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autumn 2012

www.loft-asia.com

property | design | inspiration

[ rising star ]

ho chi minh’s property promise

[ boutique bangkok ]

bill bensley’s latest hotel – the siam

view point

vivienne tam on her new hotel icon suite

10

best hk restaurants by design HK $48


FOR SALE

Riversdale house

Riversdale

|

bourne end

|

england

magnificent riverside estate just 45 mins from central london Built in 1901, Riversdale House is a substantial countryside estate elegantly positioned within an acre of land, offering sweeping views across the River Thames and open countryside beyond. The house is approached from a private road through electric gates and down a gravelled driveway lined with mature trees. Riversdale House offers superb accommodation with glamorous reception rooms, impressive fireplaces and breathtaking river views. A new bespoke kitchen includes AGA cooker, Miele appliances and a walk-in refrigerator for large-scale catering or wine storage. Substantial terraces and conservatories surrounding the property provide superb entertaining spaces. On the first floor is a 29ft x 25ft media/ballroom, with separate entrance. A detached boathouse is located to the side of the 180ft of River Thames frontage and includes a delightful 992 sq.ft. selfcontained flat above.

n PRESTIGIOUS Country estate with direct River Thames frontage n 6,613 sq.ft. main house, 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms n 992 sq.ft. boat house accommodation with wet mooring for boats n neighbouring cottage and paddocks available by separate negotiation n Nearby towns Henley & Windsor, close to Eton & WYCOMBE ABBEY schools n JUST 25 miles west of central London (approx 45 minutes by car)

GBP 3,950,000 For more information contact: loft@infonation-asia.com Tel:+852 3620 3157


[ contents ]

02

contents

contributors 04 Foundations Facts, figures and finds from the property world 21

WATCH 90 TOWER

[ places ] HK$150m property compare What can your money buy across the globe? 26 rising star Ho Chi Minh’s property promise 30 samba surge Brazil emerges as an investment hotspot 34 mickey mouse prices Is now the time to bag a bargain in Florida? 38

[ faces ] secret agents Advice on property investment from industry experts 44 how i did it Converting a mill in the French countryside 48 vivienne tam The fashion designer on her new suite at Hotel ICON 52 made in china John Puttick of Make Architects talks to LOFT 55

52 55

VIVIENNE TAM

MADE IN CHINA

48 How

I did it


on the cover Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam at Hotel ICON

Letter from the Editor [ spACES ]

63

by design Beautifully designed products for the home 60 New & Noted Design hotels to fly for 63 design cities A focus on Tokyo 64

new and noted

raw inspiring Raoul Preller’s new loft apartment in Ap Lei Chau 66 four walls A look inside a beautifully renovated home 70 bangkok boutique Bill Bensley’s latest hotel – The Siam 74 top ten Hong Kong’s most impressive restaurant dining rooms 80 watch tower Shanghai’s oldest hotel gives design a new home 90 LOFT DIRECTORY Spaces, Faces and Places that inspired us this issue 96

26 HK$150m

property compare

T

he Olympics are over and it feels like the world is letting out a collective sigh. At LOFT though, we’re positive folk, so instead of getting reflective, we’re already dreaming of Rio – bring on 2016! We travelled to Brazil for this issue to find out whether the upcoming event is already shaping the property market; read our findings on page 34. The team also gained a few pounds over the last couple of months while researching for our Top Ten story, uncovering Hong Kong’s best dining rooms. Find our favourites on page 80, including Joyce Wang’s restaurant of the moment, AMMO alongside old favourites like the gloriously glamorous Caprice. Elsewhere in the issue, we’ve got Bill Bensley’s dazzling new Bangkok hotel, The Siam, a focus on Tokyo for our Design Cities series and of course our interview with the talented Vivienne Tam, designer of the dazzling new suite at the Hotel ICON. Enjoy!


04

the happy snapper

The new recruit gloria fung

rachael smith

Gloria spent the last five years writing about multi-million dollar homes, fine dining, watches and all things luxurious. She lives in Hong Kong but enjoys contemplating the possibilities of living all over the world. For this issue, she explores the different overseas properties showcasing at our PIE+S exhibition – see page 9 for the results.

Rachael Smith is a freelance photographer covering interiors, advertising and portraits for a variety of publications such as House and Garden and The Telegraph.Her broad-ranging style, and the artistic use of natural daylight in her images has lead to commissions worldwide. See her talent for yourself on page 70.

the loft regular 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 interviewed Vivienne Tam, the designer behind the newly unveiled suite at Hotel ICON.

The cool creative lianja salgado

the interiors expert victoria metcalf Victoria Metcalf is an interior stylist and writer, from London. Her business STYLE NV specialises in writing about beautiful and quirky homes, one of which we feature on page 68. She also makes crafts, styles homes for private clients and rants, raves and reviews on anything design related.

Our lovely new designer Lianja hails from Burgos in the North of Spain. She studied Fine Arts in Salamanca, before going to Valencia to study design. She has been living in Hong Kong for a matter of mere months, but she’s already found her favourite hangouts, which include Shek-O Beach and Stanley. For this issue, alongside her design role, she compiled our By Design feature on page 60.

LOFT

autumn 2012

Editor-in-chief Dominique Afacan dominique@infonation-asia.com | Editor Gloria Fung gloria@infonation-asia.com Art Director Sam Growdon sam@infonation-asia.com | Junior Designer Lianja Salgado lianja@infonation-asia.com Managing Director Roger Searl roger@infonation-asia.com | Membership Services Carrie Wan carrie@infonation-asia.com Partnerships Director Elizabeth Leung elizabeth@infonation-asia.com | Partnerships Director Jadie Rees jadie@infonation-asia.com Partnerships Director Katie Vajda katie@infonation-asia.com | Partnerships Manager Maggie Shiu maggie@infonation-asia.com 16/F Chao’s Building, 143-145 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Tel +852 3620 3157, Fax +852 2522 3068, www.infonation-asia.com For advertising enquiries, email sales@infonation-asia.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.

Sign up to our e-news: www.loft-asia.com Follow us www.twitter.com/LoftHK Become a fan at facebook.com/LoftHK


[ loft live | events ]

WHAT? LOFT and Mini WHEN? July 13th With its automatic soft-top and sporty styling, LOFT loves the new Mini Roadster so we were delighted to invite our readers to a special preview at the British auto icon’s showroom in Tsuen Wan. Guests were the first in Hong Kong to get a feel of the new convertible. With a penchant for great designs, the Mini Roadster was a hit with our auto-loving readers. [ L ]

Register for our e-newsletter at www.loft-asia.com


[ loft live | events ]

LOFT

autumn 2012


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Property investment exhibition + seminar preview 1st + 2nd September 2012

your guide to hong kong’s leading private property event 1st + 2nd September 2012 PIE+S selects the most compelling property investment opportunities from around the word, bringing them together for a full two-day exhibition and VIP seminar, exclusively for Millionaireasia members and LOFT readers – not open to the public. On the following pages we uncover some of the highlights of the exhibition, with more to view on the day. PIE+S creates a relaxed environment for you to meet the people behind the projects. Reserve your place today.

Don’t forget to reserve your place. RSVP@pies-asia.com or call +852 6064 5325.


Chuo Cheng Villa in Suzhou, China


Ming Dynasty villas in the heart of Suzhou, China The ultra-opulent Chuocheng Villa, situated next to UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Humble Administrator’s Garden, in Suzhou, China, offers homeowners the rare opportunity to own a unique collectable art piece. Ranging from 7,104 to as large as 43,040 sq. ft., each villa provides homeowners with all the essentials for luxury living such as private pools, separate multiple living rooms and an indoor garage for up to nine cars. The Ming-style villas each have a private garden, completed with pavilions and bridges connecting peaceful waterfalls and lakes. To recreate homes that echo the philosophy of Ming Dynasty architecture, Chuocheng Villa enlisted the help of Honorary Advisor Peggy Lam, sister of famed architect I.M. Pei and world-renowned landscaping and restoration experts, the Xiang Shan Bang, who are regarded for their restoration of the Forbidden City. Continuing 2500 years of history and heritage, the world’s finest and rarest materials such as century old Chinese fir and Jinshan stone were used to recreate the opulence and rarity of Ming Dynasty luxury homes. Named the most liveable city in China and the Venice of the East, the popular suburban getaway is conveniently located only an hour away from Shanghai. The government restrictions on villa projects makes Chuocheng Villa one of the most rare luxury developments in the world.

About Chuocheng Villa The project is adjacent to the iconic The Humble Administrator’s Garden, one of the four famous classical gardens in China dating back to the 1500s Each of the 28 villas ranges from 3,000 sq. ft. to 6,000 sq. ft. with a private garden


Baha Mar in The Bahamas


Luxury exclusive residences at Baha Mar Baha Mar, the cornerstone of The New Bahamian Riviera, will be one of the largest and most exclusive resort, gaming and entertainment complexes in the region. The 400-hectare, US$3.5 billion development is slated to open in December 2014 and will include world-class luxury hotel brands as well as The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. Within its four hotels will be 307 ultraluxurious residences available for private ownership. The dynamic luxury resort will also include various entertainment options and the largest convention facility of its kind in The Bahamas. A stunning new casino, luxury retail boutiques, art galleries, chefbranded restaurants and nightclubs will be among the main attractions at the resort. The planned 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course will be one of a select few such top-tier Nicklaus courses in the world, bringing a new, true championship course to The Bahamas.

About Baha Mar 307 luxury condos and villas will be available for private ownership Over 2,200 hotel rooms will be available to tourists across the resort’s various luxury hotel brands Entertainment facilities include a 9,000 sq. meter casino and 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course


LOFT

autumn 2012

[ spaces | no place like home ]

One Commercial Street in London


Penthouses with panoramic views over London One Commercial Street, the luxury apartments and penthouses by leading developer Redrow, are located in up-and-coming Aldgate a current investment hotspot. The development is in the heart of the city along the edge of the Square Mile and the fashionable City Fringe area including Brick Lane and Spitalfields. The 21-storey tower has a total of 133 suites of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, many of which have balconies with panoramic city views. Four three-bedroom penthouses are available. Ranging from 379 sq. ft. to 2,836 sq. ft., the apartments feature bespoke kitchens and luxurious bathrooms and living spaces.

Anticipated completion in 2014 Net internal floor areas excluding balconies or terraces range between 379 sq. ft. and 2, 836 sq. ft. Prices range from ÂŁ330,000 to ÂŁ985,000


LOFT

autumn 2012

[ spaces | no place like home ]

Samujana in Koh Samui


Premier villa estate with private secluded beach Perched on an incredible oceanfront hillside leading to its own secluded beach, Samujana is Koh Samui’s premier villa estate. Ideally located a few minutes from famed Chaweng and Choeng Mon beaches and ten minutes from the international airport, Samujana also enjoys 270-degree unobstructed views over The Gulf of Thailand. Amenities include designer kitchens, open-plan indoor/outdoor living areas, infinity pools, private cinemas, wine cellars, private gyms, poolside salas, and game rooms as well as a kids’ club, tennis court, spa and a 43’catamaran. A limited number of resale villas are available from the completed Phase 1 while construction of Phase 2 will be finished by the end of 2013, including six bespoke villas still available to buyers.

Situated in Koh Samui, the villa estate is only a few moments from Choeng Mon beach and ten minutes from the airport There are a total of 27 villas across the two phases of the development Villas feature four to eight rooms each with spectacular views of Ko Matlang Island


The private network


A special selection of the most coveted properties The Private Network presents a collection of confidential, exclusive and off-market opportunities from around the world. Presented by an inner circle network of world-class private capital groups, luxury brokers and developers, these exclusive opportunities are truly one-of-a-kind. Many of these offerings, including a Bordeaux chateau, Californian vineyards, luxury penthouses, villas and trophy estates from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, are being offered for the first time exclusively at PIE+S.

n Bordeaux Chateau and Vineyard This former historic inn has been rejuvenated into a quality wine production property with state-of-theart facilities and a beautiful contemporary home with guest facilities. n Lake Geneva Castle This off-market estate is an historic 20,000 sq. ft., 25room castle on one hectare situated in a quaint village overlooking Lake Geneva and only 20 minutes from the city centre. The castle is fully renovated with a mix of contemporary design and classical Swiss flair. n California Premium Vineyards Two Californian vineyards

exclusively unveiled at PIE+S. One includes a 6-star boutique spa hotel and the other a historic wine estate, bringing together one of the most successful winemaking teams in California, USA. n California Wine Country Estates A selection of off-market trophy residential and wine properties in California. From Napa to Sonoma, these properties make great homes and investments. n Aura The tallest residential project in North America, Aura is located in Toronto, Canada’s hottest property market. Penthouses from the top three floors are being offered to PIE+S visitors.

also to be revealed: n A private equity transaction involving recapitalisation of a 1,500 acre top-tier resort, including 2.5 miles of beachfront, four designer golf courses, and two world class hotel resorts with total recap value of US$100 million. n A 30 unit high-yielding residential property in a prime downtown area of a major US city and a key education hub. n A stake in a private equity commercial property repositioning transaction in mid-town New York City. n A high-yielding unit in fullbuilding renovation located in a fashionable area of downtown New York City. n A selection of hotel resorts with total value for recap of US$100 million.


21 [ foundations ]

foundations

Facts, figures and finds from the property world

HANS ON Announced winner of the Timber Vision Residential Exterior Award as LOFT went to press, HANS-House in Victoria, Australia has got the design community all excited. The bold timber container resting atop the ground floor responds directly to the spaces and materials used inside – creating a brilliantly unusual home with cool, angular attitude. Nice work M.O.D.O design!

UNTOUCHED THAILAND Few people have heard of Koh Kood, just an hour’s flight from Bangkok. All the more reason to snap up a property there, and they come no better than the Soneva Kiri Residences. Take your pick from a beach, cliff or hill villa, starting at HK$23m. If that doesn’t take your fancy, hold out for Soneva in Aqua, launching in 2013. It’s essentially a 19-metre Soneva resort on sea, designed for cruising the Maldives. LOFT likes! www.soneva.com

autumn 2012

feet

The height of The Shard in London, now Europe’s tallest building. It would need another 460 feet to make it into the world’s top ten.

LOFT

1,020


[ foundations ]

22

60

seconds with… Thomas Letourneux, Creative Director at Hong Kong design outfit Boutique. Boutique’s most talked about project was… a flat we renovated in Winsome Park on Conduit Road. It was

a relatively small flat and we completely changed its layout to fit our client’s needs. Most of the furniture inside was tailor made, using mainly unpolished wood and metal, which gave the flat a strong and unique look.

SIZE MATTERS The largest apartment in the whole of Barbados is up for sale, creating a once-in a-lifetime opportunity for investors. At 10,000 square feet, the property features six bedrooms, two plunge pools and a coveted address on the exclusive Platinum West Coast. As the Barbados market shows signs of great strength, with the luxury market on the island bucking the global trend, this property holds enormous potential for buyers. Time to invest in that island in the sun…. www.porticobarbados.com

Save the Date GLOBAL Appreciate the globe’s best builds: October 1st, World Architecture Day. www.worldarchitectureday2012.com ASIA Drool over the latest interiors: October 10-12th, 100% Design Singapore. www.100percentdesign.com.sg

LOFT

autumn 2012

AMERICA Celebrate female design talent: Until September 8th, Come in! Les Femmes, A+D Museum Los Angeles. www.aplusd.org LONDON Bring back the Olympics: Until September 22nd, Stadia: Sport and Vision in Architecture, Sir John Soane’s Museum. www.soane.org AUSTRALIA Learn about a new city: Until November 4th, Sydney Architecture Festival. www.sydneyarchitecturefestival.org

The project I personally most enjoyed was… The Canopy tower. We did this project in-house to show our dream vision for a Hong Kong residential building. The idea was to blur the boundaries between the “green Hong Kong” and the “concrete Hong Kong” by designing a tower that would incorporate a lot of greenery. We actually ended up generating quite a lot of buzz online with this project. If I wasn’t an interior designer I would… definitely be a craftsman, probably a carpenter. I spend way too much time on the computer dealing with emails and virtual images, I miss the physical feeling of transforming materials into a real product. I live in Hong Kong because… I love its energy. I used to live in Tokyo and even though it is an amazing and inspiring city, things can happen at a very slow pace. Thanks to its density and dynamism, Hong Kong is the perfect place for entrepreneurs. I am inspired by… a lot of different things and I tend to get bored of them very quickly! At the moment, I am interested in motion in design such as the work from British designer Thomas Heatherwick, one of his latest installations being the Olympic cauldron in London. www.boutique-design.com


23

The Economist Intelligent Unit’s latest Liveability Report added green space, sprawl, cultural assets and connectivity to the judging criteria, resulting in a very different outcome to previous years. Out went regular favourites Vancouver and Vienna and in came our very own Hong Kong, right at the top!

[ foundations ]

Eart h onomi c s

No.1

H ong Kong

No.2

A msterdam

No.3

O saka

No.4

Bar Bar black sheep Brit nightclub Boujis, a favourite haunt of London’s young royals, is coming to Hong Kong, opening in September. The interiors, combining traditional elements of Boujis’ British heritage with a more local flavour, are set to impress, created by Tim Mutton of UK firm Blacksheep. Boujis HK have also collaborated with some iconic and emerging British designers such as Timothy Oulton (for intricate lamps & British inspired accessories) and Thomas Pink to bring a touch of British debonair. Time to party in style… www.boujis.com

P ari s

No.5

S y dney

No.6

S toc khol m

GAME ON London grabbed the world’s attention as an exceptional Olympic host, and investors are now looking at the city with renewed interest. One development garnering much hype is Providence Tower, the latest and final building in the New Providence Wharf Estate, a high-end residential community located right next to Canary Wharf and fronting the Thames. Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the apartments enjoy soaring views across London as well as exclusive use of a Sky Terrace atop the tower, valet parking and a spa. Those still buzzing from the Games may also enjoy the on-site Athletic Club complete with boxing ring, test track and swimming pool. Time to get in training for Rio! www.joneslanglasalle.com.hk

No.7

B erl i n

No.8

T oronto

No.9

M u ni c h

autumn 2012

*source, Economist Intelligence Unit

LOFT

No.10

T oky o


places

Located in the prestigious Hayama area right along the coast, designed and developed by famed Japanese outfit Sakakura Atelier. Hayama Oceanfront Oasis - page 23

Local and international property investments


[ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]

26

HK$150m property compare Thailand, Japan or Hong Kong – where will you invest your next HK$150m?

LOFT

autumn 2012

Compiled by Dominique Afacan


27 [ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]

Japan Hayama Oceanfront Oasis It may look more like a property you’d find in Phuket or Bali, but this stunning 3-bed home is actually located in Japan, just 90 minutes from Tokyo. Inspired by the tranquil Aman Resorts, the property, in the prestigious Hayama area right along the coast, was designed and developed by famed Japanese outfit Sakakura Atelier. The home features a 20-metre infinity pool, a rooftop terrace, two wine cellars, BBQ facilities and a separate entrance for party guests! www.japan-sir.jp

LOFT

autumn 2012


[ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]

28

Hong Kong Eagle Ridge, Clearwater Bay Opt out of hectic city living with this gorgeous 3-bed pad in the New Territories. The garden house boasts a private pool, wood-decked balcony and a roof terrace, perfect for BBQs or entertaining friends. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout allow natural light to flood in, to take full advantage of the breathtaking views across Clearwater Bay.

LOFT

autumn 2012

www.hksothebysrealty.com


29 [ pLaces | HK$150m properties ]

Thailand Chiang Mai

This tranquil property is located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern Thailand. Designed by ‘starchitect’ Bill Bensley, it comprises seven main structures including living, dining, master bed, studio and three private guest pavilions. Each structure is made from recycled teak wood and the whole residence is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. www.sothebysrealtyphuket.com

LOFT

autumn 2012


LOFT

autumn 2012

[ places | ho chi minh ]

30


31 [ places | ho chi minh ]

Rising Star Why Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh is a smart property investment destination Words by Gavin du Venage

H

o Chi Minh City’s tallest skyscraper cuts a lonely figure as it looms over the chaos of the streets below, but it is a symbol of Vietnam’s stumbling entry into private property and the opportunity for investors to make money from real estate.

For some, the precarious fate of the Bitexco building is hardly a surprise, given just how recently Vietnam embraced property ownership, and the pent-up demand which fueled a speculative frenzy that could only end in a hard landing. With annual lending rates increased to more than 20 per cent last year to fight Asia’s highest inflation level, the booming property market in Ho Chi Minh City seized up and prices plummeted. Premium office rents have fallen from above $80 per square metre per month in 2007-2008 to below $30.

LOFT autumn

2012

Luciano Mortula / Shutterstock.com

The Bitexco Financial Tower, which officially opened two years ago, is 68 storeys high with its own helicopter landing pad – expedient in a city where the scooterclogged roads make commuting uncomfortable for even the very rich. Despite its glitz and opulence, the tower’s owners have been forced to deny rumours of bankruptcy and fend off whispers that the building remains half empty.


Hanoi Halong Bay

Hoi An

Ho Chi Minh City

Mekong Delta

vietnam Fact Box

LOFT

autumn 2012

Geography: Southeastern Asia, bordering Laos, China and Cambodia Capital: Hanoi Population: 91,519,289 (number 14 in the world) Median Age: 28 Climate: Tropical in south; monsoonal in north

Now, the city once known as Saigon is picking itself up, as it has many times in its hard-living past, and could present an attractive buy-in opportunity. The city is experiencing a stabilisation of residential real estate prices thanks to improving macroeconomic conditions. Vietnam’s slow recovery has continued in the second quarter of 2012, with the fight against inflation finally showing signs of succeeding. The year-on-year increase in the consumer price index in June was 6.3%, welcome in a country where inflation was at around 20% just three years ago. There is also firm evidence of prices stabilising or even declining, with three petroleum price cuts in May and June, further easing inflationary pressure. The central bank has responded by reducing its benchmark interest rate three times so far this year. “The majority of developers appear to believe that buyers will soon come back to the market and further reductions in property prices will not be necessary,” said Marc Townsend, managing director of the global property services firm CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam). “While we are not out of the woods yet, we believe we’re now heading in the right direction. It seems that buyers have finally stopped hiding and are now scouring the opportunities that present themselves,” he said.


[ places | ho chi minh ]

Unlike the capital Hanoi in the north, Ho Chi Minh has had to fend for itself in the long years since the triumphant Viet Cong drove out the American backed government. While the north was rewarded with disproportionate investment and benefitted from its proximity to China, the former capital of the south was neglected. It was saved from becoming a backwater by a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that survived decades of command economy control and is today rapidly becoming one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing cities. In spite of a still quirky approach to modern economics, the government allows foreigners to rent out properties, even those they lease. It is precisely the chaotic economic environment that could work for the brave investor. The perception that prices cannot fall any further following the hard correction in property prices is adding impetus to the trend. The country’s rising fortunes are also aided by its proximity to the big gorilla in the region – China. Vietnam’s trailing of the rest of the Asian tigers is even contributing to its success. It is increasingly seen as an alternative to regional countries, including China, for manufacturing. Even in spite of the periodic bouts of inflation, costs remain significantly below its rivals. This is bringing in a steady influx of cash, and expatriate professionals who need a place to live. The Vietnamese Diaspora too, many of whom are educated and moneyed, are returning to their motherland and they too are demanding first-world accommodation. Many though, would settle for something a little more ‘local’. For reasons not entirely clear – tax laws are usually blamed – the overwhelming architectural style in Ho Chi Minh city is for tall, narrow buildings that appear stacked up against each other like slices of toast at a budget breakfast buffet. Most are residential from the first floor up, but ground level is given over to every kind of commerce imaginable, from chicken slaughtering to a beer hall. Frequently property owners let out the lowest level to help keep cover costs, and if needs be, rent out several other floors for accommodation. Painted in clashing colours, they are utilitarian but comfortable. Traces of French colonial influence remain with the occasional flourish of a gable or a drooping eve. If you ignore the spaghetti of wires and electric cables that hang dangerously across the streets, often drooping onto balconies or across window frames, they have a charm that is timeless.

autumn 2012

The high rise density and frenetic pace of living in Ho Chi Minh is also creating demand for bolt holes away from the city. This market is still relatively untapped with demand higher than supply. The segment of newly monied population that is seeking better quality products such as second homes and luxury homes is growing exponentially as the people’s purchasing power rises.

LOFT

Traces of French colonial influence remain with the occasional flourish of a gable or a drooping eve

33


[ places | samba surge ]

34

Brazil’s emerging economy has plenty to shout about Words by David Evans

O

LOFT

autumn 2012

ver the next five years Brazil will cement its place as the global party capital as it plays host to the next Olympics and upcoming football World Cup. The emerging economy is already home to the famous Rio carnival whose samba beats and colourful costumes attract tourists from around the world. Of the BRIC countries (that’s Brazil, Russia, India and China) it’s attracting the most attention from investors. Its booming economy, burgeoning middle class and cheap money has witnessed an explosion in the value of real estate.


35 [ places | samba surge ]

FACT

LOFT autumn

Foreigners can purchase land and property in Brazil in their own names on a 100 per cent freehold basis

2012


[ places | samba surge ]

36

Belem

Porto Velho Salvador Brasilia

Sao Paulo Rio de Janeiro Florianopolis Porto Alegre

brazil Fact Box Geography: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean Capital: Brasilia Population: 205,716,890 (number 5 in the world) Median Age: 29 Climate: Mostly tropical, temperate in south

LOFT

autumn 2012

Prices of high-end residential property in the country’s business capital Sao Paolo and coastal city of Rio de Janeiro have increased more than 20% year on year and show little signs of slowing. There are concerns over a property bubble, yet most believe any correction would be subtle rather than dramatic. But with billions of dollars being pumped into infrastructure projects over the next few years in preparation for two of the world’s most spectacular sporting events, any significant correction in the value of real estate is unlikely to occur before the end of 2017, say analysts. All this spells good news for overseas investors looking for real estate opportunities outside the mature markets of the west or China’s overheated property sector. The National Development Bank has already announced it will finance the construction and remodelling of several stadiums in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and has allocated US$230 million per stadium. Chief of Staff to the Brazilian Presidency, Minister Dilma Rousseff, said the federal government has held meetings with every state and host city to assess the need for investment in stadiums, urban transport, as well as airport and port infrastructure.

“A number of projects will be financed nearing R$5 billion (US$2.9 billion). We are evaluating every project proposed by the World Cup host cities,” said Mr. Rousseff. In addition, the Brazilian Olympic Committee plans on spending approximately US$17 billion improving infrastructure such as roadways, universities and hospitals, and adding new residential tourism units to accommodate the wave of people who will be visiting. According to the Federal Union (Brazilian Government) this will generate approximately US$51 billion in business. With Latin America’s largest economy growing at its fastest pace in almost three decades and an expanding middle class

taking out loans and mortgages at a record pace, real estate prices are soaring. Yet while the debate continues as to whether a real-estate bubble is fit to burst or is already gently deflating, property prices remain relatively low when compared to those in mature markets such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York or London. According to Ibope Intelligence – the country’s largest market intelligence firm, in April 2011 the average price of new properties in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro’s most expensive district, was US$8,212 per square metre while the price of existing properties in the same district was US$7,646. In Jardim Paulista, Sao Paolo’s most expensive district, the average prices of new


37 [ places | samba surge ]

of the two sporting events and Brazil’s increasing attraction as a tourist destination, the government of the time established a Ministry of Tourism in 2003. Since then hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the country with the target to increase tourism over the next few years making property investment an attractive option. “With regards to real estate, it’s never going to be an exact science to predict the impact of a World Cup on the property market, but it can only be positive,” said Samantha Gore, sales manager for Natalbased real estate specialist uv10.com. “In 2004, FIFA selected South Africa as the first African nation to host the World Cup finals. In 2005 real estate prices in South Africa rose by a significant 35% and, whilst it can’t take all the credit, the prospect of staging a global sporting event in 2010 was a major driver.

and existing properties were US$5,747 and US$4,385 per square metre respectively. Since then prices have risen massively with the Fipe Research Foundation revealing that over the last twelve months, the average price per square metre of residential property went up by 21.8 per cent. International property firm Savills is currently marketing a renovated 260 square metre luxury property in Ipanema for US$5.2 million, while LPS Real Estate is promoting new commercial office space in Sao Paolo for US$3,900 per square metre for spaces up to 184 square metre.

Hoping to capitalise on the popularity

The Brazilian Olympic Committee plans on spending US$17 billion on improving infrastructure

“We’re already seeing many more pure investors who are taking Brazil’s local market very seriously indeed and see the forced improvements in infrastructure as an extremely good thing as they make Brazil much more accessible to visitors – improvements that will continue as Brazil gears up for the Olympics in 2016.”

autumn 2012

“There are structural factors in place to justify such a strong performance. A sharp fall in prices in 2012 is very unlikely,” Paulo Cesar das Neves, an analyst for the local research firm LCA told online new channel Propertywire.

Speaking to Forbes magazine at the end of last year, Marcus Vinicius de Oliveira, executive director of real estate valuation firm Consul Patrimonial, said ‘There’s a psychological margin that Brazil real estate enjoys at the moment due to the oil discoveries off the coast of Rio, the World Cup and the Olympics, which makes Brazil very attractive to foreign investors at the moment. But after 2017, Brazil will still have its oil discoveries, but the World Cup and Olympics will be done with and foreign investment into Brazil will slow as a result.’

FACT

LOFT

A recent Reuters poll of banks, research groups and business associations predicted more modest growth of around 5 to 10% for 2012 and ruled out a sharp downturn.

While Rio and Sao Paulo remain the top tier cities for attracting investment, the World Cup is helping direct attention to several second tier cities, including the coastal towns of Fortaleza, Salvador, Natal and Curitiba. Commentators suggest there are bargains to be had in these cities as the government begins pumping money into development ahead of their hosting the World Cup games.


LOFT

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[ places | mickey mouse prices ]

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ORLANDO

TAMPA

MIAMI


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Mouse

[ places | Mickey mouse prices ]

Mickey

prices

We’ve all heard the tales of bargains to be had in Florida following the property crash, but with demand soaring, is now the time to bag a bargain? Words by Marc Da Silva

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alk to any real estate agent or house builder in Florida and they will tell you that the property sector is bracing itself for a new round of frenzied buying, with plane-loads of bargainhunting holiday homebuyers and investors arriving to exploit the fragile state of the market and secure cheap properties. Only five years ago, Florida was a global property hotspot. House building levels in major metropolitan areas like Orlando, Tampa and Miami were at a record high to meet strong national and international demand from homebuyers, spurred on by easy access to credit. Today the climate has changed, dramatically. Triggered by the collapse of the USA’s sub-prime mortgage sector, the market in Florida was hit hard. Prices plummeted by up to 75%, on the back of a severe housing glut, as housing demand waned. However, a closer look at the market suggests that conditions are now improving.

In June of this year, there were 112,365 homes for sale in Florida, down 31% from the previous year, culminating in a housing shortage in some areas. Data provided by Florida REALTORS show it would take six months for the market to absorb current inventory – down from 10 months a year ago. Al Horrigan of RSVP Real Estate commented: “Currently, there is

The hike in demand is unsurprising when looking at some of the attractively priced properties available. For example, two-bedroom condominiums at Coldwell Banker Feltrim’s Tuscana resort, located near Disneyland in Orlando, were recently on the market from just US$89,900, down from the original asking price of US$360,000 four years ago.

Florida for less Typically, you get much more for your money in Florida, than in many other parts of the country, with household purchasing power now at an historic high, based on the median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rates. “For those with good credit, we’ve never seen better housing affordability conditions than we see at present,” said National Association of Realtors President Moe Veissi. But tight mortgage lending conditions are preventing many would-be homebuyers from purchasing property, forcing them to rent instead. Greater demand from tenants has pushed rental values higher across much of Florida; an attractive proposition for investors. This has helped to boost housing activity as some landlords achieve 10%+ rental yields.

LOFT LOFT summer autumn2012 2012

Housing supply

a strong resurgence in unit sales and prices are improving, due to short supply.”


[ places | mickey mouse prices ]

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This home in St Cloud sold in July 2012 for US$96,000 against a guide price of US$91,000

Orlando Orlando drew a record-breaking 55.1 million visitors last year, making it one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations. A combination of family fun, top-quality golf courses, low-cost of living, and an array of theme parks, including Disneyland, also makes it one of the most popular places to buy property. Gary Kenny, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Feltrim, said: “Central Florida is now attracting buyers from all over the globe, including South America, China, Canada and the UK. There are few places in the world, let alone the US, that give such great value for money right now.” Data from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA) show that the average price of existing homes increased by 15.7% in the first half of 2012, from US$108,000 to US$125,000.

Five-bed detached home in Orlando. Asking price is US$999,500. Coldwell Banker Feltrim - www.cbfeltrim.com

The core property markets in Orange and Seminole counties are performing particularly well, along with high-end markets in Dr Phillips, Bay Hill and Windermere.

Tampa At an average price of US$100,000, homes in Tampa are relatively cheap. A recent CNN report suggested that prices could increase up to about US$150,000 by 2015, supported by a strong economy. However, 50% growth over the next three years seems rather optimistic.

Miami From luxury seafront houses to contemporary high-rise apartments, Miami, most popular with South American buyers, is home to some of the finest properties in the USA.

LOFT

autumn 2012

Property sales in Miami set a new record in 2011, exceeding transaction levels during the height of the real estate boom in 2005, helping to push values higher. The Miami Association of Realtors (MAR) report that that the average sales price of condominiums in Miami Dade County, for example, increased by 34% in June 2012 to US$160,000 compared to a year earlier. Wherever you buy, careful research is essential, because there are lots of homes in areas where the local economy is suffering,

The Palms Club, Orlando. From US$84,900. Torcana – www.torcana.com


the population is decreasing and crime and unemployment are high. Buyers should also not ignore the fact that the banks still have considerable amounts of foreclosed properties on their books which are being drip-fed onto the open market. “If the banks were ever forced to dump large amounts of property on the open market in a short period of time it would cause a lot of turbulence, but I don’t see that happening,” Colin Murphy of Torcana remarked.

05

Overall, the underlying fundamentals of what made people want to own a property in Florida have not changed. Furthermore, the state’s population is expected to grow from around 18.5 million today up to 27 million by 2030, which would place greater pressure on housing demand.

running out of reasons not to buy. [ L ]

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Cobblestone at Eagle Harbor, Jacksonville, Florida. Condos available from US$67,400. Torcana – www.torcana.com

Those selling property in Florida will always say that now is the right time to buy. However, it seems that Florida is bouncing back. So if you love the combination of good weather, healthy lifestyle and potentially good investment potential, you are fast

LOFT

“We are at the start of a new cycle in Florida,” added Murphy. “There has never been a better or a safer time to invest in this market.”

[ places | mickey mouse prices ]

Residences at Turnbull Bay near Florida´s Atlantic coast. From US$129,900. Torcana – www.torcana.com

There are few places in the world, let alone the US that offer such value for money right now

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faces “I always wanted to work for myself, so I registered my office straight after graduation.� John Puttick - page 23

Interviews, profiles and people


[ Faces | secret agents ]

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01

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head of research for Greater China at Knight Frank

MD of HK Sotheby’s International Realty

chief executive of Okay.com

Thomas Lam

Samson Law

secret Agents Three local experts give their opinion on Hong Kong’s news-grabbing luxury property market Interviews by Nicky Burridge

LOFT

autumn 2012

Rents on luxury properties have fallen by 7.5% during the first half of 2012, partly due to a fall in the number of expat hires. How are sales prices in the sector holding up? Thomas Lam (TL): Prices have remained resilient, rising by more than 1% last month. The luxury market even reported a number of record-breaking sales, including a house in Villa BelAir, Pokfulam, which sold for HK$310 million – the highest ever price in the development. Samson Law (SL): Rentals for luxury properties have rebounded and are now more expensive than last year. Sales prices are holding up due to limited supply, although buyers are hesitant to buy at current price levels and transaction volumes have reduced. Joshua Miller (JM): According to the government’s statistics, sales prices for luxury properties on Hong Kong Island fell 12% in the first 5 months of 2012. Overall we’ve seen the luxury market decline somewhat in price in 2012, but increase in volume.

Joshua Miller


45 [ Faces | secret agents ]

LOFT

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How much are luxury developments currently selling for and is now a good time to buy? TL: Prices for luxury homes are averaging HK$21,883 per sq ft, rising to HK$23,667 per sq ft on the Peak. Prices are higher than the previous peak in early 2008. SL: Luxury properties are breaking records set a few years ago. However, there is no reason for the market to climb sharply as the current administration is determined to increase land supply. If interest rates remain low and there are no catastrophic incidents in major economies, the market should not fall drastically. JM: New developments are the natural market reaction to excess demand, and are likely to help temper prices in a healthy manner. Prices per square foot range enormously, from HK$10,000 per sq ft to over HK$100,000 per sq ft for ultra luxury properties. Most are between HK$20,000 to HK$45,000 per sq ft, depending on the unit.

Are buyers in the Hong Kong market more easily swayed by gimmicks, such as TVs in the bathrooms, than buyers in other markets? What factors should buyers look for in a luxury property? TL: Buyers should look for location, unit size, layout and quality, and the environment around the property. 01

LOFT

autumn 2012

If interest rates remain low and there are no catastrophic incidents in major economies, the market should not fall drastically

SL: Location is the primary factor. New flats on Hong Kong Island always command a premium. It seems the general public is receptive to all marketing gimmicks. Since land is at a premium in Hong Kong, developers can only compete on design, facilities and amenities, services, and ‘gimmicks’. JM: Purchasers in HK are generally quite sophisticated and enjoy a tremendous amount of choice, so, if anything, I would argue that the gimmicks hold less sway here than in other markets.

Who are the main buyers of luxury properties in Hong Kong? TL: Properties in traditional luxury areas, such as the Peak, are bought mainly by locals, with mainland buyers opting for emerging luxury districts, such as West Kowloon. Mainland buyers account for about 30% of all luxury residential sales. SL: Mainlanders account for 15% to 30% of the purchases of primary stocks. Hong Kong investors are also active in snapping up properties if they are priced reasonably. JM: Buyers remain very diverse and are not dominated by mainland purchasers as is often glamorised in the headlines. The majority of purchasers are local Hong Kong and longer-term expatriates.

Price growth for luxury properties reportedly slowed to 4.6% during 2011. How do you expect the market to perform during the coming year? TL: We believe home prices and rents will both fall during the remainder of the year, but at modest rates. SL: The luxury market will outperform the general market because of demand from wealthy individuals from China, as well as the limited supply in traditional luxury housing districts.


47 [ Faces | secret agents ]

02

JM: I believe the market has seen a healthy consolidation thus far this year, and will see moderate growth in the coming months. The luxury market should modestly outperform the broader market in terms of price appreciation.

03

What are the main risks to the luxury property market? TL: The risk of slow economic growth in China and across the globe persists. But future supply remains low, with only around 619 luxury units due to be completed each year in 2012 and 2013. Interest rates remain low, and China’s economy is likely to rebound in the second half, which would boost mainland buyers’ financial position, as well as confidence. SL: Hong Kong is an open economy. Most external turmoil will affect the Hong Kong property market. If the European sovereign debt crisis escalates, the market will of course be affected. But I am confident it will always bounce back. Government intervention could have a large impact on dampening demand. JM: Beyond the obvious risks of a global financial meltdown and a specific slowdown in China’s economy, I feel the biggest risk is further change in government policies, such as the changes in mortgage restrictions and stamp duty seen over the last 18 months.

What luxury properties do you think should grab buyers’ attention?

autumn 2012

JM: Grenville House, Magazine Gap Road, Mid-Levels, 3,700 sq ft, price HK$100 million. And Villa Bel-Air, Island South, 5,500 sq ft, HK$220 million. [ L ]

02 & 03 Kennedy Park

LOFT

TL: Major new luxury developments currently on sale include Kennedy Park at Central, and the Signature in Tai Hang, which has prices of up to HK$32,120 per sq ft. An upcoming project is Twelve Peaks, on the Peak, which consists of 12 house with prices of HK$70,000 per sq ft.

01 Villa Rosa


LOFT

autumn 2012

[ faces | heather morrison ]

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South African-born Heather Morrison talks to LOFT about the ups and downs of buying and renovating a 17th-century mill in France Interview by Sam Growdon

What attracted you to buying a property in France? As children, my brothers and I were lucky enough to travel to France with my parents every year. We visited various regions, so I had a good general knowledge of the country and its people and had made a few good friends there. From those holidays, I think I fell in love with the country and always dreamt of owning a property there.

What were the first changes you made to it? We moved into the house in December 2000 and it just happened to be the coldest winter that the area had experienced in 25 years. Being South Africans, we had a lot to learn about the cold, ice and heating systems! We had left the mill for two months to return to South Africa and were told to drain

autumn 2012

What condition was it in when you bought it? As this was an emotional purchase for me, there were many things that I didn’t notice on first glance. I didn’t even know that there were two more rooms underneath the house! After being

there a few days we realised that a lot of the basics were not working properly, such as electrical wiring and plumbing. Luckily for us, my husband Rad Dougall is a real Jack-of-all-trades; he can do plumbing, electrics and heating as well as masonry work and I am a frustrated decorator, so we make a good team!

LOFT

How did you find the mill? I looked up some property agents in the back of a magazine dedicated to France, contacted them, and a few months later found myself looking at properties in the Dordogne. I liked the

unique architecture and creamy gold stone the area offered and the quaint villages and castles dotted around the lush green countryside – a total contrast to what we were used to in South Africa. After looking at about seven different properties in this area we arrived at ‘Moulin de Malecoste.’ The very first time I walked into the house I felt like I was home. Within 48 hours I had made an offer and had it accepted.

[ faces | heather morrison ]

How i did it

My husband is a real Jack-of-all -trades and I am a frustrated decorator so we’re a good team!

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[ faces | heather morrison ]

50

all the pipes and turn the water off. The problem came when the water department came to the house to do a repair and seeing that there were workman around doing various jobs they decided to leave the water flowing through the pipes. Ice formed in the copper pipes, bursting them and subsequently caused water leaks all over the house. So the first job we were forced to make was replacing all the water pipes.

Did you make any changes to the outside of the house? Ancient houses are protected in France and therefore one cannot change the outside of a house without permission. The first step in this process is to ask permission from the local mayor. This process is usually done verbally and without any fuss, however, it’s always advisable to get to know the mayor and keep him on your side. If you have major renovations, for instance changing an out building into a dwelling, as we did to our barn, it is necessary to submit plans to the local authorities for planning permission.

You turned the barn into two gites (apartments). What was the idea behind this? The barn was a double volume space

01

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02

03


How did you approach the interior design of the gites? The interior design of the house and the barn apartments was the easiest bit of the whole project probably because I enjoyed it the most. I sourced 80 per cent of the furniture and fittings in South Africa and then shipped over two 40ft containers. I found that this really was the best way, firstly, as I had more time at home and I knew exactly where to source all the goods, plus it was 20-30 per cent cheaper than in France, even with the cost of shipping.

How easy is it to find artisans in the area? It’s a challenge to find skilled stone masons and carpenters and the talented ones tend to pick and choose who they want to work with and work within their own deadlines. We very soon learned that a job that should probably take two months will take two years because in the French countryside there is no hurry and certainly no stress!

And communicating in French? I speak a little but it wasn’t enough to communicate proficiently so we chose an English speaking building company to do most of the big jobs. This way the builder was in control of the whole

project as he would employ local masons, carpenters, electricians and plumbers and deal with them directly. We also very quickly learnt that the expression “á demain” [see you tomorrow] doesn’t necessarily mean the next day, it could mean until tomorrow in the year 2015 or 2020!

Would you do anything differently if you had to do it again? We’ve been really lucky that everything has turned out well considering we didn’t look at the property as closely as we should have. The whole purchase and renovation could have been a disaster because of the lack of preparation. I would probably do more research before making a purchase if I could do it all again. [ L ] Le Moulin de Malecoste, Cazillac, France T +33 684651081 info@lemoulin-lot.com www.lemoulin-lot.com

The Price List

02 One of the rooms beneath the house 03 Gite main bedroom 04 Juliette balcony off the gites

Initial cost of the property was approx. HK$2.6m Main house renovations approx. HK$1.7m Gites 1 Approx. HK$1m Gites 2 Approx. HK$1m

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01 Sitting room and fireplace

LOFT

It’s always advisable to get to know the local mayor and keep him on your side

04

of about 150 sq.m. and we realised we could have an apartment on either end as well as keeping a barn space in the middle, the idea being that we could then generate an income during the summer by renting them out. We started in 2006 and had our first rental in July 2010.


[ faces | Vivienne Tam ]

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I never just accept it when people say you can’t do this or that. Sometimes you have to insist on what you have in your mind. The fashion designer, Vivienne Tam on her eponymous suite at Hotel ICON Words by Catherine Shaw

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LOFT

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ince it opened in late 2011, Hotel ICON, an audacious combination of five-star luxury hotel and hospitality training facility has won a clutch of awards for its unerring style and quality of service. A star-studded team of local and international designers were commissioned to translate the concept of an iconic Hong Kong hotel into reality with innovative interiors by Hong Kongbased architect and artist William Lim; refreshingly chic branding by local graphic artist Tommy Li; and a stellar art collection curated by Hong Kong artist Freeman Lau. In June this year the hotel added to the all-star cast when it launched its 80 square metre premier suite on the 27th floor – one of three prototype rooms intended for experimenting with creative ideas – created by renowned fashion designer Vivienne Tam. Born in Canton, China, Tam moved to Hong Kong when she was three years old. After graduating from Hong Kong PolyU, Tam moved to New York where she launched her signature East-meets-West style and controversial “Mao” Collection (now incorporated into the permanent archives of the Andy Warhol Museum in

have always been fascinated by decorating. I love textiles and materials and how the way you create different patterns or combinations has exciting results. When PolyU asked me to design the suite I knew it was something I would love to do but that it would also be a good way for me to give something back to the school that nurtured my interest in fashion design.

Pittsburgh, PA and the Museum of FIT in New York City). Nearly two decades on Tam’s creativity and sense of excitement is as infectious as ever as LOFT discovered when we met to talk with the designer about the inspiration behind her ‘Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam.’ What made you take on this project? It is something that I have been thinking about for a long time. Apart from fashion I

How much design freedom did you have? I was given a free reign, although I had to convince the hotel about not having blinds or curtains in the living room and bathroom. Why would you cover such a wonderful view? I never just accept it when people say you can’t do this or that. When I published my book, I was told that I couldn’t use a red colour but sometimes you have to insist on what you have in your mind. That is what makes it exciting. I want guests to have a sense of something different to where they usually stay. Hotel rooms are all the same. I wanted to create something that would be a home-awayfrom-home. I also wanted to clear away many of the things people don’t really need in a hotel room like all those drawers and cupboards that you never use.


53 [ faces | Vivienne Tam ]

What is it about the suite that sets it apart? I want people to come in and enjoy it so much they want to touch everything like the ‘Ploum’ red sofa [by Bouroullec Brothers] or the smooth Japanese cherry wood coffee table. The different textures like marble and wood are exciting. I wanted to create a space where guests feel joy and comfort with a special sense of space and light. Even details like hinges or the way doors go all the way up to the ceiling are designed to create space. This is what is very important. I’ve also tried to make the space very personal. Even the books are from my own collection, so it is like a personal library in the suite.

I wanted to create something that would be a home-awayfrom-home

like flowers and they, together with the rich wood and marble, make you feel like nature is close – like you are in a garden. How has your style changed? Style is always evolving; it depends on the time and the moment. Even this room is evolving. I hope in a few years it’s different. Where do you get your inspiration? I love travelling, especially to places like India and ethnic minority places in China. Inspiration can come from anywhere. My last spring collection was inspired by Japanese gardens while another collection was inspired by Shangri-La. I also love art books and exhibitions. Would you like to design more interiors? I’d love to design an entire hotel from start to finish – the whole concept. That would be really exciting. I’d also love to investigate a new modern way of Chinese contemporary living. The Chinese are always looking to a western way of living and have forgotten about their own beautiful culture. I’d like to explore how to make it modern in a relevant way. [ L ]

What is your favourite element in the suite? The openness, materials and the warmth. The colour of the sofa and the lamp are

17 Science Museum Road, East Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, +852 3400 1688, www.hotel-icon.com.

autumn 2012

How would you describe your concept? The harbour view is an original artwork so I laid out the bath and bedroom to give as much space as possible for the living room to maximise that view of Hong Kong. Incorporating feng shui is a natural

What do you dislike most in a hotel? I think people are now looking for a more personal style and experience. I especially don’t like the standard bathroom; I want one that is open and light. I also see a lot of hotels using chrome which I don’t like. I also avoided using a lot of plastics and metals. I really don’t like when hotels put a television right on top of the desk. Of course in a small room you don’t have a lot of choice but at the very least you should avoid having a television right opposite you when you are in bed.

LOFT

Tell us about the art work you’ve selected. The art is not necessarily from a named artist. For example, the porcelain plaque is from my home in New York. I chose it because it is beautiful and just works here. An interior designer recently asked me who the artist is and I replied, ‘Nobody’. The ‘Opera Girl’, a portrait made of Swarovski crystals was specially created for the bedroom and goes well with the red velvet carpet and purple bed.

part of whatever I do so here it was not a conscious effort for me. It is all about a natural flow of energy.


55 [ faces | john puttick ]

Made in china

John Puttick takes time out from running the show at Make Architects in Beijing to speak to LOFT Interview by Dominique Afacan

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ormer Foster & Partners bigwig Ken Shuttleworth set up Make Architects back in 2004. The company quickly cemented itself as a world leader in the creation of complex and iconic buildings – many of them award-winning. In 2008 John Puttick moved from Make’s London office, where he had been instrumental on the 55 Baker Street project, to Beijing – where he heads up the company’s China operation. LOFT

autumn 2012

Tell us about the new Weihai Pavilion. Weihai Pavilion is the first project we have completed in China. It’s a huge exhibition space for a new high-end residential development planned for the island. The key thing about the Weihai Pavilion is that it is built on a spectacular curved site that sits on a headland and opens out to the sea. The site has very strong natural characteristics that


[ faces | john puttick ]

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03

shaped the building design. We wanted a building that responded to the landscape and took in the expansive views. The building faces out-to-sea with the main glass wall facing south-east, to maximise natural light from the morning sun, while protecting the interior space from the hot, western sun in the afternoon. The over-sailing roof gives the building its striking form, and provides shaded coverage for the building and terrace. These elements ensure a more energy efficient building. What were the main positives and negatives about doing a project in China? In comparison to many other countries, there are currently many large projects in China. There is also a certain momentum, as Chinese cities expand through urbanisation. I find the scale and complexity

LOFT

autumn 2012

In Beijing, I see a great level of awareness and enthusiasm for design and architecture. I believe China is one of the most exciting places to be an architect now since it is constantly changing

of projects here very exciting. In Beijing, I see a great level of awareness and enthusiasm for design and architecture. I believe China is one of the most exciting places to be an architect now since it is constantly changing. I want to be part of this change. As China has developed so quickly, there is also now a complex debate about raising the standards of living and balancing that with conserving the cultural heritage of cities. Some of our projects come face-to-face with this issue, and we are putting care into how we respond with sensitive designs.


57 [ faces | john puttick ]

So how is sustainability treated in China? Is Make setting new standards? Awareness is strong, but the main challenge is implementation. It will be exciting to see how this knowledge in the community is translated into actual buildings. That’s part of what Make is trying to achieve: to apply the knowledge we gained in the UK, where environmental regulations have been strong for some time, in China. Being in China enables us to see projects from the beginning to construction to completion, because this is the only way you can really assess how sustainable a building is. China is making steps towards improving sustainability. I hope that over the next few years it will move from the current situation – with a few ‘showcase’ low-energy projects – to one where consideration of the environment becomes the norm.

did with 55 Baker Street in London. [ L ]

The Making of Make What really differentiates us from other firms is that we are a 100% employee owned company, which means that all of us are effectively partners. Our unique company structure plays a big role in encouraging the kind of exciting and open work environment that helps us attract and keep the very best architectural talent. This philosophy influences our design process and approach. It has created an environment where everyone is able to contribute ideas – the office is very dynamic.

2012

What other mainland projects do you have in the pipeline? We have designed a Grade-A office tower in Chengdu for Swire Properties and Sino-Ocean Land called Pinnacle One, which is currently under construction.

Do you plan to do any projects in Hong Kong? what is your take on Hong Kong architecture? Yes, we are onsite in Hong Kong. As a city, Hong Kong is really remarkable because of the combination of the dramatic natural landscape on one hand and high urban density on the other. I have many favourite buildings in Hong Kong. However, generally, Hong Kong could do with more creative solutions for addressing the urban density, especially in residential and commercial buildings as they make up so much of the city’s fabric. Also, inventive reuse of existing buildings could be considered more often in Hong Kong – which again helps with sustainability – as we

LOFT autumn

Which Chinese architects do you admire? With the first Chinese architect, Wang Shu, winning the Pritzker Prize this year, the spotlight is definitely on the design capabilities of local Chinese architects. I have observed that in Beijing in particular, there is an interesting set of emerging design architects that are creative and are keen to push the boundaries. We have also noticed a number of talented local Chinese architects who are returning to China after gaining experience overseas.

The building is a 47-storey structure that stands at 200-metre high, and we hope it will be a very elegant addition to the skyline.


G IN LL W SE NO • Located in Zone 1, just above Aldgate East London tube station (District Line and Hammersmith & City Line) - Collection of luxurious studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments on the 20th floor • Walking distance to Lloyds, Stock Exchange, Bank of England, St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), Tower 42 • Crossrail connection at Whitechapel station due 2018 (one stop from Aldgate East station) • S trong rental demand from the city’s 340,000 working population • 24 hour concierge and CCTV monitoring • 135 year lease • Anticipated completion from Spring 2014

Property Investment Exhibition + Seminar 1 & 2 Sept 2012 (Sat & Sun) The Residences, Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong 12:00pm – 7:00pm (Sat) 11:00am – 5:00pm (Sun)

Actual view photography from The City Collection apartments on the 20th floor at One Commercial Street. Developer:

Selling agent: Colliers International Agency Limited 5701 Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road Wanchai, Hong Kong T: 852 2822 0743 F: 852 2918 1022 www.colliers.com

http://www.colliersresidential.com/3111

Rosaline Lam

Gareth Hart

rosaline.lam@colliers.com

gareth.hart@colliers.com

852 2822 0630

852 2822 0670

Judy Lam

Andrea Cassandro

judy.c.lam@colliers.com

andrea.cassandro@colliers.com

852 2822 0783

852 2822 0748

Our sales representatives for overseas property work exclusively in relation to properties outside Hong Kong and are not therefore licensed under the Estate Agents Ordinance to deal with Hong Kong properties.


SPaces “At the heart of the concept is the desire to promote cross cultural exchanges between different artists.� Watch Tower - page 90

interiors and architecture


[ spaces | by design ]

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di s h up

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Relaunched 50 years after Herbert Krenchel designed the original. From HK$880. www.normann-copenhagen.com

By Design

The coolest products for your kitchen

bu rn o u t

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A more colourful way to make toast! HK$1,800. www.dualit.com

ge t se rved

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Serve up in style on this lacquer-covered bamboo tray. From HK$250. www.tree.com.hk

m arke d u p

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Prove your cookies are homemade with this cute stamp. HK$120. www.suck.uk.com


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05 i c e p op Drip free freeze pops from Zoku. HK$150. www.spoonsisters.com

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beat it

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This collapsable whisk will save space in the kitchen drawer. HK$150. www.normann-copenhagen.com

fli p p i ng ou t

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Practice flipping your stir-fry in this Boomerang Wok. HK$1,400. www.royalvkb.com

08 c affe i ne h igh Quit that Starbucks habit, make your own. HK$2,699. www.nespresso.com

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Taj. Forever seductive, forever trusted, forever enchanting. From authentic Indian palaces to landmark city hotels, from dazzling resort properties to pastoral safari lodges, enjoy a thoughtful blend of tradition and modernity in the distinctive and highly personal Taj manner. Fabulous suites, splendid dining, and tranquil Jiva spas await. Discover the Taj difference at over 85 hotels around the world. For reser vati on s a nd s pe cia l offe rs, pl e a s e v i si t t aj ho t el s. c o m , em ai l reser vat i o n s@ t aj ho t el s. c o m , c all 00.800.4588. 1825 tol l fre e, or con ta ct your t ravel c o n su l t an t . I n d i a • N e w Yo r k • B o s t o n • S a n F r a n c i s c o • L o n d o n • D u b a i • C a p e To w n • Z a m b i a • M a r r a k e c h • M a l d i v e s • S r i L a n k a • L a n g k a w i • B h u t a n • S y d n e y


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new & noted Decadent design hotels to inspire travel

GREECE Amanzo’e

BRAZIL Fasano

CAPE TOWN Queen Victoria Hotel

Barcelona Mirror Hotel

AMANZO’E, GREECE

FASANO, brazil

This 38-suite resort from the Aman portfolio was dreamt up by American architect Ed Tuttle. Drawing inspiration from classical Greek architecture, the hotel features much marble and stone and even its own acropolis. Away from the main complex, there’s a spa set within colonnaded gardens, a swimming pool and yoga pavilion and a small amphitheatre for evening performances.

Isay Weinfeld designed this awesome new hotel just outside of Sao Paolo, Brazil. A combination of wood, stone and glass creates the facade to the double level structure, which blends neatly with the surrounding lakes, forests and gardens. The 39 rooms, a selection of interconnecting bungalows and free-standing villas, all enjoy fantastic views.

www.amanresorts.com

www.fasano.com.br

Benefitting from its tranquil location, on a mews off the bustling V&A Waterfront, the Queen Victoria was featured in Conde Nast’s Hot List for 2012. The hotel boasts a soothing colour palate and a triple volume atrium ideal for people spotting. On-site restaurant, Dash, features furniture from local designers such as Moorgas & Sons as well as huge artworks by local artists. The Presidential Suite (pictured) is utterly breathtaking.

The palate for this entire 63-room boutique hotel is white, giving the interiors a fresh and contemporary feel. Mirrors, as the name suggests, feature heavily, as do the vaguely eerie ‘guardian angel’ statues which are dotted liberally around the lobby. The hotel, fantastically located in the heart of the Eixample, is also home to a fabulous restaurant, headed up by Michelin-starred Chef Paco Perez.

www.newmarkhotels.com

www.themirrorbarcelona.com

2012

mirror hotel, barcelona LOFT autumn

queen victoria, cape town


Design cities

[ Spaces | design cities ]

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tokyo

Japan’s capital is packed with sights and sounds to captivate and confuse. Here’s the LOFT lowdown of the best bits TOKYO

EAT:

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Nicolai Bergmann: An über-chic café, florist and exhibition/event space by Danish-born floral artist Nicolai Bergmann. A vast vertical garden, smooth concrete walls and Georg Jensen tableware create a hip garden-in-the-city ambience. Go for the Danish smørebrød, fresh salads and fruit smoothies. www.nicolaibergmann.com Bulgari: With a roof terrace boasting views over upscale Ginza, this designer restaurant has stylish food to match the surroundings. www.bulgarihotels.com Yutoku: A firm favourite as much for its delicate soba noodles as the cutting-edge architecture by ISSHO Architects. The

bold sculptured façade was inspired by Machiya-style wooden louvers while the inviting interiors are minimalist chic. The young second-generation soba master lives above the shop. www.yutoku-soba.co.jp

R2 Supperclub: Seriously hip bar and lounge based on a 1930’s underground New York jazz club. Interiors have a monochromatic vibe thanks to industrialtheme concrete walls and floors and a sleek black wood bar courtesy of 8inc. Latin-inspired cocktails are the speciality while the R2 Trio house band provides a cool fusion of underground jazz from the 1930s as well as new electronic jazz. www.r2sc.jp

DRINK:

SHOP:

Omotesando Koffee: It’s well worth hunting down this hidden gem for Eiichi Kunitomo’s excellent espressos and cube-shaped cakes but this stylish spot is just as popular for the unique ‘popup’ interiors: a modern steel cube frame and pristine La Cimbali machine inside a 60-year-old traditional Japanese house. The distinctive logo and packaging are by Eding:Post. www.ooo-koffee.com

Plain People: Proving eco-chic is not an oxymoron: this Aoyama boutique offers a carefully curated selection of elegant womenswear, cosmetics, art and home

Koichiro Kimura: Avant-garde lacquer ware sold from a tiny two–storey 1950s house in leafy Aoyama. The first-floor showroom’s walls and ceiling are covered with 4,000 white lacquered pyramids, a quirky signature shape of the designer. www.koichiro-kimura.com


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STAY: Palace Hotel Tokyo: Über modern luxury meets sleek Japanese minimalist styling with GA Design International’s meticulously crafted interiors. The moat-side setting directly opposite the Otemon Gate to the Imperial Palace means the palatial rooms have stunning views. Dine at Wadakura for excellent Japanese fare, then head to the Evian Spa for Zen-like relaxation. www.palacehoteltokyo.com

a luxury convenience store; jazz bar and lounge; and exceptional dining at Ivy Place to boot. www.tsite.jp/daikanyama

OUT & ABOUT: Nezu Museum: Kengo Kuma’s low-slung minimalist building represents a gate ‘connecting the city and the sacred garden’. Enter via a long understated corridor that runs along the side of the building. Inside is a calm sanctuary overlooking the garden, creating a sense of a single space. The elegant museum café serves excellent matcha tea. www.nezu-muse.or.jp T-Site Daikanyama: This Klein-Dythamdesigned innovative new-generation retail, dining and entertainment complex in hip Daikanyama showcases an enticing selection of international and Japanese art, design, fashion and travel books and magazines; a new-generation high-design Starbucks café;

Tokyo Skytree: The world’s second highest tower, the Tadao Ando-designed 634m Tokyo Skytree, has high-speed elevators to whisk visitors to glass observation decks at 350m and 450m for eye-popping 360 degree city views. www.tokyo-skytree.jp

DESIGN MUST DO: Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center: Kengo Kuma’s newest innovative design draws on traditional machiya architecture with sloping roofs, generous glass windows and Japanese cedar wood and concrete interiors. The top floor café has a perforated glass, metal and wood ceiling that evokes a forest canopy. www.kkaa.co.jp [ L ]

A 5am start may not sound appealing, but those who do manage to rouse themselves at the break of dawn will be rewarded at Tsukiji, the world’s busiest fish market. At this hour visitors can witness live tuna auctions, and then reward themselves with a sushi breakfast. Order the chu toro (fatty tuna) – you’ve probably never eaten such a generous, fresh cut of fish.

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Ritz-Carlton: Situated in Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Roppongi, this 248-room hotel is ideal for first-timers to (attempt to) get their bearings and admire panoramic views over Mount Fuji and Tokyo Tower. Interior design from Frank Nicholson and 6 incredible restaurants make this a decadent but decidedly stylish stay. www.ritzcarlton.com

Tokyo MK is a cut above: No one does taxi service quite like the white gloved chauffeurs. T +03 5547 5551

tokyo’s new skytower stands twice the height of the eiffel tower

accessories largely sourced from Japan. We love the chandelier made from recycled milk bottles and the cool accessories displayed in outsized bell jars. www.one-be-one.com NUNO: Japan’s most creative textile designer’s tiny shop is a treasure trove of innovative fabrics. Stock up on shimmery silk scarves, gleaming tote bags and her chic line of original clothing. Founder Reiko Sudo’s white cotton shirt design is a cult classic. www.nuno.com

Best taxi service in town

[ Spaces | design cities ]

Pre-trip reading matters Get your design hat on and prep with a read of New Japan Architecture by Geeta Mehta and Deanna MacDonald (Tuttle)


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Raw Inspiring Raoul Preller brings industrial style to the South Side

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Words by Dominique Afacan


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efore setting up his company Loft Living, Raoul Preller was a banker, dabbling in property on the side – but soon enough he found that his signature style of ‘urban rustic’ was striking a chord with Hong Kong expats and design-conscious renters. For his latest development – Tribeca Place – he has converted an entire Chinese walk-up building into four hip apartments in Ap Lei Chau. how did you find your latest development? I got lucky! One of my star agents mentioned it to me on a Monday night and I had to have it as soon as I saw it. It was a no-brainer.

were you cautious about venturing out of central for the first time? Absolutely. Despite being a fantastic building in a superb environment, it’s

Living Room LOFT

autumn 2012

Ottomans, sofas and cushions are custom designed and made by Monique McLintock Interiors Ltd. Sofas cost $8,800 and can be converted to a double bed. Beams are cladded with reclaimed boat wood at $90 per sq. ft. Flooring is antique oak wood at $45 per sq. ft. from Sunwood.


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still such unchartered territory – people deem Ap Lei Chau to be too far. The reality is that it’s like the Sai Kung lifestyle, just 12 minutes from Central! When the MTR arrives in 2016 things will change but in the meantime, it can present a challenge. HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE DESIGN? The building was originally 15 units – the tenants had subdivided the space illegally. We opened it all up front to back. The general theme in all my developments, is ‘urban rustic’, with a strong focus on unusual but sensible layouts and open designs, functionality, comfort and quality materials. For Tribeca Place me and my designer Monique McLintock chose a stronger industrial vibe. Exposed red brick, iron sliding doors, steel mirror frames, concrete kitchen floors, coupled with the softer, warmer elements like the oak flooring, teak furniture and stone sinks. why is it called tribeca place? The building name is loosely inspired by both the Tribeca district in New York, and the building’s proximity to the nearby industrial node, Wong Chuk Hang, both of which are also in keeping with the industrial-and-loft-themed facade of the building. what were the main challenges you came across? One of the big challenges for the project was getting enough natural light through the apartments. We enlarged the perimeter windows, and also created half-height red brick walls to divide the bedrooms from the living and kitchen space, with metal-framed glass dividers for the top half of the walls. This allowed for visibility through the apartment during the day, but could also be cordoned off when it’s time to sleep. What does the future hold? This is the first whole building I’ve done, I’d definitely like to continue doing those deals as

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they make more monetary sense. [ L ]

Bathroom Sinks are hand-carved stone at a cost of $2,600 each. Bathtub was made by hand with cement. Designed and made by contractors Ecdeco.

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Bedroom Beds are hydrolic for extra storage underneath. By GOD, $9,800. Bedside tables and wardrobes are from Tree’s Signature Range.

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[ spaces | four walls ]

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fter finishing her internship at Faro Disegni in Rome, Lene Toni Kjeld returned to Denmark for the final year of her MA in textile design, at the Kolding Design School in central Denmark. She and her partner, Valerio began to look at houses in the area and after a few months, they found a three bedroom family home, built in 1956, five minutes from the centre of Kolding, a pretty seaport in Southern Denmark. With a passion for all things vintage, the untouched 50s interior appealed to Lene and she loved the garish 50s wallpapers in each room. “There is a fantastic, patterned, glass door, which you enter the house through” describes Lene. “The bright yellow glass gives sunshine and a friendly welcome, even on the dreariest of days.” The house was a decent size and going for a good price, so Lene and Valerio decided to purchase the property.

Lene Toni Kjeld prioritised wallpaper for her restyle of this 1950s home in Denmark Styling & feature by Victoria Metcalf Photography by Rachael Smith

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autumn 2012

For a few years, the couple lived in their house and did nothing to it. “It was nice to get familiar with it, before we did anything to it” says Lene. Keen to keep the interiors as in tact as possible, they have done only a small amount of redecoration to the house. They took up the carpets, sanded and varnished the wooden floorboards. Next they painted the living room and bedrooms white to give a blank canvas for their mid-century modern furniture.

Four Walls


Lene covered the hallway and a screen for the living room with her own wallpaper that she designed for her final degree show. “My graduation project was entitled ‘Wallpapers in Transition’” explains Lene. “It consists of eight designs and four hybrids which allows each design to blend from one to another”. Unsurprisingly, the hallway is Lene’s favourite room. Halfway across the space, the wallpaper changes from a blue and white geometric print to a gold circle pattern. “Even though it is just a walk-through room, it has a good feel to it and I love the 60s silver retro lamps on the wall that we bought in a second hand shop” says Lene.

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autumn 2012

The duo decided to leave the bathroom and the kitchen as they were. “We loved their retro charm, they had so much nostalgia” says Lene. However, now their style has begun to change, they are planning to renovate. “I used to love everything retro, but now my style is becoming more modern. I like design with a cleaner, minimal feel, mixing old and new” says Lene. They hope to install a new kitchen, bathroom and sun terrace with a contemporary look whilst still being sensitive to the house’s retro feel. “We aim to get some sustainable solutions incorporated as well” says Lene. For now, Lene loves the home that she shares with her husband Valerio and their two children, Isak and Stella. “To me, a home has to be peaceful, playful and useful,” says Lene. “my home has all three qualities, which is why I love it so much.”[ L ]

Styling and feature by Victoria Metcalf/STYLE NV/ Photography by Rachael Smith

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My graduation project was entitled ‘Wallpapers in Transition

[ spaces | living the 50s ]

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[ spaces | the siam ]

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Bangkok boutique

Bill Bensley creates The Siam, a designer hotel with a difference, in the Thai capital

Words by Catherine Shaw

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nother day, another luxury boutique hotel… when I first heard Bangkok was about to produce a new boutique hotel, The Siam, I mentally consigned the story to my ‘do later, if ever’ list. The word boutique is now so ubiquitous in the hospitality business it long ago lost any of its original cachet, so it was a pleasant surprise when, during a recent trip to the Thai capital, I visited the aristocratic Dusit neighbourhood to find an intriguing 39-suite luxury hotel with a decidedly creative blend of architecture, design and art.

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The project – tucked away on a threeacre prime riverfront site near the Grand Palace – is a family affair with Thai rock star and entrepreneur Krissada Sukosol as Siam design director, his project director brother Sukie, and sisters Marisa and Daranee who act as executive vice president and chief financial officer, respectively. The matriarch and powerhouse behind the original idea, Kamala Sukosol, is president of the company.


the siam ] [[ spaces spaces | |the

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01 Chinese Villa, Bedroom 02 Siam Suite Bedroom Detail

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03 Maenam Suite Bedroom 04 Siam Suite Living Area 05 Chinese Villa, Bedroom 06 Chinese Villa Bathroom 07 Chinese Villa Desk 08 Thai house & frangipanis

Free from the typical boardroom rules and regulations that can suffocate originality and innovation in larger hotel chains, the family has set about creating the sort of luxuries – like private pool villas, personal butlers, a charming spot to indulge in a quiet coffee, opportunities to meet fellow like-minded travellers and a mix of modern day comfort and traditional decor – that they enjoy when travelling. Krissada says long before he even met the Harvard-trained American architect and landscape expert Bill Bensley, he knew the designer would be the perfect choice to translate the family’s vision into reality. “We would go to the same antique shops in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and it happened that many of the things I wanted already had his name on it. So I knew we shared the same taste and I just thought it would be great to finally work with him,” he explains.

Bensley, now based in Thailand, worked as a landscape architect for 20 years before becoming an architect and is passionate about reflecting local culture in his designs. His extraordinary fantasyinspired designs are favourites of leading luxury hotels such as the Leela Palace Udaipur, the Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai; the St Regis Bali; Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap and more recently, the Intercontinental, Danang in Vietnam. He says that when looking for architectural inspiration for The Siam he looked to the best hotels built in the 1920s in Asia. “One of my favorites is the old wing of the Garuda Hotel in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. In the past travelling was a pleasure reserved for the wealthy and was certainly a more social event than it is today. At the Garuda Hotel I love the semi private porches that acted as an open foyer to their private rooms. From here, under just tropical ceiling fans, one could enjoy tea, look on to the public corridors and then on through to the gardens. I can imagine the ladies and gentlemen of that time strolling along the corridors and stopping to chit chat with their fellow travellers and discussing the events of their day.” Bensley adopted similar architectural elements in the main residence of The Siam with a three-storey landscaped central atrium and a colonial-style palette of cool white walls, gleaming tropical woods and black blinds. “This vintage concept works because the scale of the hotel, like the great hotels of turn of the century Asia, is just right,” explains Bensley. Inside, 16 Siam Suites have Art Deco-style salons or verandahs while 12 Mae Nam suites have coveted river views. Each suite, with super-sized king beds, high ceilings and deep soaking baths, is designed with a unique theme drawn from local architecture to contemporary art and decorated with original turn-of-the century oriental artwork and antiquities from Krissada’s private art collections. “The corridors also have semi-private tea tables that look on to the leafy atrium and provide a relaxed environment in which to meet fellow travelers,” says Bensley. Closer to the riverside are 10 elegant pool villas featuring Thai Colonial, Chinese, and Art Deco interiors, private gardens and swimming pools, and stylish


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Although Bill had established his identity, he has suddenly moved into new directions

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roof terraces. The undisputed star of the show, however, is Connie’s Cottage, a century-old Thai teakwood house on stilts sourced by silk tycoon Jim Thompson. It is named after its former owner, socialite, antiques dealer and ex-OSS agent Connie Mangskau who, together with Thompson bought several houses in Ayutthaya and shipped them down the river to be reassembled in Bangkok. The stilted cottage takes pride of place in a courtyard garden with verdant local palms, ferns and orchids, and tranquil water features. Other facilities within the hotel include 3 additional Thai houses which together form Chon, The Siam’s signature Thai restaurant and cooking school, and a more formal Deco Bar and Bistro. Café Cha, a patisserie in the main residence offers an enticingly shaded veranda and garden. There is also a surprisingly spacious retro décor gym, outdoor grass yoga sala and the first professionally-equipped luxury Muay Thai gym in Bangkok, offering training programs for beginners or advanced boxers. More genteel amenities include an enticing period-style hotel archive of old books, maps, manuscripts, art and information on the hotel’s antiques, and an art gallery. For business travellers, there is a state-of-the-art screening room, meeting rooms and private pier with Thai barge and luxury speedboat. Throughout the hotel the family’s art and antiques – like mirrors, tables, decorative boxes and paintings – create a luxurious home-from-home ambience. The

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Siam general manager, Jason Friedman says the artworks are not just for decorative value and guests are encouraged to use and enjoy them for their own value. His favourite is an old Austin Motor Company peddle car in the lobby waiting room: “I can just imagine a Thai aristocrat bringing this toy car to Thailand, as a gift for his son, from a diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom. Complete with leather seats and imitation motor I can see a young Thai boy motoring around the grounds of some fabulous European-inspired Thai palace. Every antique has a story and they, with the art, are what drive The Siam experience; they set the mood in the hotel making one feel as if one is in a friend’s grand estate instead of a hotel.” Happily, when it came to designing the spa, Bensley avoided the temptation to recreate traditional Thai-style and has instead created an astonishing hamman-inspired Bath House complete with dry and steam saunas, steam showers and Jacuzzis. Treatment rooms – at 850 square foot each and with private terraces – offer a soothing retreat from the urban bustle just a short taxi trip away. “What I find most intriguing about Bill is that he’s unpredictable,” says Krissada. “Many prominent architects have their wonderful signature styles. And although Bill had established his identity with exotic and lush landscapes, he has suddenly moved into new directions. It feels good that The Siam is the latest of such vision.” www.thesiamhotel.com [ L ]


Alternative Ownership: Understanding the Industry DNA HONG KONG 2012 Marco Polo Hotel. October 8th & 9th

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INdUStRy leAdeRS ANd SPeAKeRS INClUde:

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Alternative Ownership: Understanding the Industry DNA The Alternative Ownership Conference Asia-Pacific (AOCAP) is the premier Asia Pacific conference for mixed use resorts and recreational real estate within the hospitality and tourism industries. Now in its fourth year,this unmissable event delivers an abundance of knowledge, insight and understanding of the alternative ownership industry throughout Asia and globally.

LOFT Readers save US$200 Register before September 1, 2012 to take advantage of the LOFT Reader discount at just US$795. Delegates will receive a greater understanding of this exciting and highly innovative industry and gain insight into why some of the world’s leading hospitality brands are participating with astonishing results. Don’t miss out! Book online now at AOCAP.org/book-now to secure your place!

AOCAP 2012 The 2012 program will build on the success of the past four years by taking a detailed look at the industry’s DNA. AOCAP 2012 will once again highlight the latest exciting industry knowledge to domestic and international hotel & resort owners and operators, resort management companies, fractional sales and marketing companies, real estate developers, tourism authorities, lifestyle companies and the press. View the latest program online now at AOCAP.org.

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AOCAP 2012 Sponsors Include:


[ Spaces | top ten ]

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D n ng rooms Top 10

LOFT’s pick of Hong Kong’s top restaurants – by design

LOFT

autumn 2012

Words by Jane Gough

More often than not, our initial observations about a restaurant are based on the interior design and ambiance rather than the food. It’s only once we’ve soaked up our surroundings that we even open the menu. With this in mind, LOFT decided to tally our favourite eateries according to architecture, design and creative flair. After much debate and exhaustive degustation, we present, in no particular order, our very own LOFT top ten. Bon Appetit!


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AMMO

AMMO, local celebrity chef Tony Cheng’s glamorous new restaurant and bar in a former British explosives magazine compound, sets a new benchmark for statement interiors with architect Joyce Wang’s bold blend of contemporary comfort and cinematic inspired interiors. Think surreal military and industrial-chic complete with dramatic sculptural staircase chandeliers; a curved ceiling with copper ribs and the pièce de résistance: Wang’s sculptural copper mural on the wall behind the bar. Leather, velvet and silk bespoke furniture and fixtures add a touch of sensual comfort. The tapas and pasta menus are simple and elegant and the Kiwi Basil Martini a winner; but we come here for the perfectly executed retro-modern design experience. 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty T +852 2537 9888 LOFT

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9 LOFT

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Armani Aqua

We like the great outdoors as much as anyone else – but preferably with decor and music á la Armani Privé. The exclusive Milan-inspired nightclub and restaurant by David Yeo and Giorgio Armani comes with distinctive Chinese red and black interiors, plush velvet sofas, seriously seductive lighting and a team of four DJs. The 8,000 sq ft space, owned and managed by Aqua Restaurant group, includes the restaurant (Armani Aqua), vast rooftop terrace with comfortable sofas, chairs and one of the best city views in town. The signature cocktail is the Armani Spritz: apricot liqueur, St. Germain, Aperol, lemon juice, thyme topped with Prosecco. 2/F, Landmark Chater House, 8 Connaught Road Central T +852 3583 2828


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5-6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central T +852 2810 6166

Lily & Bloom

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Lily & Bloom thrives on an unerring combination of classic and cool drawing on all the glamour and intrigue of New York’s speakeasies and Parisian brasseries of the 1900’s. Divided into two complementary areas, Lily, the upstairs bar features spacious seating inspired by eclectic transport from the era. Downstairs is Bloom, a more casual supper club-brasserie featuring an eye-catching metal chandelier. There is an added bonus of a 12-seat private dining room and ‘The Blind Pig’ cigar room customised with shipping crates and antiquated telephone. The carefully curated interiors were created in collaboration with creative agency The Mangkut Group and New York-based design firm AvroKO.

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Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street T +852 3196 8888

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autumn 2012

Zuma

Zuma wins a spot on our list for its authentic take on Japanese izakayastyle cuisine in a contemporary lounge bar conveniently located in The Landmark. Escape the madness of luxury retail for one of Zuma’s addictive cocktails – their master bartender was selected as a finalist for the 2012 World Bartender Championships. We love the dramatic spiral staircase and natural stone kitchen designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Studio Glitt in collaboration with Super Potato… almost as much as their Japanese Whisky Sour created from classic Nikka from the barrel whisky, yuzu juice, egg white and a dash of plum bitters. Level 5 & 6, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central T 852 3657 6388

Caprice

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Yearning for Paris and dinner at the George V? We are too – but when in Hong Kong we turn to the opulent charms of Caprice when we need a quintessential Michelin culinary fix. Here, views of Victoria Harbour do battle with a stunning tableau of Chinese-inspired Czech crystal encrusted chandeliers, deliciously minimalist table settings with crisp white linen and leather armchairs created by Tokyo-based Spin Design Studio. Innovative, modern European cuisine from produce flown in daily from France is created in an open kitchen; head to the new adjoining bar and lounge area for oh-so-chic pre-dinner cocktails. Did we mention the artisanal French cheeses and Bordeaux and Burgundy wines?


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Domani

autumn 2012

Level 4, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway T +852 2111 1197

LOFT

Just the thought of Domani makes us want to slip on a little Dolce & Gabbana. Its high end Italian contemporary glamour, perfectly accessorised with just enough comfort and friendly service, makes it ideal for an intimate meal or Italian extended family-style brunch. A Michelin-starred menu with a perfect balance of traditional ingredients and cutting edge modern technology is just an excuse to spend time in the extraordinary interiors by designer-architect Thomas Heatherwick and interior designer Branco Pahor of B&Co. The modern all-white palette, chic leather furniture, elegant columns and sleek counter tops, not to mention the futuristic undulating ceiling framed by large windows looking out onto an alfresco patio, keep us coming back for more.


autumn 2012 LOFT

208 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan T +852 2549 028

Shop 8, 1/F, The Podium, J Senses,

208 Duecento Otto

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New York’s Meatpacking district meets rustic Italian at Sheung Wan’s 208 Duecento Otto, a 4,000 sq ft neighbourhood restaurant on Hollywood Road. Owner Singaporean Yenn Wong (who also founded JIA Boutique Hotels), has transformed a dilapidated warehouse into an enticing Bohemian setting with a casual ground floor bar and dining room upstairs, both with outdoor seating. The edgy design narrative which draws on the up-and-coming art and design neighbourhood was created by Turkish design company Autoban, and features steel pillars, marble table tops and decorative ceiling panelling. The interior walls, decorated with blue and white ceramic tiles, add a distinctive feature.


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C’est la B

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G/F, 110-114 Tung Lo Wan Road, Tai Hang T +852 28068168

LOFT

Aesthetic enthusiasts will love the deliciously fashionable fare served in this cosy neighbourhood cafe-bar tucked away in a quaint street of shops near Causeway Bay. The winning concept, the first outing in a series soon to be rolled out over the city, was launched in late 2011 by Hong Kong lifestyle diva Bonnie Gokson combining an intimate setting, innovative dark charcoal interiors with brightly coloured butterfly designs and whimsical mismatched crockery. The menu features a stunning array of jewel-like desserts, decadent cakes, savouries and salads along with speciality teas, coffees and cocktails. We’ve fallen for the ‘Blessing in Disguise’, Gokson’s signature carrot cheesecake with a berry glaze. Open to midnight daily.


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Robata Zawazawa

This miniscule ten-seat Edo-style bar and restaurant overlooking Lan Kwai Fong is our go-to spot for traditional Japanese charcoal-grilled fare. The dramatic modern decor is courtesy of interior designer Shigeru Sato whose award-winning designs include Tokyo’s Gonpachi Nishi Azabu. Grey stone walls and a thoroughly contemporary reworking of red washi paper lamps, colourful umbrellas and Japanese textile panels provide a striking backdrop for the simple open-fire Robata grill. The seductive seasonal cuisine and delicious haku-bai plum sake makes this one of our favourite foodie destinations. LG/F, 41 Wyndham Street, Central T +852 2536 9898


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Shop 8, 1/F, The Podium, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai

Madame Sixty-Ate

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One of the few places in town with a perfectly seamless blend of cuisine, novel design and branding from the wonderfully eccentric design narrative of a fictional ‘Madam’ to fascinating details like the painting of Eliza, a woolly-attired pig in the entrance area. Over-sized chandeliers, Tiffany-blue chairs and custom-made bird wallpaper create a relaxed ambience but it is creative branding specialist Substance’s Maxime Dautresme’s hand-illustrated menu with cauliflower-tailed fish, quirky drinks coasters and injection of fantasy that makes this spot truly unique. Thankfully the modern open kitchen steps up to the mark serving an inventive menu with creative flair.

T +852 2527 2558 [ L ]

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Shanghai’s oldest hotel gives contemporary art and design a new home Words by Catherine Shaw

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hen The Swatch Art Peace Hotel opened its carefully restored art deco doors on November 1st last year, it immediately caused a stir in cultural circles by welcoming artists to a one-of-a-kind inspirational art programme – before a single hotel guest had checked in. The former Palace Hotel – one the city’s oldest and most venerated hotels fronting Shanghai’s Bund, has been at the heart of Shanghai’s widely publicised modern day revival thanks to an intriguing reinvention courtesy of their new leaseholders, the Biel-based Swatch Group. The experiment is well timed: Shanghai is increasingly taking on the mantle of the country’s artistic hub with the Chinese art market growing rapidly and generating interest in talented local and international artists alike. The bold hotel-boutique-art hub concept was the brainchild of visionary Swatch Group Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek who says he immediately noticed the hotel had a special “soul” while he was looking for the perfect location for the group’s luxury boutiques in Shanghai. The three year renovation was led by Swatch Group with project leadership by Hayek Engineering, who painstakingly restored the original red brick structure to its 1909 heyday while protecting the building’s most valuable features. The six-storey red-brick Victorian façade was restored, while the interiors now feature a bold mix of heritage décor – with a striking Jacobean staircase, marble-panelled lobby, period ceiling and wood paneling carefully renovated by experts – a contemporary design centre; and seven modern art-inspired guest suites with uniquely quirky interiors by Parisbased designers Jouin Manku. LOFT

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The suites take inspiration from traditional and modern Chinese culture creating a fascinating blend of cutting edge design and whimsical touches. For example, the vast king-sized bed in the Happiness Suite is half-enclosed within a birdcage while elsewhere Chinese characters provide a decorative but meaningful touch. The


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Prosperity Suite is a favourite for those planning a private party thanks to its vast cocktail bar. Other themed suites include the Joyful, Wondrous or Cheerful rooms and the Peace or Good Fortune suites: all designed to create a feeling of goodwill. Throughout, interiors are a celebration of highly inventive European design and cutting-edge style, with the latest state-ofthe-art technology.

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But the hotel’s innovative concept goes well beyond modern hospitality and luxury retail to include a unique cultural environment dedicated to contemporary art. At the heart of the concept is the desire to promote cross cultural exchanges between different artists “so as to enrich personal experience and creativity.” Eighteen specially designed studio apartments and workshops (including a spacious communal library, modern designer kitchen and relaxing lounges with views of the Bund) have been created where artists from all around the world work, live and exhibit their creative talents. The ‘community’ of up to eighteen people is deliberately drawn from a range of artistic fields, styles, media and nationalities to help establish a creative exchange.

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A r chitec t u r a l a nd Bes pok e T o u r s For those interested in the Bund’s architecture, try the fascinating information-packed walking tours offered by local historian and author Peter Hibbard. The president of the Royal Asiatic Society China in Shanghai, as well as the author of The Odyssey Guide to Shanghai and The Bund Shanghai: China Faces West, is a mine of information about the heritage buildings along this famed stretch.


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The first artists were welcomed in April 2011 and have already made their mark within a broad range of cultures, artistic styles and media. Those who have already completed a residency at the hotel include award-winning Japanese acrylic artist Ayako Rokkaku; Swiss-born photographer Tom De Peyret; French sound artist Alexandre Joly and American-born mixedmedia abstract artist Kathryn Gohmert.

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After their ‘tenure,’ which is usually limited to a maximum of six months in order to keep interaction between artists dynamic and vibrant, each artist leaves a ‘trace’ (a piece of art created by the artist during their stay at the hotel) that becomes part of the hotel’s contemporary art collection. The choice of the art work is up to the artist to decide. All traces will become part of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Collection and will be exhibited for the public to enjoy. A virtual online museum will also help artists to display their work to a wider audience. The hotel also has bespoke designed art exhibition spaces and a multi-purpose venue for cultural events.

The hotel’s concept includes a unique cultural environment dedicated to contemporary art

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“To be in a hotel like this for an extended period is like winning the lottery,” says New York-born digital artist Jenny Krasner who started her programme in May 2012. “Although one of my friends says it is even better than that!” Krasner’s creative style is typical of the sort of interesting innovative work being done at the hotel. Her particular passion is focused on an intriguing blend of photography and mixed media. “I’ve travelled to countries like India, Cambodia and Laos to take thousands of photographs of the areas,” she explains. “Then I make digital composites and assemblage using found and bought materials. I consider myself an artist, not a photographer.” She decided early on to keep an open mind about her particular trace. “I have amassed a couple of thousand photos and am loaded with lists of where to buy art supplies and where to have photos printed. I’ve also bought some amazing magazines from the Cultural Revolution and little objects. My trace will be a reflection from my stay in Shanghai and the wonderful artists and Chinese culture that I’ve experienced during my half year at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel.”

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Artists are encouraged to engage in collaborative work and discussion and to interact as a dynamic artistic community so as to enrich the creativity of the group as well as each other’s work. Krasner believes the collaborative environment is key to the

T he Sel ec t ion C om m i tt ee

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Members of the committee include Nayla Hayek and Nick Hayek (Chair of the Board of Directors and CEO of Swatch Group respectively), Board member of Swatch Group and art collector Esther Grether, François-Henri Pinault (Chairman and CEO of PPR) and Mikhail Kusnirovich, Russian entrepreneur and Chairman of the Strategy Development Committee of GUM Department Store, Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, Chairman of YTL Group (appointed by Swatch Group to manage the hotel) and the actor George Clooney.

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programme’s success: “It is inspirational. I love that we are all doing something different. During the day we do our work and then we get together at breakfast or for dinner for a chat. No one is competing on the work front; everyone is helpful and there is a lot of camaraderie.”

Peace Hotel were both being renovated. They were astounding – they were like looking into the past. It took my breath away and I just wanted to stand there and take photographs. Of all the places in China this was the one place I wanted to come back to.”

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw the hotel on my first visit,” she says. “It was virtually empty and it and the Fairmont

The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, 23 East Nanjing Road (Bund 19) +86 21 2329 8500 www.swatch-art-peace-hotel.com


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Places, Faces and Spaces we talked about while making the latest issue of LOFT

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LOFT issue eight