solution to lounging pool or boat-side. The Red Cabinet’s (www.redcabinet.com.hk/) 3,500 sq ft loft space in One Island South should also be
The revival is more akin to other international gentrification experiences, such as New York’s SoHo, with an influx of trendy art and design-related tenants.
The Factory at No 1 Yip Fat Street has undoubtedly led the regeneration thanks to its masterful re-envisioning of a standard industrial building with a striking new-look comic-book façade painted by Italian artist, Mauro Marchesi. Interiors sport distinctive lighting, oversized comic artwork on the walls and distinctive blue elevators. The creative location proved irresistible to Manx (www.manx. com) whose 6,000 sq ft showroom is a treasure trove of Scandinavian modern design from Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg chair and Thomas Pedersen’s sleek Stingray Rocking chair to elegant glassware by Alfredo Haberli. In the same building you’ll find Australian-born Sally Spence Art (www.sallyspenceart.com), a 2,000 sq ft private gallery featuring the artist’s vibrant acrylic paintings of life in China and Hong Kong. Upstairs, The Infinity Gallery (www.tanglecreations. com) offers extraordinary sculptural
on any stylist’s must-see list for their carefully curated range of bespoke antique furniture from China and Europe that manages to avoid the more obvious design clichés. Earlier this year, Lane Crawford (www.lanecrawford.com) added to the area’s sartorial quotient with its new home and lifestyle store on the ground floor of the same building. Visit for unique statement pieces by House of Hackney, bold textiles from Kvadrat and fine modern design musthaves like Tom Dixon lighting artfully arranged in a vast 5,500 sq ft. steel grey concrete NY-style loft space with 30 ft. high ceilings. “Wong Chuk Hang is definitely one of Hong Kong’s new exciting hubs,” explains Lane Crawford Creative Director,
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Ross Urwin, who says the new store’s vast space is the perfect place for people involved or interested in the interior and design world to meet and be inspired. “Nowhere in HK can you find such an environment: the rough concrete walls lend themselves to art. We see this as becoming a destination store for city dwellers.” A soon-to-debut health cafe in the same space is destined to add to the ambiance.
and style - without the stylist’s fee.[ L ]
Directly opposite One Island South, across Wong Chuk Hang Road, are a few more enticing boutique style finds: Attic Lifestyle (www.attic-lifestyle.com) founded by South Africa-born Simone Daly whose eye-catching selection of contemporary homewares and accessories like South African textile designer Heather Moore’s quirky hand printed cushions and napkins, and White Tin Can Teapot by Homebakes, have made this the go-to place for creative interior accessories. Nearby, Mirth’s (www. mirthhome.com) owner, Australian Kylie Platt, found BT Center’s 1st floor sunlit space and concrete surfaces the ideal showcase for her collection of colourful artwork and furniture (the neon Acapulco chairs are best sellers), bright ceramics, and stylish wall decals by ‘Love Mae’ and ‘Pony Rider,’ – not to mention a range of inspiring books. In the same building is Wicka (www.wickadesigns.com), an outdoor furniture specialist store founded by Australian Donna Shepherd whose 8,500sq ft. space features brushed galvanised steel ‘Marais’ cafe chairs and stools by Xavier Pauchard. Beautifully made, sleek outdoor sofas and accessories as well as a professional bespoke design service make it ever easier to obtain an affordable modern look at home. Upstairs is Burnt Oringe (www.burntoringe.com), a 2,200 sq ft. store featuring environmentally friendly luxe bed linen sourced by Tarynn Hatton-Jones. Their ‘Room in a Box’ comes complete with matching linens, accessories like candles, mirrors and incense holders, and is perfect for those looking for a comprehensive design theme
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LA ne cr a w for d
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Style in sai kung
LP Architects explain how a unique approach helped to shape this happy home Words by Dominique Afacan
artners Elaine Lau and Jonathan Pang of LP Architects set up shop in the year 2000. The after effects of the Asian Financial Crisis meant they suffered a shaky start but soon enough they landed a big project in China and further jobs came flooding in. But big building projects and all the extra staff they employed meant they were growing further away from the creative side of the business they both loved. Fast forward a few years and the duo decided a change in direction was needed. The downsized company now focuses on residential interiors, like their latest project â€“ this beautiful house in Sai Kung.
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Family and Dining Another long, rectangular space facing onto the huge back garden. We wanted to blend indoors and outdoors as much as possible and put in large picture windows. The dining table, lounge chairs and TV cabinet are all wooden again to bring the feel of nature into the home.
What made you both want to become architects? I think we were both interested in art and design â€“ but specifically art with a function. Architecture is part art and part science, it is both an art form and a functional entity. I always advise youngsters who intend to go into the design profession that passion should come first and hard working next. I am so disappointed with some kids who go to design school simply because of their bad academic standing. Resultedly, they are either not motivated enough or simply too lazy to work hard and to excel.
What were the most difficult aspects of the project? The re-planning and installation of all the utilities infrastructure (i.e. electrical, A/C, broadband network and plumbing). The house is already 30 years old and most if not all the utilities had to be replaced.
Do you think your architectural background helps?
What were your initial observations when you looked at the property? We noticed straight away that the main focus of the house was its spectacular view to Clear Water Bay from the living room. The public areas (living, dining, family, kitchen etc.) were all on different levels which was a little impractical and there were dividing walls which made the interiors feel smaller than they needed. LOFT
How easy was it to make the switch to interiors? Very easy. As architects you always need to consider the interior anyway. interior design gives us more freedom to do pure design with less constraint in terms of technical aspects.
For sure. It means we can visualise the 3D space in a very comprehensive way. We always add spatial planning ideas rather than just dressing up the 2 dimensional spaces with various finishes.
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Living Room â€˜We installed full height bi-fold windows to take advantage of the view. We divided the room into two functional areas; one informal area for breakfast or tea and then a more formal area featuring two individual Minotti lounge chairs and a big cantilever floor lamp from Artemide. The stairwell is dressed with a blue carpet and a clear glass balustrade to counterbalance the heavy use of colour.
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Childrenâ€™s Playroom This also serves as the movie room with a full size screen. The space acts as a transitional room between the living and the family room which makes it easy to oversee the childrenâ€™s activities. To make it more interesting we came up with the idea of dressing a wall with paint or wallpaper and the owner picked out a colourful tree mural.
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Study/Library This space was enclosed before so we opened it up to feel more spacious. We added in custom made wooden bookshelves and we use a concealed door (to the maidâ€™s room) to make the space feel bigger.
Master Bedroom This space was designed very differently from the public areas. The owner wanted a warmer feel so we used natural wood flooring and a purple and beige colour tone with warm grey fabrics. [ L ]
LUXURY RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS T h e P e a k •J a r d i n e ' s L o o k o u t H o u s e• R e p u l s e B a y H o u s e K o w l o o n T o n g H o u s e • B e l - A i r H o u s e •T h e A r c h M a r i n a C o v e S a i K u n g •Wa t e r f r o n t P e n t h o u s e Aw a r d W i n n e r ' s D e s i g n e r• D e v e l o p e r s A s s i g n e d D e s i g n F i r m • M e m b e r O f H K I D A
Office : 29/F, Singga Commercial Centre, 148 Connaught Road West, Hong Kong Tel : 2521-1118 Fax : 2521-1133 Website : www.primocasa.com E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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Roberta Wolens found an unlikely haven in a former workhouse in Hampstead Village. Words by Victoria Metcalf
hen Roberta Wolens needed to move house, she wanted to find somewhere that would not only have enough space for herself and her four teenage children to live, but somewhere that she could relax and be tranquil. ‘It was important that my house would be a haven, where the aesthetic was a true reflection of my personality’ she says.
Roberta found her haven in the most unusual of places – an old Georgian house, built in 1849 and first used as the local workhouse. Located in the centre of Hampstead village, North London, it was used as a hospital during the First World War and then converted by a developer into flats in 1987. When Roberta first saw it, the house was not to her taste but she recognised the potential beauty. ‘I loved its high ceilings and the beautiful south-facing terrace with the old brick arches and wisteria’ says Roberta. ‘I loved its position in the heart of Hampstead village. It was close to the high street whilst feeling a world away from the traffic outside’.
Roberta turned to architects Elantha Evans and Ana Serrano of Serrano Evans Partnership to re-design her home. ‘Our brief was to provide her with a home that included six bedrooms and six bathrooms’ says Elantha. ‘The brief from Roberta was primarily a programmatic one, but we were given the opportunity and the trust to be visionary, innovative and playful in developing the brief beyond Roberta’s expectations’. Elantha and Ana took a holistic approach to the design, ‘unifying the vertical circulation and creating views front to back was key to the orientation, communication and enjoyment of the house’ remarks Ana. To keep the room as a well proportioned space, the partition walls between the kitchen, dining room and entrance hall were removed and a Minotti kitchen was installed. This made one large kitchen-dining space and kept the entrance informal. The large space at the back of the house, on the ground floor was turned into the sitting room. ‘We wanted to keep it as one space,’ explains Elantha ‘so we designed a double sided screen that created a working environment on one side with a built in desk and seat, and a warm backdrop to the round dining table on the other side.’
Elantha and Ana positioned the staircase at the heart of the house. ‘We wanted to transform the most dark and uncomfortable space into the most uplifting and dynamic part of the house’ says Ana. They created a three-storey open space for the stairs which uses the two side, load-bearing walls to support the dark stained timber treads. We wanted a staircase that could be experienced differently from above and below. On descending, the stairs are dark wood, but from the underside, the treads are lined with a textured bronze curve. ‘It was challenging to accommodate an en suite bathroom in each room that Roberta had specified as the 320m2 floor space did have limits’ said Elantha. The girls solved this by merging the two boys’ rooms together. Each has a separate bedroom and en suite, but the fourth wall is a sliding wall which opens out to a
I loved its high ceilings and the beautiful south facing terrace with the old brick arches
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01 A room of two halves 02 Sumptuous living space 03 Minotti kitchen 04 Room to read 05 Warm backdrops for dining 06 Red and retro 07 Roberta Wolens 08
shared office space and entrance door. Roberta requested that her own bedroom have a walk in wardrobe and feel feminine and cocoon-like. As space was limited, Elantha and Ana designed a series of padded full height cupboards, around the room, which turned into the bed headboard. They commissioned textile artist Helen Amy Murray to embroider flowers into the pink suede panels and cut out one side of each flower which gave relief and texture to the panels. To display her jewellery and store her accessories, Elantha and Ana designed a birds eye maple, stained pink veneer, cubed drawer unit that was built on castors so that it could be moved.
In Roberta’s bathroom, Elantha and Ana looked into alternative bathing rituals for inspiration ‘We felt the bathroom should be a continuation of the bedroom’ says Elantha. The girls liked the Japanese approach to bathing, where the body is submerged in water whilst sitting up’ says Elantha. They worked with William Garvey to create the upright teak bath and walk in shower. Down in the basement, two more bedrooms, a bathroom and a laundry room were built. After two years, the house was finished and ready to live in. ‘I love my home’ says Roberta ‘Elantha and Ana took my dream to a whole different level and exceeded my every expectation with their intelligent use of space, aesthetic vision and technical expertise.[ L ]
Images by Graham Atkins Hughes (www.grahamatkinshughes.com)/ Architects - Serrano Evans Partnership (www.serranoevans.com)/ Teak bath-tub, teak tiles and master bedroom, cupboard joinery supplied by William Garvey (www.williamgarvey.co.uk)
08 + 09 Beds and bath
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[ Spaces | top ten ]
Colonial Hotels Top 10
LOFT presents ten restful recommendations for lovers of a more elegant period of design Words by Samuel Olsen
For travellers that revel in architectural opulence and good old-fashioned service, colonial hotels represent a superior place to stay. There are some that everyone has heard of â€“ Raffles in Singapore, Hong Kongâ€™s Peninsula, and the Taj in Mumbai to name just three â€“ but there are plenty of others across the world, home to some of the best colonial architecture still preserved.
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Sofitel Hanoi Metropole, Hanoi, Vietnam. Opened in 1901. The only colonial hotel in Hanoi, the French-built Metropole is a distinct feature in the city. Restored to its former impressive self after years of neglect, the main building still sports its trademark green shutters and brilliant white faรงade, and the rooms maintain their graceful high ceilings and hardwood floors. The hotel is divided between the Metropole Wing and the Opera wing; the latter, although relatively new, has been built in keeping with the overall colonial design. Regular visitors book rooms overlooking the central garden and pool, which although small, provides a warm oasis away from the busy streets outside. www.sofitel.com
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Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Built in 1904. The Vic Falls is perhaps the best example of Edwardian architecture anywhere outside of Britain. Twenty years ago this hotel would have been on anyone’s recommended list of hotels, but has sadly fallen from favour given Zimbabwe’s recent troubles. Yet its sumptuousness remains, albeit a touch tired around the edges. With an unparalleled view of the most impressive waterfall in Africa, the hotel has both its quirks – like the resident warthogs that snuffle across the lawns - and its indulgences. www.africansunhotels.com
Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Opened in 1864. Reportedly the oldest hotel east of Suez, the Galle Face remains the best place to stay in Colombo. Guests include everyone from Prince Philip to Yuri Gagarin. They come in the main to enjoy a drink or two on the chequered terrace that overlooks the palm-fronted beach. The red roofs and white colonnades are as much as a Sri Lankan institution as the hotel’s most famous landmark, a doorman named K.C. Kuttan who first started working here in 1942 under the British Raj.
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Hotel Sofitel Winter Palace, Luxor, Egypt. Opened in 1886. Curvaceous stairs, walnut-inlaid rooms and terraces overlooking the Nile make the Winter Palace the perfect compliment to the desert tombs of Luxor. The hotel was built in typical British colonial style, with a sweeping drive and furniture reminiscent of an English country house. The hotel was made famous as the place where Howard Carter first announced the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. The novelist Agatha Christie was another visitor, perhaps drawn here to enjoy the peaceful luxury that still awaits the global array of guests. www.sofitel.com
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Raffles Grand Hotel dâ€™Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Opened in 1932. Starting life as one of five luxury establishments opened across French Indochina, the Grand Hotel was built 8km from the famous Angkor Wat ruins to accommodate a new influx of foreign visitors to the area. In spite of decades of turmoil that left the building in ruins, the hotel today preserves its colonial character, with original style lifts and exquisitely designed gardens. In 2011 the hotel hosted one of the worldâ€™s most unusual Christmas trees, made from red and white Cambodian silk lotus blossoms, designed by former Yves Saint Laurent trainee Eric Raisana. www.raffles.com
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Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Opened in 1885. Lying at the heart of Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this hotel was closed between 1996 and 2001 for major renovations. The colonial charm has not been destroyed though â€“ wifi aside, there is not an overindulgence in mod-cons â€“ and the design detail is as good as it would have been a hundred years ago. From the whispering gallery to the blackand-white tiled Victorian bathrooms, there is a lot to recommend. The E&O was the first endeavour of the famous Sarkies brothers, who established a chain of luxury hotels across Asia, including Raffles in Singapore. www.eohotels.com
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Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China. Opened in 1929.
Originally known as the Cathay Hotel, this grand old dame was the preWar destination of choice for every well-to-do visitor to Shanghai, like the writer Sir Noel Coward, who spent two weeks here writing his play Private Lives whilst recuperating from the flu. Today, shimmering from recent refurbishment, the hotel is still a magnate for the great and good. The gigantic yet tasteful Art Deco rooms, the iconic Jazz Bar, and the sky-lit swimming pool all serve to make this one of the best hotels on the Bund.
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Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand. Opened in 1876. The Mandarin Oriental is a modern hotel that has managed to maintain an architectural link with its colonial past. The Author’s Wing, the only part of the building left from the 19th century, reflects the golden roll-call of writers that have lodged here, including Conrad, Maugham, and Greene. Royalty too have been frequent guests, right back to 1891 with the visit of the future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. www.mandarinoriental.com
The triumphal arch at the head of the driveway is a distinct indication of the splendour of this old hotel. It could be the unblemished views of Table Mountain, the gardens, or the pink-hued walls that make the institution so unique. A haunt of a young Winston Churchill when he was reporting on the Boer War, the hotel – or Old Nellie, as it is affectionately known – retains its original, oozing charm. With champagne before dinner as standard, it’s no wonder the hotel is a favoured destination of glamorous globetrotters.
Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa. Opened in 1899.
The Strand, Rangoon, Burma. Opened in 1901. Enjoying a cool drink under the beating fans of the Strandâ€™s hotel bar sends the traveller straight back to the days of yore. Another Sarkies Brothers creation, the hotel is now restored to full glory after years of war damage and neglect. Grand rooms with high ceilings and polished teakwood floors make many a guest feel they have been mistakenly upgraded, as does the presence of a butler on each level. There may not be the gardens or pool of the nearby Governors Residence hotel, but for sheer grace and style the Strand is unrivalled.
[ Spaces | top ten ]
www.ghmluxuryhotels.com [ L ]
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Natural sel Exploring The naked Stables Private Reserve in Moganshan, China Words by Catherine Shaw
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t was while hiking in the serene bamboo forests of Moganshan, a one-time popular summer retreat some two and a half hours by train from Shanghai, when South Africanborn Grant Horsfield first realised he had found the perfect setting for the luxury wellness eco-resort that he and his Harvard-trained architect wife, Delphine Yip, had always wanted to create. Last October, naked Stables made its debut with thirty spectacular tree top villas perched high in the forest canopy, and forty secluded rustic earth huts set within an exclusive nature reserve featuring wild deer and an organic white tea plantation. A steady stream of discerning eco-conscious guests ever since has happily proved the design duo’s firm belief that luxury and environmental responsibility are not mutually exclusive.
What makes this project so unique in a world where the term ‘eco-friendly’ is often misused, is the uncompromising focus on authentic sustainability throughout the resort’s lifecycle from construction through to operation – so much so it is aiming for China’s first Platinum LEED (Leadership in Environmental Energy Design) award for this type and size of resort. The naked Retreats brand first earned its eco design credentials in 2007 with a unique conservation project of refurbished traditional Chinese farmhouses in the same location but this newest offering allowed Yip to introduce a range of environmental innovations like high strength stabilised insulated rammed earth (SIRE) wall technology for the huts and clubhouse. The result is a winning blend of aesthetics and sustainability with significant levels of energy efficiency. The prefabricated
01 Room with a view 02 Terrace-side Jacuzzi 03 Sunset dining 04 Eco-interiors
The reserve’s local eco-education programmes play an important role in helping awareness
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lightweight wooden treetop villas are built of structural insulated panels that dramatically reduced waste and construction impact in the sensitive forested environment while creating a highly insulated building envelope for lower energy consumption. Meanwhile, the strong commitment to sustainability extended to the local community where local villagers were employed during construction, reviving fast disappearing traditional skills. The reserve’s local eco-education programmes also play an important role in helping to raise environmental awareness. The project’s modern Afro-Asian design aesthetic is equally novel in China, drawing on both co-owners nationalities and creating what Yip (who also acted as the project architect and master planner), describes as “a fusion of African hospitality;
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natural materials to create a strong Asian sense of place.” The unusual aesthetic also works particularly well with the nature reserve concept and a pool bar, outdoor infinity pools and hiking trails offer active outdoor pursuits.
Importantly, for the users – visitors from all over the world
The huts and a low-slung elegant clubhouse were built using contemporary SIRE (stabilised insulated rammed earth) wall technology: high strength modular rammed earth walls made from compressed mud with a small amount of white concrete creating distinctive coloured striations and delivering significant levels of energy efficiency. Meanwhile, the treetop villas provide a dramatic design contrast and are made from prefabricated lightweight wooden structures built of SIP (structural insulated panels), an innovative green technology that dramatically reduces waste as well as minimiing construction impact in this sensitive forested environment, all while creating a highly insulated building envelope that reduces energy consumption.
“Our main purpose was a return to nature so maintaining the natural environment around the resort was our first priority. The buildings are specially designed to minimise environmental impact and fit in with natural surrounds,” explains Yip, who brought in a team of international designers and engineers who understood her commitment to setting a new standard of comprehensive and integrated sustainable design at all levels of the project from master planning, water and energy efficiency to material selection, and indoor environmental quality.
a p p r o p r i a t e n e w t e c h n o log y
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- naked Stables demonstrates that ‘eco-friendly’ doesn’t mean compromising on pampering or style, indeed what it has done is to set this resort apart from other luxury retreats. While quietly ticking all the environmental boxes, the 121-room retreat delivers uncompromising luxury (think secluded rural-chic). The same level of attention has been paid to the facilities: Kikaboni (meaning ‘organic’ in Swahili), the resort’s main restaurant, serves Afro-Asian styled seasonal cuisine with items listed by ingredient rather than course and a beautifully designed contemporary spa wellness center; conference facilities; yoga and meditation pavilions; teahouse, fully-equipped equestrian center; and private butlers means getting back to eco-basics has never been easier – or so much fun.
Hangzhou Airport is 90 minutes away by car, Hangzhou train station is about 60 minutes drive. www.nakedretreats.cn [ L ]
05 Tranquil moments 06 Bamboo forests 07 Picture window
Over 100 villagers were employed during the construction phase: local craftsmen were hired to build traditional stone mud walls of compacted earth mixed with lime for the horse stables, activities center and multi-function hall, reviving an ancient rural craft in practice for over 10 centuries in China but which today is difficult to find (notably all the craftsmen were elderly, none of the younger villagers practice this craft). The vernacular mud walls contrast beautifully with the contemporary rammed earth hut walls. Local villagers were also hired to create miles of stone walls throughout the site as landscape and architectural elements, the same way their ancestors have built for centuries. - A gallery (built entirely of bamboo) showcases local bamboo products such as furniture, bamboo towels and linen, bamboo flooring used in the resort, and stylish bamboo accessories. There is also a museum exhibiting information about the project construction and design. - Natural compressed earth walls are strong and sustainable requiring no internal or external finishes and minimal maintenance. - Guests and local villagers hand pick and roast tea at naked Stables’ own on-site white tea plantation, regular tea tasting events provide information about the different types of tea and health benefits, and tea is available for sale. - Walking tours through the bamboo forest demonstrate how bamboo is grown and harvested.
HEAD Architecture and Design Limited
17/F, Casey Building, 38 Lok Ku Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, SAR Tel. (852) 2869-5725 Fax. (852) 2578-4230 email@example.com
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Panoramic Perspective by Sunseeker The new Sunseeker Predator 80
www.sunseeker.com Sunseeker Asia Limited Hong Kong - Tel: 852 3105 9693 Contact persons: Gordon Hui - 9127 6847 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Lek Lee Ann - 9125 6119 Email: email@example.com Website: www.sunseekerasia.com.hk China: Sunseeker Asia Limited Tel: 852 31059693 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org China (Hainan): Smooth Marine Equipment Ltd Tel: 86 898 8821 0933 E-Mail: email@example.com China (Fu Jian): Fu Jian C&D Yacht Co., Ltd Tel: 86 400 8855 789 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyprus: Char Pilakoutas (Sunseeker) Ltd Tel: 357 2466 6240 E-Mail: email@example.com India: Sunseeker India Tel: 91 832 272 0104 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Indonesia: Sunseeker Asia Limited Tel: 852 31059693 E-Mail: email@example.com Japan: Sunseeker Japan Ltd Tel: 813 4550 1537 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Korea: HwaChang Trading Co Ltd Tel: 82 2 7946 1111 E-Mail: email@example.com Malaysia: My Yacht Sale Sdn, Bhd. Tel: 603 6411 8338 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Maldives: Deep Blue Pvt. Ltd Tel: 960 664 4100
Philippines: Brenton International Ventures Manufacturing Corporation Tel: 63 9178 802 903 E-Mail: email@example.com Singapore: Sunseeker Asia Limited Tel: 852 3105 9693 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Thailand: Sunseeker Thailand Office Tel: 66 76 239 502 E-Mail: email@example.com Vietnam: Saigon Marina Co., Ltd. Tel: 84-8 744 2533 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org To visit Hong Kong boatshow 2012 â€“ http://www.sunseekerasia.com.hk Sunseeker designs and builds a range of 22 luxury motoryachts up to 54 metres