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: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:+852 3620 3157
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[ CONTENTS ]
CONTRIBUTORS 06 FOUNDATIONS Facts, figures and finds from the property world 11
NEW AND 71 NOTED
[ PLACES ] GLOBAL PROPERTY COMPARISON What can your money buy across the globe? 22 LOCAL LONDON Why Victoria is the place to buy 26 BANGKOK IN BLOOM The Thai capitalâ€™s luxury property market 32 SMALL WORLD Gain residency and move to your dream home 36
[ FACES ] THE MASTER Ed Ng of AB Concepts on The Masterpiece 46 FAIR PLAY Will Ramsey on the Affordable Art Fair 48 SOUND BITES PechaKucha reaches Hong Kong 52 MATERIAL WORLD An interview with architect Thomas Heatherwick 56 SECRET AGENTS Advice on property investment from industry experts 60 DYLAN BAKER-RICE Chatting to the Hong Kong-based architect 64
ON THE COVER Restaurant Andre, Singapore
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR [ SPACES ] BY DESIGN Beautifully designed products for the home 68 NEW & NOTED Design hotels to fly for 71 DESIGN CITIES A focus on Singapore 72 DREAM HOME A peak into an Archasia -designed home on The Peak 74 DESIGNING FOR THE DESERT A restored home in Andalucia 76 TOP TEN Top picks from Maison d’Objet 80 CURATE TO CREATE London’s new South Place Hotel 90 LOFT DIRECTORY Spaces, Faces and Places that inspired us this issue 96
26 LOCAL LONDON
ong Kong residents have long complained about the city’s apparent lack of culture. But even in the four years I have lived here, things have changed. My neighbourhood of Poho has transformed from a scruffy web of low rise walk-ups into a thriving arts district, lined with independent galleries and boutique interiors shops. The arrival of Art Basel and the Affordable Art Fair demonstrates Hong Kong’s artistic evolution on a much larger scale. Read our interview with AAF founder Will Ramsay on page 48. We also delve into the new world of PechaKucha – a social media platform for creatives that started in Japan and has since sprung up all over the world, including in our very own Hong Kong. Enjoy the mag – and next time someone complains about the city’s lack of culture – tell them to read this issue of LOFT!
[ CONTRIBUTORS ]
THE BANGKOK INSIDER
THE PARIS CORRESPONDENT
DAVE STAMBOULIS Dave is a travel writer and photographer based in Bangkok. His photos, represented by Alamy and Getty Images, have appeared in publications around the world. In addition to working as the updating writer for Fodor’s Guidebook to Thailand, he is a regular contributor for publications such as Asian Geographic, Look East, Bangkok Post and The Nation.
THE SINGAPORE SCRIBE
SAM GROWDON THE DIGITAL DAMSEL ZOE BELHOMME Zoe has worked at top public relations agencies in London and Hong Kong and has just joined LOFT’s ever-expanding team. She’s passionate about the online world and will be helping to deliver fresh and objective content, all with a digital focus. Visit our LOFT Facebook page for daily design updates and exclusive offers and giveaways. You can also follow LOFT on Twitter @LoftHK.
Sam art-directed LOFT before moving to Paris last year. Luckily for us, she’s also a talented writer, who reports on the latest design news from the French capital. For this issue, she covered Maison d’Objet, picking out ten of the best new brands to keep an eye on as we move through 2013.
JOYCELINE TULLY THE PEOPLE PERSON MADELEINE FITZPATRICK Maddy was born and raised in Hong Kong, and was educated at both Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong. She speaks fluent Russian and broken Cantonese, and has been an editor, a writer, and a PR underling. For this issue she spoke to architect Dylan BakerRice – see the interview on page 64.
Joy has launched and edited several successful magazines in Singapore including Appetite, Food & Travel and Lonely Planet (Asia). For this issue she penned the Singapore edition of our Design Cities series – find it on page 72.
Editor-in-chief Dominique Afacan email@example.com | Creative Director Helen Griffiths Art Director Gigi Lee firstname.lastname@example.org | Designer Lianja Salgado email@example.com
Managing Director Roger Searl firstname.lastname@example.org | Membership Services Carrie Wan email@example.com Partnerships Directors Elizabeth Leung firstname.lastname@example.org | Lawrence Lee email@example.com Katie Vajda firstname.lastname@example.org | Equeen Lo email@example.com | Communications Manager Zoe Belhomme firstname.lastname@example.org 16/F Chao’s Building, 143-145 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Tel +852 3620 3157, Fax +852 2522 3068, www.infonation-asia.com For advertising enquiries, email email@example.com INFO/NATION, its general and limited partners, and its subsidiaries, and their respective general partners and affiliates believe the information herein was obtained from reliable sources but they do not guarantee its accuracy. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of securities or commodities and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. Notwithstanding, INFO/NATION and affiliated companies disclaim to the extent permitted by law, any liability in respect of any claim which may arise from any errors or omissions or from providing such advice, opinions, judgement or information.
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 Hamilton Grand WHEN? February 26th
Angel’s Share – Hong Kong’s exclusive whisky lounge was a fitting venue for this event, introducing LOFT members to Hamilton Grand, a hugely exciting new property development right on St. Andrew’s golf course in Scotland. Read more about this incredible property on page 42.
Register for our e-newsletter at www.loft-asia.com
09 [ LOFT LIVE | EVENTS ]
WHAT? PIE+S (Property Investment Exhibition + Seminar) WHEN? May 25th PIE+S will once again bring together the most exciting global property opportunites in May, at this event held exclusively for LOFT members at the Four Seasons Hong Kong. Guests will be introduced to a hand-picked selection of properties and have the chance to talk about projects face-to-face with developers. Secure your place now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. [ L ]
11 [ FOUNDATIONS ]
Facts, figures and finds from the property world
SUNSHINE STATE Ian Schrager, the creative force behind some of the world’s most impressive hotels, has announced The Residences at The Miami Beach EDITION. The 26 properties each offer total privacy (including celebrity entrances) as well as ‘outdoor rooms’ with soaring views over the ocean. Residences are sold in move-in condition, a kind of residential prêt-a-porter, so you just have to remember your toothbrush! www.miamibeacheditionresidences.com
HOT SPRINGS AND THE HIGH LIFE
SQ. FT. The size of the CrespiHicks Estate in Dallas, currently the most expensive home for sale in the US – selling at US$135m
From HK$15m www.banyantree.com
The eagerly awaited Banyan Tree Chongqing Beibei Hotel and Spa is set to open in April – with an exciting residential project following in June. The 105 residences will feature a contemporary take on the stilted buildings from Chong qing’s past. Residents will have access to Banyan Tree’s hotel butler and concierge services, as well as the private helicopter and yacht. Jinyun Mountain and the hot spring culture that surrounds it are another draw, and it all lies within a 40-minute drive of the airport.
[ FOUNDATIONS ]
SECONDS WITH… Sarah Fortescue The Hong Kong-based designer behind Honi Honi Tiki and founder of design firm ‘Let’s Keep it Tropical.’
How did you get involved in the restoration of Boconnoc House [a historic estate in the UK]? My father spent 12 years restoring the grade II listed building from a dilapidated shell into what stands today. Seeing the shell complete I took it upon myself to do the interior design. Upon completion it won the Georgian Architectural Awards and The Historic Houses Association/ Sotheby’s Award for
best restoration of a country house in 2012.
We love a good night’s sleep here at LOFT – so we really appreciate quality sheets to snuggle in. Thank goodness for Linen House then, who have expanded to Hong Kong from their base in Australia, bringing with them fabulous designer bed linen and other home textiles. LOFT loves this French-inspired Balencia quilt cover set – check the website for more.
What inspired the relocation to Hong Kong? In 2008 I drove to Mongolia, jumped on a bus and headed to Hong Kong, via the east coast of China. Arriving there, I took one look at this city and thought – not yet! A few years later, I thought it was time to give
it a try. Tell us about Honi Honi Tiki? The concept was
created by the brilliant mixologist Max Traverse alongside Tim Shepherd of Three Wise Monkeys. I worked on the interior design with them. It’s inspired by the Hurricane club in New York and Max’s dream to open a Polynesian-style Tiki cocktail lounge in Hong Kong. Who is your biggest inspiration in the design industry? Joyce Wang. What she did at AMMO was
Monaco residents have had mixed reactions to the city’s first skyscraper, The Tour Odeon. At 49 storeys, the development will tower above its neighbours and change the skyline of the principality forever. Fans of the Odeon should be getting their names on the waiting list – 259 residences are being sold, along with a 3,300 square metre five-level penthouse, which promises to be one of the most opulent in Monaco.
[ FOUNDATIONS ]
EART H ONOMI C S Which economies are growing at the fastest rate? The list below shows GDP per capita growth (5 years)
M y anmar 213.36% No.2
C hi na 151.17% No.3
U ru gu ay 145.47%
OUTSIDE IN PARKROYAL on Pickering in sunny Singapore opened its doors to guests in January this year and is already attracting attention for its innovative sustainability features. Devised by award-winning architectural firm WOHA, the hotel features 15,000 square metres of lush sky gardens, waterfalls, planter terraces and cascading vertical greenery. Thanks to the extensive use of glass, the space is blessed with an abundance of natural light, a big draw for guests coming to the 367-room hotel. Located at the gateway to the city’s CBD, it’s a great new option for business travellers with an eco-conscience.
M ongol i a 136.01% No.5
B razi l 119.20%
P aragu ay 118.16%
SAVE THE DATE
M ol dov a 112.92%
ART BASEL May 23-26th 2013 245 international galleries will be taking part in the inaugural edition of Art Basel Hong Kong. Visitors can expect work from young stars to modern masters under four broad themes – Galleries, Insights, Discoveries and Encounters. www.artbasel.com
I ndonesi a 112.09% No.9
Sri Lanka 100.28% No.10
I ran 98.67% No.11
Egy pt 94.04% *source, Global Property Guide
[ FOUNDATIONS ]
LITTLE BOXES Slip House in London caught the attention of LOFT when it was recently nominated for the WAN (World Architecture News) House of the Year Award. The property by Carl Turner Architects consists of three milky white boxes stacked on top on each other, topped with a rooftop sky garden. As well as looking good, the house, which sits incongruously on a row of terraces in Brixton, is also one of the most energy efficient in the UK. www.ct-architects.co.uk
BED IN THE CLOUDS At 1,164 feet and 72 storeys, the new JW Marriott Marquis Dubai has qualified as the world’s tallest hotel. To put its height into context, it’s just 290 feet shorter than the Empire State Building. The hotel spans two soaring towers and boasts almost 1,000 guest rooms, nine restaurants and all the other requisite luxury amenities. www.marriott.com
THE NEXT BIG THINGS SKYSCRAPERS SCHEDULED TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS Kingdom Tower, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – 3,281 feet, completion 2018 Sky City, Changsha, China – 2,749 feet, completion 2013 Signature Tower, Jakarta, Indonesia – 2,093 feet, completion 2020
Tianjin Chow Tai Fook Binhai Center, China – 1,739 feet, completion 2016 Dalian Greenland Center, China – 1,699 feet, completion 2017
Profit From Rare Stamps 266% growth in the last 10 years
in the last 6 years
CIP 1897 SG 85 Empress Dowager, 24ca pale rose-red, 30c surch
To combat low yields, market volatility and inflation, many investors are turning to tangible, heritage assets like rare stamps. Uncorrelated with other mainstream assets, investment-grade stamps have a long, strong,
in the last 10 years
GB SG2 1840 1d Black
historical record of growth that can help you diversify your portfolio. The Bloomberg listed GB250 Rarities Index shows this clearly with average compound growth of 13.86% over the last 10 years.
Call us on +852 3975 2988 or +852 3975 2990 Email: email@example.com
Or visit www.stanleygibbons.hk/LFT for our investment guide â€ 266%
growth in the last 10 years, as per the Bloomberg-listed GB250 Rarities Index (STGIGB25). The value of investments can go down as well as up. Please note: stamps are not classified as securities under the Securities and Futures Ordinance and as such are not subject to regulation by the Securities & Futures Commission of Hong Kong. We cannot provide advice on personal stamp valuations.
[ ADVERTORIAL | FOUR SEASONS ]
Four Seasons Place
SOCAM, a member of the Shui On Group, unveils its stunning hotel-branded residence, Four Seasons Place Shanghai
he new Four Seasons Hotel recently opened its doors in Pudong, Shanghai, offering a calm oasis in the heart of this vibrant changing city. The hotel, conveniently located in Lujiazui financial district in the newly-built 21st Century Tower (locally known as the “Jewel box”), rises above the urban melee with art-filled interiors inspired by Shanghai’s Golden Age during the 1920s and 30s art deco period. The hotel features 187 rooms and suites, fabulous options for dining and drinking, an exclusive spa and health club, and flexible event spaces.
At the same time, the exclusive first ever Four Seasons branded residences in China broke ground in the same building. Jointly developed by SOCAM (a member of Shui On Group) and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Four Seasons Place Shanghai spans the top 12 floors crowning 21st Century Tower, overlooking panoramic views of the Huangpu River, the Bund and iconic Lujiazui Pudong. “Four Seasons Place Shanghai combines the qualities of a luxury property with a world class renowned hotel, offering a full range of services, and an exquisite, luxurious lifestyle to 73 distinguished owners”, says Timothy Wu, General Manager, Commercial of SOCAM. The management and service of Four Seasons Place Shanghai will be provided by Four Seasons Hotel Pudong. Residents will enjoy a wealth of five-star hotel facilities, including private access, superb restaurants, in-room dining, spa, business areas, fitness center, an indoor infinity pool, and a
range of personalised services only available with the hotel. With much anticipation, the hotel has already established an exclusive hospitality team to serve its owners. All services will be customised based on the owners’ lifestyles and preferences and every imaginable errand can be handled on their behalf. Acclaimed designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg are responsible for the project’s design. The result combines inspirations from luxury residences in Manhattan, New York, as well as unique Chinese elements. Each suite features a palette of natural textures and colours to create an interior environment that is both modern and understated. The furnishings offer a perfect complement to the sweeping glass façade of the building’s exterior. In addition, rooms are equipped with separate dressing areas and a selection of household goods worthy of Four Seasons presidential suite standards, from furniture, kitchen and washroom utensils to mattresses, towels and toiletries. Since its launch, the property has attracted strong interest, particularly from South East Asian buyers. According to marketing agent Savills Hong Kong, Four Seasons Place Shanghai caters to the growing demand of the affluent elite in Shanghai, and offers an excellent investment opportunity in one of China’s most soughtafter and growing real estate markets. The attentive care offered by the hotel service team, the sleek design, and exclusively private environment make Four Seasons Place Shanghai a unique and limited opportunity to own and enjoy an ultra-luxurious lifestyle. [ L ]
‘Bangkok remains one of the world’s hotspots in the upscale property market, with a continued bright future in sight.’ Bangkok in Bloom - page 32
LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY INVESTMENTS
[ PLACES | HK$100M PROPERTIES ]
COMPARISON Got a spare HK$100m to spare? Check out these luxury homes in London, Majorca and the Maldives.
Compiled by Zoe Belhomme
London ELM TREE ROAD, ST JOHN’S WOOD
This opulent 5-bed family home is perfectly located for hitting the fashionable shops and restaurants of St. John’s Wood as well as being convenient for Central London. Elegant and inviting, the property features its own orangery – ideal for year-round entertainment – and an intimate walled garden for BBQs in the summer months.
[ PLACES | HK$100M PROPERTIES ]
Majorca FINCA, SAN TELMO Perched on a hilltop, this classic Spanish villa has breathtaking mountain and coastal views. Great for outdoor living, the property features spacious terraces, a beautiful pool and a summer kitchen. Thereâ€™s even a detached three-bedroom guesthouse so guests can enjoy their own privacy.
25 [ PLACES | HK$100M PROPERTIES ]
Maldives SONEVA FUSHI RESORT The classic desert island hideaway, this resort is bathed in yearround sunshine, sits on pristine white beaches and offers maximum privacy and seclusion. Each residence has been simply designed to compliment the surrounding natural environment whilst still retaining an undeniable sense of luxury. The resort is even home to its very own colony of nesting turtles! www.soneva.com
[ PLACES | LOCAL LONDON ]
VICTORIA In the first of a new series focusing on London neighbourhoods, Marc Da Silva looks at the rapid transformation taking place in Victoria and the opportunities it presents for homebuyers and investors alike.
ondon’s ‘safe haven’ status among investors has long made it a wealth magnet for foreign investment. The city’s rich history, culture, world class shopping facilities, political stability, reliable legal system, exciting nightlife, not to mention top schools and universities, have all helped to attract rich overseas investors, especially as far as property is concerned. What’s more, the weak British pound has actually made property in the English capital relatively cheaper for foreign buyers, particularly those from Asia. Overseas nationals collectively acquired £2.2 billion worth of new-build homes in central London last year, up from £1.8 billion in 2011, according to Knight Frank. The most active overseas buyers of new-build homes in London, based on the number of transactions, came from Singapore (22%), Hong Kong (16%), China (5%), Malaysia
(4%) and Russia (3%). “Overseas investors are attracted to London due to advantageous currency values, the opportunity to invest in a tangible asset with the prospect of long-term strong capital appreciation, and the recognition that London continues to offer world-leading educational and cultural facilities,” said Neil Batty, head of International Project Marketing at Knight Frank. The influx of overseas buyers, coupled with high domestic demand and an acute shortage of housing, has helped to push property prices to an all-time high in some of central London’s finest addresses, such as Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Pimlico and Belgravia. But while values in these districts have boomed, neighbouring Victoria, located a stone’s throw away, has been somewhat overlooked by many as a place to live. Until now, that is.
27 [ PLACES | LOCAL LONDON ]
Access our private network of unique investments The Private Network is an international collaborative partnership of leading real estate investors, developers, brokers, asset managers, investment bankers and consultants, working together in confidence by sharing vetted opportunities and clients. The Private Network provides access to a portfolio of confidential, off-market and
exclusive opportunities that are diligently screened and selected as the best of market. Bordeaux chateaux and other wine producing properties worldwide Trophy penthouses, villas, estates, and private islands Hotels, resorts, and recreation (golf, ski, spa, marina) asset investment and development Residential development and investment projects Commercial property investment and repositioning Due diligence, acquisition, turnkey management, concierge service
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29 [ PLACES | LOCAL LONDON ]
EMERGING HOTSPOT Offering some of the cheapest properties in central London, Victoria, one of the city’s most important transport hubs, is rapidly transforming into a much smarter district, thanks to large-scale investment. Mainly dull and drab shops and offices are being replaced by chic high-street brands, designer boutiques, world class Grade-A offices and an exciting mix of contemporary apartments, which are much more in keeping with Victoria’s swanky SW1 postcode. “One of the draws for overseas investors is that Victoria is establishing itself as a tech, media and fashion hub with companies like Microsoft, Channel 4, Jimmy Choo and Burberry all located in the area,” said Ed Mead of Douglas & Gordon estate agents. “The improvements being made to Victoria, particularly Victoria Street, and the increase in new commercial space is attracting new high street brands and restaurants.” Mr Mead reports that there are two defined property markets with properties in the best locations such as Ambrosden Avenue demanding high prices and properties in the secondary areas achieving lower values. “However current developments will bring other areas up sharply,” he added.
More new-build homes, shops and Grade-A office space have followed, with many replacing dreary old office blocks, particularly those dominating Victoria Street. New apartments have been developed above a new supermarket, part of the Pimlico Place scheme, while Tachbrook Triangle featuring 39 apartments and 12 houses was also completed last year. Moving forward, Oakvest has submitted planning to restore Grosvenor Gardens House, an 18th century mansion which is part of the prestigious Grosvenor Estate near London Victoria Station, to its former glory. “We identified the Victoria area some years ago now as ripe for regeneration,” said an Oakvest spokesperson. Developer Terrace Hill has released 23 luxury apartments and just over 143,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at One Howick Place, while a further 100 homes are being built by Land Securities at Kings Gate on Victoria Street. Kings Gate, which recently launched in Singapore, forms part of Land Securities’ £2 billion regeneration and investment
NEW DEVELOPMENTS LOFT
The redevelopment of Victoria started four years ago with Wellington House on Wellington Road. Developed by Land Securities, it contains 59 private residential apartments, ranging from one- to four-bedrooms, all of which were sold off-plan. One-third of these were sold in Asia, helping to set the tone for Victoria’s decade-long makeover.
[ PLACES | LOCAL LONDON ]
01, 04, 05 Kings Gate 02 Pimlico Place 03 Grosvenor Gardens
in Victoria, and follows the major refurbishment of 123 Victoria Street, providing 199,000 sq ft of offices and 62 Buckingham Gate, providing 278,000 sq ft of new retail and office space. “Victoria is such a strong location, and it was the one area in Zone 1 that really needed developing,” said Robert Fraser of Fraser & Co. The wide range of mixed-use developments is helping to breathe new life into Victoria, according to Tom Eshelby, director of Land Securities. “With around three million square feet of development under construction, completed or in the planning pipeline, Land Securities is responsible for about 80% of new developments in the area, making Victoria our biggest holding in central London,” said Eshelby. The Land Securities director reports that that while homes in neighbouring areas like Knightsbridge and Belgravia are fetching up to £5,000 per sq ft, residential properties in Victoria are selling for significantly less, at around £1,600 per sq ft. But that’s all set to change.
Overall, Land Securities aims to deliver up to 600 new luxury homes by 2018, capped off by the spectacular 910,000 sq ft Victoria Circle mixed-use project, to be built in partnership with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which will include 170 apartments. By the time the proposed scheme of six new buildings, occupying an island site opposite Victoria Station, launches in 2014, concurrently with the upgrade of Victoria Train Station, Eshelby believes that prices in the scheme and other parts of Victoria could fetch around £2,400/sq ft. “Unlike some long-term London regeneration projects, like Battersea or Kings Cross, which will take about 20 years to complete, Victoria is a medium-term scheme, providing solid prospects for shorter-term capital growth,” added Eshelby. Despite the many new homes being developed, there are still nowhere near enough properties to meet buyer demand, which should contribute to higher property prices moving forward. “Prices in Victoria are set to rise by 40-50% by 2016,” said James Simpson, chairman of property investment firm, Derrington Group. “Overseas property investors are beginning to learn about Victoria’s growth potential; we are seeing an increase in overseas funds requesting assets in this area.” Victoria may not have reaped the full rewards of the recent property boom in central London, but with the area changing beyond recognition, it will be harder for homebuyers to ignore. Contacts: Fraser & Co - www.fraser.uk.com Land Securities - www.landsecurities.com Knight Frank - www.knightfrank.co.uk Douglas & Gordon - www.douglasandgordon.com Oakvest - www.oakvest.co.uk Derrington Group - www.derringtongroup.com
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
Actual view photography from The City Collection apartments on the 20th floor at One Commercial Street. Developer:
852 2822 0630
852 2822 0670
852 2822 0783
852 2822 0662
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.
[ PLACES | BANGKOK ]
Bangkok in Bloom The Thai capitalâ€™s thriving luxury property market.
Words by Dave Stamboulis
33 [ PLACES | BANGKOK ]
ust like its famed Muay Thai boxers, Bangkok takes its punches with grace, and every time it falls down it gets back up several times the stronger and better. The same can be said for the luxury property market in the City of Angels. First there was the political turmoil several years ago, and then came the floods, along with dire predictions of an economic collapse, and yet Bangkok remains one of the worldâ€™s hotspots in the upscale property market as we move through 2013, with a continued bright future in sight. Despite the recent continued appreciation of the Thai baht, investors continue to flock to the Bangkok high-end real estate market and new projects continue to get off the ground each week. Recent reports by one of the cityâ€™s top developers Raimon Land showed that 34 new projects were launched in inner city Bangkok alone, with 61% of them already sold. The prestigious Sukhothai Residences, a 42-storey ultra-luxury condominium next to the famed Sukhothai Hotel was completed by HKR International Limited at the end of 2012, with some of the top floor units selling at over 300,000 baht (HK$80,000) per square metre, the first property in Thailand to pass the 300,000 baht mark. Investors continue to buy into Bangkok property because it remains one of the best deals in the region, offering resort-style living for a fraction of prices elsewhere in Asia. Ms Vivian Sze, Sales
Investors continue to buy into Bangkok because it is one of the best deals in the region
[ PLACES | BANGKOK ]
and Marketing Director of HKRI, commented that “Hong Kong and Singapore property prices are about four or five times Bangkok prices, and Hong Kong investors in particular have realised that for the price of a cramped 50 square metre unit in Hong Kong, they could purchase a 200 square metre luxury condominium in the heart of downtown Bangkok.” Despite fairly restrictive property laws for foreigners (foreigners technically cannot own land, although they can buy condominiums in buildings where 60% of the ownership is Thai) and the pitfalls of financing (local Thai banks do not give loans to foreigners and all money for property purchases must be remitted from overseas banks), investors don’t seem to mind. Thailand’s economic growth rate continues to be very strong and it is expected to receive a windfall from its position as one of the leaders of AEC, the ASEAN Economic Community, an integration of all the Southeast Asian nations, which will take place in 2015 and seems to bode well for investors and businesspeople alike. Samma Kitsin, Director-General of the Real Estate Information Centre says that, “After the AEC becomes effective, most of the multinational firms will move their top management and operation staff to this region. Most of them will need space for work and living, and this will provide opportunities for property firms who develop office and condominium projects.” Bangkok has the advantage of attracting investors not only from the huge Chinese and Southeast 06
35 [ PLACES | BANGKOK ]
01, 03, 04 Sukhothai Residences 02 Oriental Residence 05, 06 St Regis
300 plus square metre penthouses with private pools going for a cool 100 million baht. Not too far around the block, the Thai Contractor’s Asset (a subsidiary of Italthai which owns the Mandarin Oriental) has just launched Bangkok’s latest luxury venue, The Oriental Residence, which feature apartments with polished hardwood floors, stylish imported furnishings and expansive vistas of the city. Marketing Communications Manager Kawita Reungthai says that “although we have all amenities that you would expect from luxury hotels, our primary focus is on long-stay visitors who want to have an elegant residence in Bangkok.” With an increasing middle class jumping onto the Thai condominium bandwagon, it doesn’t look like development here will be slowing down anytime soon, nor prices doing anything but continuing to soar, despite the doomsday predictions of an overbuilt property glut from recent years. The BTS Skytrain and MRT subway lines have continued to expand, opening up more viable locations for city access, upscale new restaurants and rooftop bars continue to launch at a breakneck speed, and Bangkok continues to reap the benefits of being the hub of Southeast Asia.
Asian market, but also from Europe, Australia, and the Americas, and lately there has been a boom in Russian buyers who are attracted to the combination of a warm climate with stellar property choices in which to sink their money. Property management firm Jones Lang LaSalle reported that recent research showed continued excellent results in the luxury condominium field. In the last quarter of 2012 the take-up of completed high-end condominiums remained high, with 65 percent of the units launched in the period sold off-plan. 163 units at the posh Sansiri’s XXXIX development sold within a month of the launch, and Fragrant Development Ltd. recorded a sales rate of 70 percent at its Circle Sukhumvit 11 development. Four new luxury projects were launched in late 2012, including Via 31, Circle Sukhumvit 11, the XXXIX and Focus at Ploenchit, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. These launches added 590 units to the supply pipeline for 2014-15. Capitalising on its reputation as a great bargain luxury hotel city, even many of the big name hotel groups are getting into the condominium business. The St. Regis recently put their 53 residences (which adjoin the hotel) up for sale, with huge
[ PLACES | RESIDENCY ]
World The world is your oyster, as long as you can afford it. Words by Marc Da Silva
o you feel that you are in need of a change? Do you ever think about relocating to another country? If you could pack up and move your family anywhere in the world, where would you go? Overseas emigration visas are not always easy to come by, but they are easier to obtain if you have deep pockets. Having selected some of the worldâ€™s most popular destinations, LOFT offers a brief guide to some of the requirements needed to apply for a visa and eventually qualify for residency in each destination.
37 [ PLACES | RESIDENCY ]
[ PLACES | RESIDENCY ]
USA People seeking a slice of the American dream will require a Green Card which grants authorisation to live and work in the USA on a permanent basis. You can become a permanent resident in several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer based in the US. However, the most popular immigrant investor visa option is the EB-5, created by the Immigration Act of 1990. This visa provides a method of obtaining a Green Card for foreign nationals who invest money in the country. To qualify, individuals do not need a business background, but they must invest at least US$1m (HK$7.8m) or US$500,000 (HK$3.9m) in a â€˜Targeted Employment Areaâ€™ with a view to creating new full-time jobs for at least 10 US workers within two years, excluding the investor and their immediate family. Anyone who does successfully gain residency in the US will find that there are lots of bargain priced properties available to buy and rent across many parts of the country at the moment, following the recent housing crash, which has left prices around 33% below their 2007 market peak level.
The UK has long appealed to investors and entrepreneurs seeking to relocate to London
The tranquil island nation of Mauritius, situated in the southwest Indian Ocean, has long appealed to foreigners, attracting more investment in the process, including growing industrial, financial and tourist sectors. Overseas nationals can secure residency for themselves and their immediate families by acquiring luxury properties in Mauritius on a restricted basis in particular locations through the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS), with a minimum investment of US$500,000 (HK$3.9m). To date the average cost of an IRS residence in Mauritius has been in excess of US$ 1.6m (HK$12m). Additionally a fixed land registration duty of US$70,000 (HK$540,000) needs to be paid, while a further five per cent of the purchase price on the deed of sale is payable by the seller. Most IRS properties are accompanied by extensive and highclass leisure and recreational facilities, such as golf courses or wellness centres. Residents are not charged wealth, inheritance or capital gains taxes, which is a big attraction for foreigners to invest their money in Mauritius.
39 [ PLACES | RESIDENCY ]
UK The UK has long appealed to foreigners, particularly investors, business people and entrepreneurs seeking to relocate to London, which is arguably the world’s best connected city. Britain offers an investment visa aimed at high-value migrants who can invest at least £1 million (HK$11.6m) in a fund or scheme offered by a British-regulated institution. The money could also come in the form of loans, provided the capital was borrowed from a Britishregulated institution and the person can prove a net worth of over £2 million. Immigration for migrants who want to work and live in the UK is also available on a points-based system. Some of the jobs which are included on the ‘shortage occupation’ list include heart specialists, radiologists, radioactive waste managers, petroleum engineers, pediatricians and science and mathematics teachers. Non-EU citizens who qualify for jobs on this list are granted easier access into Britain because employers do not have to prove the position could not have been filled by a British or EU citizen.
With the Spanish property market on its knees, people currently thinking of moving to Spain are in a great position to negotiate a bargain property purchase. Sales activity has slumped in recent years, resulting in a dramatic oversupply of homes on the market, which has caused property prices to plummet across the country, particularly along the coastal areas, typically most popular with foreigners. In a desperate bid to boost foreign demand for homes, Spain is now planning a similar residency scheme to Cyprus for third country nationals, enabling them to automatically gain a temporary visa allowing them to stay in the country for 90 days with the option to extend thereafter. Attractively, the minimum property investment for the residency scheme has been set at 160,000 euros (HK$1.7m), almost half that proposed by Cyprus, which will make it the most generous residency deal currently being offered by a country in the EU.
[ PLACES | RESIDENCY ]
AUSTRALIA Australia offers the ultimate lifestyle package, which explains why four Australian cities featured in the 2012 Global Liveability Survey, with Melbourne securing the top spot. The country is now conducting one of the biggest migration drives in 40 years with thousands of visa places available for overseas nationals who possess the right skills. Immigration authorities have also made the migration process easier by reducing the pass mark needed to qualify for a visa. The latest investor scheme, the Significant Investor Visa, is available to business investors who want permanent residency in Australia and are able to invest Aus$5m (HK$39.9m) for four years in approved investments. Other immigration criteria have also been relaxed, including English proficiency tests. Furthermore, the investor only needs to stay in the country for 160 days over four years to ensure the visa remains valid. The Business Innovation stream is an alternative for people who want to own and manage a new or existing business in Australia, contributing to the countryâ€™s economy in the process. This visa option is extendable after four years.
CYPRUS With its stunning Greek temples, pristine beaches and over 300 days of sunshine a year, Cyprus appeals to both leisure holidaymakers and adventure seekers. The third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea is home to a number of foreigners, particularly the British, although the number of people coming from Russia, the Middle East and Asia is growing. However, the volume of
41 [ PLACES | RESIDENCY ]
Singapore has become a major business hub, partly due to its creative immigration policies designed to attract seasoned entrepreneurs from around the world. In recent years, the easiest route to permanent residency for wealthy foreigners was to invest at least S$10m (HK$62.1m) in Singaporeâ€™s economy, through the Financial Investor Scheme, including up to S$2m (HK$12.4m) to buy a property in Singapore. However, in a bid to curb the influx of foreigners, the government has now scrapped this initiative. Today, there are various work permit schemes available in Singapore for people earning over S$3,000/ month (HK$18,600), including the Employment Pass, Entrepreneur Pass, S Pass and Personalized Employment Pass (PEP), which are initially issued for at least one year and renewable thereafter (with the exception of PEP which is issued for three years and is non-renewable). Investors and entrepreneurs could eventually qualify for permanent residency, along with a spouse, parents or unmarried children. It is estimated that an average of around 36,000 foreigners received permanent residence annually over the past decade.
foreigners buying property here has fallen sharply in the past three years, causing values to fall by up to 30% in the process. But with signs that the market is stabilising, more international homebuyers may wish to take another look at the Cyprus property market. Cyprus offers a residency scheme for third country nationals (those from outside the EU) who are prepared to invest at least 300,000 euros (HK$3.1m) in Cypriot property; the initiative is aimed mainly at wealthy investors from Russia and China. However, they must prove that they have no criminal record, are in good financial standing and agree to deposit 30,000 euros (HK$310,000) for a minimum of three years in a local bank account. Their permit normally arrives in about 45 days. Despite the Eurozone crisis, the countryâ€™s economy remains relatively stable, both unemployment and inflation are low, while Cypriot residents enjoy one of the lowest levels of income tax in Europe. Anyone who spends over 183 days in Cyprus in one tax year can potentially qualify to become a tax resident. The country charges residents no inheritance, gift or wealth taxes, capital gains tax is charged at 20%, while corporation tax is levied at 10%. Pensioners are taxed just 5% on their income.
[ PLACES | HAMILTON GRAND ]
LOFT presents a once-in-a-lifetime property opportunity right on The Old Course, St. Andrews
Words by Zoe Belhomme
et by the 18th green of arguably the most famous golf course in the world, Hamilton Grand is the definition of a ‘one-off,’ a genuinely unique luxury investment opportunity impossible to imitate anywhere else in the world. Sitting proudly at the end of the 18th fairway of the Old Course in St. Andrews, sometimes considered the ‘spiritual home of golf,’ the original building was commissioned by Thomas Hamilton and named The Grand Hotel when it opened over a century ago. For the era, it was at the forefront of luxury hospitality, the first hotel in Scotland to have a pneumatic elevator running between all seven floors as well as hot and cold running water in every room. The hotel often hosted royalty and welcomed many famous names such as Mary Astor, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudyard Kipling and Bing Crosby. In 2009 the property was acquired by Kohler Co. and has now been fully restored to its former glory after a multi-million pound redevelopment. It was re-named “Hamilton Grand” in recognition of its rich history. The property, with its distinctive bell-shaped dome, has been sensitively restored to its traditional Victorian
grandeur and transformed into a stunning collection of luxury homes. The development comprises twenty-six elegant apartments that range in size from 1,133 to 2,780 square feet. Each of the luxury properties feature individual characteristics that have been painstakingly preserved from the original building. In addition to the apartments the palatial penthouse features a spacious private balcony and a 360-degree view of the course and surrounding Scottish countryside. Residents and their guests enjoy access to the very best of Scottish hospitality including a golf concierge, complimentary butler service and access to the amenities at the awardwinning Old Course Hotel. Residency also includes exclusive membership and guaranteed tee times at The Duke’s – a course ranked as one of the Top 100 Courses in the UK by Golf World Magazine. The historic town of St. Andrews is conveniently located one hour’s drive from Edinburgh airport and two hours from Glasgow airport so it’s easily accessible from almost anywhere in the world. With suh a limited number of
units available and an unparalleled location, Hamilton Grand poses a solid opportunity to invest in a unique luxury development steeped in rich golfing heritage. LOFT invites you to meet the developers when they come to Hong Kong in May – email firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure you receive an invite. Prices start from £1.2m (HK$14m).
ST. ANDREWS – THE HOME OF GOLF St. Andrews is one of Scotland’s oldest towns, dating back to the 12th century. It is a seaside resort, the birthplace of golf and home to Scotland’s oldest university. St. Andrews University is also where the current Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, first met. With a permanent residential population of only 17,000 there are few, if any, places of such modest size that are so well known around the world. LOFT
Some of the other popular activities include horseback rides along West Sands Beach, kite-surfing on the North Sea, seal spotting in the sand dunes, historic tours and shopping along the quaint high street.
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 ons 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
FACES “A lot of the Hong Kong community translates luxury into dollar signs. But we try to think more about character.” Ed Ng - page 46
INTERVIEWS, PROFILES AND PEOPLE
[ FACES | ED NG ]
Ed Ng, co-founder of design company AB Concept has just completed The Masterpiece, a luxury residential development in TST. Interview by Dominique Afacan
ulti award-winning design practice AB Concept is busy. The firm has just released their first book, The Language Of Luxe, a beautiful collection of some of their most impressive projects. These include the W Retreat & Spa in Bali, Pacific Place Apartments and now The Masterpiece. You’ve just completed the duplex at The Masterpiece – give us the lowdown! It’s one of the tallest residential buildings in Hong Kong, located at the top of K11, an exclusive art mall in TST. The unit is one of a kind, you couldn’t hope for better. The developer treated it like a jewel. They wanted to make sure that it was beautifully done – which was where we came in! How do you make a luxury residence stand out in the crowded HK market? A lot of the Hong Kong community translates luxury into dollar signs. But we try to think more about character. When we first saw the unit we were blown away by the view. We decided to make this the focal point – as it is a luxury in itself. Which brands did you use for the interiors of The Masterpiece? To name just a few, a pendent light sculpture by Sharon Marston, a horse hair carpet by Kyle Bunting and furniture by Ralph Pucci, Giorgetti and Promemoria.
How did you start AB Concept? I’ve worked at a hospitality design firm, an architecture firm and as an owner’s rep – so I’ve seen every side of the story. When I met Terence – we both felt it was time to do something of our own. We felt we had good synergy – when an architect and an interior designer come together it’s a perfect match.
understand art, the more they will understand our work. You can measure how expensive the marble you use is, you can translate your timber flooring into dollar signs, but art is the only thing that in so many ways is defined by taste.
Which AB project are you most proud of? Usually projects where our clients give us 100% trust turn out to be the most successful. A good design needs a good designer, and a good designer needs a good client with a good brief!
Do you feel that Hong Kong’s art and culture scene is evolving? How does this affect your work? Art Basel is coming to Hong Kong for the first time in May, which is very exciting. I think it’s a big step. The more people
Favourite building in HK? Definitely OPUS. It’s one of a kind, it will not happen again. We’re very proud to be partaking in the design of one of the units – we’re working on it now with the residents. It’s an amazing space.
What or who are you inspired by? Andrée Putman – who sadly just passed away. She had a very good grasp of timeless luxury. Also Tom Ford – particularly his use of material, colour and his exploration of luxury.
How have you incorporated current design trends in the design? At AB Concept we always say we do not follow trends. Trends come and go – everything has to have a story and a reason and that way it will last. That’s our philosophy.
What is your ideal project? We already work with high-end luxury hospitality brands – now my ideal project is more about the destination. The more exotic, the better as we get more inspired the further we go. We just got confirmation for our first project in Sydney – we’re doing a refurbishment of the Shangri-La there which is a good start!
[ FACES | AFFORDABLE ART FAIR ]
FAIR DEAL An interview with Will Ramsay, creator of the Affordable Art Fair, now a regular fixture on Hong Kong’s cultural calendar. Interview by Dominique Afacan
So how did the AAF begin? My own art history began with the launch of my London gallery ‘Will’s Art Warehouse’, back in 1996. I founded that space with the aim of making art more accessible; I wanted to help people learn more about art and also to dispel the misconception that you have to be a billionaire to buy it! From these founding roots, I was inspired to establish the Affordable Art Fair, which I did back in 1999 in London.
Tell us a bit about what to expect when it lands in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong we are bringing together over 80 galleries, continuing on our quest to demystify the art world and provide a fun, inspiring and pressure-free environment in which to view and buy art. There will be a huge array of art available, with work by young emerging artists sitting alongside art by established, wellknown names from both local Hong Kong and international galleries.
Why did you choose Hong Kong as the fair’s next hub? Hong Kong has a great interest in contemporary art, this is clear from the volume of local traffic to existing art fairs in the city. As such a hugely savvy market for art we have always had our eye on Hong Kong and are very pleased to report that local interest has been fantastic with over 60% of galleries participating from Asian countries, a third of which are local grass-roots galleries.
exhibition is being curated by Eric Leung and around 12 Hong Kongbased artists are working on new pieces to present in March. And any other artists you have your eye on? It is fantastic to be able to say that in year one we have 60% of galleries taking part close to home here in Asia, and importantly with a strong presence from Hong Kong itself. I am especially excited to see what these galleries showing for the first time will bring to light in 2013 and on-going to the Affordable Art Fair family!
Any emerging artists in particular LOFT readers should be looking at for investment purposes? Affordable Art Fair is delighted to be presenting an area at the fair dedicated to Young Talent. This
HONG KONG’S EVOLVING ART SCENE MISSED THE FAIR? CHECK OUT LOFT’S TOP FIVE NEW HK GALLERIES. Studio Rouge: Studio Rouge in Sheung Wan specialises in emerging Chinese artists (they already have two galleries in Shanghai). The best bit? Lots of the work is affordable so you can take away your favourite piece. www.studiorouge.cn AP Contemporary: This new gallery in Sheung Wan focuses on contemporary art from BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Until March 24th catch Pu Jie’s Empire of the Ants, portraying stories of Shanghai residents. www.apcontemporary.com Collins and Kent: This gallery seeks to attract customers through its art investment schemes, allowing everyday afficionados access to art by masters such as Picasso and Andy Warhol. Their airy showroom on Hollywood Road is by appointment only. www.collinskentint.com.hk White Cube: Currently showing Damien Hirst’s Entomology Cabinets and Paintings, Scalpel Blade Paintings and Colour Charts (see image, right), White Cube Hong Kong opened in March last year and has since hosted exhibitions from the likes of Gilbert & George, Cerith Wyn Evans and Anselm Kiefer. www.whitecube.com Galerie Perrotin: Designed by Andre Fu this 8,000 square foot gallery enjoys fantastic views over Victoria Harbour. The founder, Emmanuel Perrotin, opened the original in Paris, where he hosted fantastic contemporary art exhibitions, not to mention some incredible gallery parties. www.perrotin.com
[ FACES | AFFORDABLE ART FAIR ]
So just how affordable is the AAF? The price ceiling for art displayed at the fair is HK$100,000, so contrary to its name, the fair appeals to a high net worth/art-collector audience as well as to the first-time buyer and fledgling collectors.
51 [ FACES | AJAX LAW ]
Ten minutes with…
AJAX LAW CO-FOUNDER OF ONE PLUS PARTNERSHIP, AN AWARD-WINNING DESIGN FIRM IN HONG KONG.
Best thing about my job: It is surprising and unanticipated since different clients have different requirements. There is a sense of satisfaction and achievement when we turn our new ideas into reality. My proudest moment: We were honoured to receive the equivalent of an Oscar in the design industry; the prestigious Andrew Martin Award for Designer of the Year 2012. Most challenging project: The standards and expectations from clients are getting higher and higher and we ourselves also continuously strive to improve. We try to make sure each project is better than the previous one. So for us, each “next project” is the most challenging. Current design obsession: We are obsessed with ‘form’ as it can make interior design more threedimensional. Our Pixel Box cinema project in Wuhan evolved from the idea that films are composed of images formed by tiny pixels, so ‘pixel’ became the theme of the design. The entrance of the cinema is decorated with multiple square-shaped strips protruding from the wall, featuring the name of the cinema. Square blocks of different heights became tables, seats, cashier counters and serving counters. Design trend I am bored of: I am bored of the traditional Hong Kong style of design, like using mirrors as wall finishings and cream-coloured wooden flooring. They are too stereotypical and generic. Design philosophy: Using a particular theme for each project is our leading design philosophy. Alternative career: I cannot think of another career I would enjoy! My own home is: As a home should be, the most peaceful place for rest, and it is mainly designed with comfort in mind.
Why One Plus is different: We strive for continuous change that brings improvement and new energy, instead of stability.
Easiest way to update a room: Rearrange the furniture.
[ FACES | PECHAKUCHA ]
SOUND BITES The arrival of social media platform PechaKucha in Hong Kong is music to the ears of the city’s creatives. Words by Catherine Shaw
hen Tokyo-based architects Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein first decided to host a small gathering at their Shibuya offices – to chat informally with friends about their current design projects – they had no idea that ten years later it would evolve into a global social media platform active in more than 600 cities around the world. “It started as a fun gathering where creative people could get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps – just about anything, really, and evolved as more people became interested and were looking for a chance to talk about things that inspired them,” says Klein. The gathering’s phenomenal success is in large part thanks to Dytham and Klein’s inspired antidote to the danger of information overload: limiting speakers to exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds and following images that advance automatically in a beat-theclock-style performance. “We very quickly developed what we call the ‘20x20’ format where each person has exactly twenty seconds to talk about twenty slides,” explains Dytham.
“The limits had to be created because architects in particular love to talk and once they get hold of a microphone or images of their work the danger is that they’ll go on forever!” The strictly monitored time limit allowed the duo to pack several presentations into an entertaining evening that they dubbed PechaKucha (pronounced: peh-CHAKH-cha) after the Japanese onomatopoeia for chit-chat or people talking too much. The concept proved popular in Tokyo and then went viral taking root in cities across the world from Aleppo to Istanbul, with new cities added every few days. “We have never asked anyone to run a PechaKucha night, people ask us,” say Klein and Dytham, who have insisted the original non-profit and volunteer elements remain at the core of the concept. “We only planned it as a one-off event, but then people asked us to run it again and again and after about three years people started thinking it would be great to have one in their own city.” Sonia Chow, co-founder of Hong Kong-based design studio ChowPourianLab, who is responsible for arranging PechaKucha Nights in Hong Kong, says
[ FACES | PECHAKUCHA ]
she first heard about the event while she was living in Japan. “I thought it was a great way to meet other likeminded people and potential collaborators. It was such an interesting crowd and we would always bump into friends as well as meeting new people who became friends. PechaKucha Nights were always entertaining, inspiring and fun. I also liked the mix of established and emerging creative talent and that it was open to Japanese and foreigners which helped connect you with people you might not meet otherwise.” Chow, who presented her work on projects including furniture and lighting, publication design, and fashion at Tokyo’s PechaKucha and the event’s inaugural Night in Prague in 2007 started organising the Hong Kong series in January 2012. “You always learn something; some people speak about everyday things in a new light while others discuss the esoteric, but the happy collision of unrelated topics is what makes it so unexpected and inspiring. Both times after I presented, I was approached by people who were interested in collaborating.” “For me, standout presentations are the ones which introduce something little known or unexpected, delivered with humour. It’s also nice to get a peek into the individual’s creative process and what happens behind the scenes; insight into the work that might not be obvious upon first glance. Otherwise why tell the story if there’s nothing to add?” Recent presentations around the world include Ariel Schlesinger’s Minor Urban Disasters, a collection
of photographs taken in different cities around the world; and designer Ian Lynam’s ‘Letters on Cuba,’ photographs of typography seen in and around Cuba. Chow says since 2012, when she took over as city organiser for Hong Kong, she has focused on bringing the event back to the original grassroots spirit of the PechaKucha “mothership” in Tokyo as originally devised by Klein Dytham architecture: “a PechaKucha of wild cards – eclectic, fun and full of surprises.” “It’s important to note that this is an event where anyone can participate. It’s “bottom up” rather than
POWERFUL PLATFORM In some countries PechaKucha has provided a useful platform for other causes. In Japan it emerged as a powerful platform for inspiring creative solutions to help Tohoku after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. For instance, ArchiAid, a group of Japan’s leading architects which joined forces with students of architecture to help design and rebuild some of the hardest hit coastal areas, have regularly presented and raised funds through PechaKucha Nights and the event’s website. Inspire Japan an iBook available free from iTunes, presents November 2012’s reports on projects from leading Japanese architects including SAANA and Atelier BOW WOW.
55 [ FACES | PECHAKUCHA ]
They call online platforms like Facebook or Twitter ‘social networks’ but they are not really; they are anti-social networks. We are a real social network.
“top down,” so in addition to established professionals the floor is also open to emerging talent, entrepreneurs and students. There is an open invitation to anyone who would like to speak to get in touch.” “This is the beauty of PechaKucha Nights,” agrees Dytham. “Astrid’s daughter presented her own artwork when she was five years old, my mother [aged sixtynine] presented about her elaborate wedding cake creations. Good PechaKucha presentations are the ones that uncover the unexpected – unexpected talent, unexpected ideas. Some PechaKuchas tell great stories about a project or a trip. Some are incredibly personal, some are incredibly funny, but all are very different.” Dytham says that as PechaKucha has spread they have been surprised to find how few cities have public spaces where people can show and share their work in a relaxed way. “There is a lack of space and opportunity, especially for younger designers.” In Tokyo the event is held in KDa’s Tokyo “gallery/ lounge/bar/club/creative kitchen”, SuperDeluxe, but elsewhere nights are just as likely to be held in a bar, private homes or churches, beaches, and reportedly even at a quarry. “People like to get together physically,” observes Dytham. “They call online platforms like Facebook or Twitter ‘social networks’ but they are not really; they are anti-social networks. People want to get together and have a chat and a drink and PechaKucha is a great way to do it. We are a real social network.”
[ FACES | THOMAS HEATHERWICK ]
LOFT speaks to Thomas Heatherwick about the inspiration and processes behind designing the extraordinary.
From Hong Kong’s Pacific Place, a HK$2.1 billion elegantly modern makeover to the wildly innovative Shanghai Seed Cathedral (see left) and more recently, the inspired redesign of London’s iconic Routemaster Bus, Heatherwick Studio is redefining the meaning of good design. You’ve worked on a diverse range of projects. Is there a common theme? When you are near something that has been made with love and special care you want to touch and experience it. I think that almost subliminal element is underrated in design now but often those qualities are more important than the big design idea. As people we haven’t changed our human scale but projects have; they get bigger all the time but the way we interact at our own level has not changed at all. Our hands are the same size as always. How do you develop a concept at the start of a project? I believe that for every project it is my duty to ‘grow’ something for that place so you have to understand the location and background very well. I like to spend time early in
[ FACES | THOMAS HEATHERWICK ]
Words by Catherine Shaw
a project thinking about it. People don’t understand that you have to go through a process and dig down and then come back up again. Typically people ask me to do something and then ask me to show them something very early on. The only time I was given what I asked for was when I designed a temple in Japan for a Japanese Buddhist priest of the Shingon-Shu sect. It was a very big responsibility because it was a very special piece of land near Kagoshima where the final battle between Saigo Takamori with his samurai soldiers and the imperial forces took place. The project was completely different to anything I had worked on before or since. I asked the client for 16 weeks to think about it properly and for him not to chase me for early ideas. He just understood – it was actually more terrifying to be given the time.
You grew up surrounded by artistic influences: what do you remember as being especially inspirational? My mother owned a specialist bead shop in Notting Hill and was so creative. She had eclectic interiors with giant basketsfilled with a jumble of beads and she encouraged people to pick up and touch them so they could enjoy the tactile relationship. She even had a sign up twenty years ago that said ‘Please touch’. Her mother was a German–Jewish refugee who was also very artistic and talented, especially in brushwork. She led Marks & Spencer’s textile department and introduced many of the modern bright patterns that emerged in the post-war period. She was very determined and unfazed by anything – she even changed her career in her sixties and started
working on art therapy. She wanted to work and create and only stopped when she was 93. I was exposed to her determination and learned you have to be fearless in some of your projects. For example, it’s hard to make any building not leak, not least a building like the Shanghai Seed Cathedral where we drilled 66,000 holes in it. You apply your mind to a problem and then solve it. What part of a project do you enjoy most? I enjoy making things. For me the interesting thing is the strategy behind the project. For example you could look at the Shanghai Seed Cathedral and just see a hairy building, but you have to break it down into logical parts. People like to think that an individual thinks up these creative ideas in the bath but we have budgets and a strategy. With this project we knew there was a danger the safe option would mean that the United Kingdom would build something big and talk about tea and umbrellas. We argued that in the context of 250 pavilions we had to be extraordinary to stand out. It was logical that the safe option was too risky so the budget
Images by Iwan Baan
[ FACES | THOMAS HEATHERWICK ]
was best spent on doing one thing really well. The British government had the confidence to follow that through and see it for what it was. We built on 1/6th of the site and showed the United Kingdom’s expertise in thinking about public space. That made us stand out; our project was the smallest and in a sense the calmest. We also realised that there would be 100,000,000 visitors so it would be physically impossible for them all to come inside so the outside had to be interesting too. The interior was the exterior, although 8,000,000 did actually come inside.
How do you select which projects to take on? I have never turned down a good project so I find it a natural thing where we only take on projects where we feel we are the right people to do it. Sometimes if someone else can do it just as well we won’t go forward with it. The studio has been going for 18 years and I’ve been lucky to gather around great people so now I have the capacity to work and manage multiple projects. We have 81 staff and really good designers and architects but each project we work on is like an apprenticeship for us. Pacific Place in Hong Kong was an amazing project; it is such a massive building but is also a project of many hidden details like incorporating anti-slip dots on the rooftop glass design or elegant roadside kerbs. What inspires you most? My projects inspire me. I am lucky because the variety of things we do recharge each other – to be thinking of a power station and then a London bus means that the differences trigger thoughts that may inform something else. I am very interested in moments where there are breakthroughs when people find an area that has not been dealt with before. How would you describe yourself? I don’t have to. I understand that people like to know but the verb to design doesn’t have a judgment.
01 Shanghai Seed Cathedral exterior 02 Thomas Heatherwick 03 Pacific Place bathrooms 04 Final touches – Pacific Place 05 Routemaster detail 06 Pacific Place 07 Shanghai Seed Cathedral - interior 08 Routemaster bus
Are you an emotional person? People who lose their tempers waste a lot of energy and destroy relationships; that is not my temperament. I do feel strongly about every project I’ve taken on. Unless I feel scared I won’t take it on. Worry is key if you are interested
in making things that haven’t existed before and testing boundaries. I get worried when my team doesn’t worry – for me it is about caring and anticipating the different scenarios and heading off the ones you don’t need. Our team will often worry something into existence.
[ FACES | THOMAS HEATHERWICK ]
I was exposed to my mother’s determination and learned you have to be fearless
[ FACES | SECRET AGENTS ]
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENT PROPERTIES, CBRE
OWNER AND PRINCIPAL OF ENGEL & VÖLKERS HONG KONG
DIRECTOR OF EXECUTIVE HOMES
SECRET AGENTS Three experts set out what they think 2013 will have in store for Hong Kong’s property market. Interviews by Nicky Burridge
What is your forecast for property prices in Hong Kong during 2013? Rebecca Shum (RS): I think Hong Kong property prices will remain stable during 2013. The new government is focusing on increasing supply and, while it is unlikely to increase this year, if people are expecting government measures, they are likely to delay their buying decisions. Chris Liem (CL): We look at the luxury segment of the market, where there will be continued interest and increased demand for properties at the top end, with a general 10% rise in prices across the board. But the forecast carries a significant caveat, as it is largely dependent on government policy. Helena Wong (HW): I think 2013 will be quite stable. The luxury property market is continuing to experience high demand, particularly at the top end of the market.
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[ FACES | SECRET AGENTS ]
What are the main risks to the Hong Kong property market? RS: An increase in interest rates and a change to the exchange rate. The Hong Kong dollar has been cheaper over the past two years, making the market more attractive to international buyers. CL: The Hong Kong property market is largely governed by macroeconomic factors. The main risk is interest rate rises. The second major risk is government intervention to stabilise prices in Hong Kong. HW: The main risks to the market are economic factors such as interest rates and government policy.
What impact will the slowdown in the Chinese economy have on the Hong Kong market? RS: There is a very strong correlation between the Chinese economy and Hong Kong. As more and more Chinese people get wealthy, they take their money out of China, and Hong Kong is always one of the first places they look to. But although figures show a slowdown in GDP, I think the Chinese economy is still doing well, so I would not overplay it. CL: In my opinion, the creation of wealth in China is an ongoing trend. Although the economy may slow in China, the demand for securing an individual or familyâ€™s future will override other considerations, including price. HW: If there is a slowdown in the Mainland economy that would affect Hong Kong, but right now, we are not seeing that yet.
01 684 Clear Water Bay Road 02 Kennedy Park 03 Ritz-Carlton Residences, Bangkok
63 [ FACES | SECRET AGENTS ]
Which districts in Hong Kong do you think will perform best during the year? RS: Condos in Central are always likely to do well. CL: I think the Peak will be the surprise performer this year. HW: Infrastructure improvements, such as the upcoming MTR stations in Sai Ying Pun, Kennedy Town and Ap Lei Chau will make these areas become more popular with potential buyers.
As Chinese people become wealthier they take their money out of China, and Hong Kong is one of the places they look to
What should investors buying a property during 2013 look for? RS: Investors should look for properties on the secondary market, rather than buying new properties directly from developers, to get a good deal. CL: Investors should look for properties with strong demographic trend potential and regions that will see key infrastructure improvements. Noteworthy areas include the Mid-Levels because of the tight supply and prime location, Kennedy Town with its upcoming MTR station, and Sheung Wan because of the gentrification and redevelopment of the district. HW: There is always a good time to buy property, as different landlords, sellers and purchasers have different needs. There is demand for serviced apartments and nicely renovated flats for bachelors or young couples, so these are good investments.
Are there any major developments coming to market this year that you think represent a good investment opportunity? RS: In Hong Kong we are currently marketing 684 Clear Water Bay Road, which consists of four three-storey European-style houses. For those looking to invest overseas, I like the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Bangkok. CL: In the Mid-Levels, Kennedy Park has now sold all of its units. This was a fantastic opportunity to lock into a prime location in a new building. HW: There are a couple of new developments, Gramercy and Azura, that have recently come up in the Mid-Levels. Both buildings are very centrally located, and within walking distance of Soho and Central with all of their amenities.
How do you expect overseas property markets to perform this year?
RS: Overseas markets could perform better than the domestic one this year, because of government measures to cool the Hong Kong market. Emerging markets such as China, Bangkok and Malaysia could offer a higher yield of 5% to 6%. CL: The US is in recovery and offers an abundance of opportunities, while opportunities in China represent an excellent chance to gain prime location exposure in key cities. Germany is really on fire, but there is the lack of available stock. Ireland, Spain, and possibly Greece are all also on the radar. HW: I think the property markets in Asia generally, and Hong Kong in particular, will do better this year than markets in other overseas countries.
[ FACES | DYLAN BAKER-RICE ]
It’s an interesting time in Hong Kong, where the identity of the place is being rediscovered – not as a replica or extension of the West but with its own identity. An interview with Hong Kong-based architect Dylan Baker-Rice. Words by Madeleine Fitzpatrick
Architect Dylan Baker-Rice is principal of AFFECT-T, which he founded in London in 2009 after a number of years working with Zaha Hadid. The firm opened an office in Hong Kong two years ago, and puts an emphasis on sustainable design. How did you get into sustainable architecture, and what’s it been like bringing those ideas to Hong Kong? My first degree was in anthropology – we studied a lot about sustainable communities, and somehow that grew into an interest in architecture. It wasn’t until I moved to New York after graduating that I started working for a sustainable architect, who did low-income housing. It seems like with Western projects, there’s much more emphasis on sustainable design – it’s a big-ticket item. With projects in Hong Kong, it’s more nascent. There are no government regulations. Everyone recognises that the future’s in that direction. But for now, cost is still the most important thing.
What are you working on at the moment and how have you put your stamp on it? A residence we’re working on right now is Bright Curves at Jardine’s Lookout, where we’re using traditional Chinese building techniques. We’re doing terrazzo floors, so we have traditional craftsmen to do that. We’re doing a screen as well, but
we’re making it out of pieces of porcelain. There’s an area in China that specialises in porcelain and has done for hundreds of years, so we’re talking with a potter about casting individual pieces and having them fit together in a wall of porcelain flowers. We’re also experimenting with colour. Some of our projects – partially because of us, partially because of the clients – tend to be all white. The modern space is neutral – that’s been the case for a while. When you look at more traditional Chinese buildings, though, they’re really colourful. You usually only see them in black-and-white photos, and you’re just drawn to the wood and the tiles and the shapes of things, but when you see these houses in person, they have all these bright colours and they’re vibrant; they’re exciting spaces. We’d like to bring that flavour to Bright Curves. We heard that your firm is also designing a ‘green village’ in the New Territories? Yes – in Sai Kung. We’re working on that with two developers – it was the major
project that brought us to Hong Kong. Our main drive there is to create a more sustainable community. The idea is to create shared garden space between the houses so the residents not only get a view and have parking and more space, but they also have easy access to nature. How do the local climate and landscape affect the design decisions you make? We’re working with terrazzo flooring a lot. A lot of floors used to be made in this way because it was cooler – it holds the heat during the night and radiates it, and it holds the cool during the day. As far as materials are concerned, we’re working a lot more with wood, and looking more at using local woods. I’m also interested in the notion of the classic Chinese screen – playing with different ideas of dividing space, but not with walls: with something that still allows air circulation, still allows a visual connection. It’s much more appealing to have a connection with the climate than to close the windows and breathe recycled, air-conditioned air. Do you think people in Hong Kong are becoming more open to a return to traditional design principles? It’s an interesting time in Hong Kong, where the identity of the place is being
rediscovered – not as a replica or extension of the West but as its own identity. Last year the Pritzker Prize, which is sort of like the Nobel Prize of architecture, went to a Chinese architect [Wang Shu] for the first time. You’d almost describe his buildings as traditionally modern – they have very strong roots in rural, simple architecture, but the forms of them are modern. I think there’s a growing interest in the identity – on the interiors side: so, rediscovering what Chinese living means. With all the building that’s happening in Hong Kong – with, say, West Kowloon – there are a number of cultural buildings that might hopefully be more Chinese, or have more of a connection to Hong Kong than, say, London or Paris. Of course Hong Kong wants big-name, international architects. But what would be interesting is to see the smaller-scale buildings done by local firms; to see how the local design talent – by local I mean within Hong Kong, China and South East Asia – can start to showcase a new, evolving style.
01 Dylan Baker-Rice 02, 04, 05 Affect-T projects; King Yin Lei, Shoreditch loft, Korean Library 05
03 Bright Curves
SPACES “Think tinpanelled ceilings and walls, and red rooster weather vanes that double as spotlights.” Design City - page 72
INTERIORS AND ARCHITECTURE
[ SPACES | BY DESIGN ]
BY DESIGN LOFT loves eco-friendly products
Get that floating feeling with this balloon bench. HK$54,000, www.ecofirstart.com
Simple design and materials create statement furniture. HK$299, www.milkdesign.com.hk
H E A D LI GH T
Choose between oak and dark cherry for this quirky lamp. HK$1,780, www.homeless.hk
B OWL OVE R
Beach-inspired bowls made from bamboo. HK$500, www.escapetoparadise.com.au
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LO V E H E A RT S
Driftwood hearts make great mood-lifters. From HK$195. www.tree.com.hk
F R A ME GAM E
Love the curves on this chair made from salvaged wood. Price on request. www.ryanfrank.net
BE A C H B A L L
Very slick frescabol set for your travels. HK$1,300, www.sidewalk.hk
Paper vases with practical steel interiors. HK$480, www.ecols.com
E CO V A S E
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NEW & NOTED Decadent design hotels to inspire travel
TASMANIA Avalon Coastal Resort
PENANG Macalister Mansion
LONDON The Ampersand Hotel
SHANGHAI Twelve at Hengshan
Perched on a headland on the dramatic east coast of Tasmania, the Avalon Coastal Resort offers total privacy; despite having four exterior glass walls. Designed by award-winning architect, Craig Rosevear, the contemporary creation accommodates up to six guests, and offers direct access to a secluded beach.
This lovingly restored colonial mansion named after Sir Norman Macalister, one of the first British Governors of the city, brings an unusual hotel option to Penang. The Ministry of Design, based in Singapore has carefully conserved the heritage space but infused it with cool, contemporary design elements.
THE AMPERSAND HOTEL, LONDON
TWELVE AT HENGSHAN, SHANGHAI
This cool and colourful hotel in the heart of Kensington is perfectly located for exploring London’s many museums and galleries. The 111 boutique rooms reflect five themes inspired by Victorian influences – botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy – a concept dreamt up by Dexter Moren Associates.
This 171-room hotel offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of one of Shanghai’s most busy and cosmopolitan areas. The five-star hotel in the French concession neighbourhood is undoubtedly luxurious - but it’s the thoughtful and elegant contemporary design touches that make it so distinctive.
MACALISTER MANSION, PENANG
AVALON COASTAL RESORT, TASMANIA
[ SPACES | DESIGN CITIES ]
SINGAPORE This Southeast Asian island-state is a heady blend of Old World charm and New World savvy.
Restaurant Andre: One of the top tables in the city. Taiwanese-born chef Andre Chang serves up award-winning nouvelle French cuisine in a shophouse that’s rich with historical resonance. The space is a statement of modern chic, frequented by a well-heeled clientele who come for Chang’s artfully presented cuisine. www.restaurantandre.com
Eraso, and fete on delicious morsels devised by British chef Jason Atherton such as Iberico burgers, baked bone marrow and beef tartare with confit egg yolk. It’s been one year since this 19-seater hole-in-thewall tapas joint opened but it clearly hasn’t lost any of its lustre. www.esquina.com.sg
La Cantine: Chef Bruno Menard (who won three Michelin stars in Tokyo at L’Osier) gives classic French fare a playful twist in this brasserie, oozing with a tonguein-cheek je ne sais quoi. Think wooden chandeliers resembling famous Parisian buildings, but hung upside down; tinpanelled ceilings and walls, and red rooster weather vanes that double as spotlights. www.lecantine.sg
One-Altitude: This multi-concept destination checks all the right boxes with its roof-top bar and gallery – killer views, beautiful crowd, a stylish setting and of course, delicious cocktails. If dinner is on the cards, check out Stellar (part of the complex) on the 62nd floor, which serves a breezy modern menu comprising sashimi alongside wood-fired grilled meats and oysters. www.1-altitude.com
Esquina: Perch on the specially designed stools made of machine parts and doorknobs, take in the charming interiors by Singapore-based architect Antonio
Ku Dé Ta: This Balinese import and rooftop oasis made a splash when it opened at the top of the Marina Bay Sands, with a sleek multi-tiered restaurant
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Go Local EthanK is a Singapore-based label known primarily for its indulgent bags made from exotic lizard and python skin.
MINT (MUSEUM OF IMAGINATION AND NOSTALIGIA WITH TOYS) IS A VINTAGE TREAT serving modern Asian cuisine, a lounge perched right by an infinity pool and a sky bar with an iconic circular bar. www.kudeta.com.sg Chye Seng Huat Hardware: With its old-fashioned art deco façade and heavy iron grills, it looks exactly like its name suggests at first glance – a traditional hardware store. But step inside and you’ll find a coffee joint that is beautifully decked out in natural tones with lots of metal, brass and wood for contrast, laced with a sleek industrial edge. www.cshhcoffee.com
fantastical themes – Industrial Glam, Eccentricity, Is It Just Black and White, and Creature Comforts – by award-winning Singaporean agencies Asylum, Phunk Studio and fFurious. www.wanderlusthotel.com
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands: From Hermès and Hervé Léger to Liuligongfa, and with over 300 other shops in this sprawling compile, part of the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, the Shoppes caters to the well-heeled cosmopolite. Check out the two glass-and-steel Crystal Pavilions on a floating island, one of which houses the world’s largest Louis Vuitton boutique. www.marinabaysands.com
Fullerton Bay Hotel: This five-star property boasts plenty of design credentials, not least of which is Andre Fu’s distinctive stamp. The design maestro had a hand in creating the hotel’s plush expansive lobby and its three stunning restaurants. Built completely over water, you’ll go to sleep with unparalleled views of Marina Bay. www.fullertonbayhotel.com
Haji Lane: For something off the beaten track, head over to Haji Lane, a tiny lane lined with heritage shophouses in Singapore’s Kampong Glam neighbourhood. Here’s where you’ll find everything from ribbons and silks at traditional fabric shops to hip boutiques such as Know It Nothing (www.knowitnothing.com), which offers menswear and accessories.
Esplanade by the Bay: Known amongst locals as ‘the durian’ when it first opened and for good reason. This arts centre designed by local architects DPA, with UK-based Michael Wilford & Partners, boasts two distinctive shells cladded with aluminium sunshades that resemble the king of fruit. Inside, there is a concert hall,
OUT & ABOUT
a theatre, a shopping mall, restaurants and a library. Red Dot Design Museum: Asia’s first contemporary design museum is housed in Singapore’s former traffic police headquarters, a colonial building now painted a blaring fire-engine red. Its latest 2012/2013 Winner’s Exhibition showcases 1,000 Red Dot Award winners from over 40 countries. museum.red-dot.sg
MUST-VISIT Gardens By the Bay: This is Singapore’s garden in the city and what a sight for sore eyes it is. Sprawled over some 250 acres, it is a new age nature reserve and includes two conservatories that are the world’s largest greenhouses without columns, thanks to an innovative steel grid design. There is also the Supertree Grove, stunning vertical gardens up to 16-storeys high that are embedded with photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy, and planted with more than 160,000 plants.
Singapore is full to bursting with millionaires. So if you’re looking to sample a slice of the high life, you’re in the right place. Start with the Jewel of Pangea cocktail, a bank-busting US$28,000, adorned with a 1 carat diamond. Then head back to the Chairman Suite at the Marina Bay Sands – a snip at US$13,700.
S PLA S H T H E C A S H
Wanderlust: Located in Little India and housed in a 1920s former school building, Wanderlust pairs Old World charm with imaginative design. The four-storey boutique hotel has just 29 rooms in four
[ SPACES | DREAM HOME ]
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HOME This issue we step inside a home on The Peak, with interiors by Archasia Words by Penny Shannon
his 4,195 square foot townhouse on The Peak was built in 2003 but was recently given an interiors makeover by Hong Kong-based design firm, Archasia. The four-bedroom property manages to be elegant yet contemporary, a classical luxury home but with a clean, modern twist. One of the main challenges for Archasia was to connect the indoors with the outdoors, including the pool and sea views, which they achieved using fresh colours and natural materials. Archasiaâ€™s principal, Grover Dear, was design consultant for Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, The American Club and Centre Stage Penthouse. www.archasia.com.hk
BRAND CHECK Lighting Consultant: Tino Kwan
Decorative Lighting: Donghia, Vaughan, Boyd, Arteriors, Artemide
Fabric: Jim Thompson, Bubelli, Scalamandre, Donghia, Samuel & Sons
Furniture: Baker Furniture, Christopher Guy, the iMix Club,, Magazzini, William Switzer, Bernhardt, Villiers Brothers, Maxalto, HBF, Dedon
[ SPACES | ANDALUCIA APARTMENT ]
[ SPACES | ANDALUCIA APARTMENT ]
DESIGNING Hong Kong-born interior designer Norma Foster takes us around her colourful Andalucian home. Words by Madeleine Fitzpatrick
[ SPACES | ANDALUCIA APARTMENT ]
ong Kong-born Norma Foster founded her company, Isis & Norma, in 2012 in London, where she resides with Isis, her six-year-old daughter. Here, the self-taught interior designer takes us around her stunning Andalucian property, Finca la Gloria. How did you first get into interior design? I was doing a lot of travelling – I’d take notice of different places, to the point where I’d be checking all the furniture from every angle. I remember going to a hotel in Paris and trying to get on top of a wardrobe so I could check the fixings on the back of the curtains, because they were done so well! And also I think it was an adverse reaction I had, when I first came to London and noticed everyone was really into things like Heal’s or the Conran Shop, and everything was very sort of stainless steel, and I thought, “Gosh, it’s all really quite cold.” Everyone’s stuff seemed the same. Something that stands out in your designs are the vibrant colours. I think it’s a lot to do with the light as well: in a place like Andalucia, cool, calming palettes don’t really work because it’s a dramatic landscape. It’s actually quite similar to California – it’s desert-like. There are parts of Andalucia where they shot the Spaghetti Westerns. It’s dry and there’s obviously an intense heat. So things have a tendency to desicate. If you went in there and did a really muted palette, there’d be absolutely nothing left of it two years later.
Can you tell us about the contribution of local artisans? I wanted mosaics, so I asked a friend who lives there – she does mosaics for a living. She did patterns that reminded me of the sea; starfish and shell shapes. A sculptor friend carved the bath for the master bedroom out of a huge chunk of marble. The marble turns a darker, honey colour when wet, and dries out to a lighter colour. It’s like jade… it continues to develop and change colour. It gives out good energy. Then there’s the really beautiful plastering, Tadelakt, which is an ancient Moorish technique. It’s basically plaster mixed very quickly, adding the colour, and it has to be applied very quickly. It gives a beautiful sheen, it gives different grades of colour, but it also gives a clean surface with no grouting. You say the goal of Isis & Norma is to steer people away from the same old design choices that don’t work. Can you give an example? TVs in bedrooms – that’s one. Instead of wrecking the integrity of the room with a TV, I put a projector on my ceiling. I painted the wall a pearly grey-pink, disproving the theory that it won’t work unless the wall’s white. It worked beautifully, and created a
How would you sum up your design philosophy – with regards to Finca la Gloria, and more generally? Make your own decisions, and don’t be afraid to “spoil” things. Enjoying them isn’t spoiling them. Covering your sofa in a tight fabric that can’t be easily removed, with stress about “ruining it”, doesn’t work in Andalucia. You have to think, with regards to decor and its purpose and maintenance, as a Bedouin. Generally speaking, it’s about practicality, simplicity and perspective – seeing everything from different angles. I’m not a great fan of symmetry. I wouldn’t hang something just because it’s the middle of the wall. I’d hang it according to different spots where people would be sitting in the house. You have to look at it from all ways. It sounds a bit barmy, but you have to almost lie on the floor, and look up.
[ SPACES | ANDALUCIA APARTMENT ]
cinema in the bedroom. Lighting, too. Originally I had a Western sensibility: I was choosing clear, glass lanterns that looked nice in a clean shop during daylight hours. At night, my choices became evident as bad ones. Cobwebs and insects made a mess over time; I couldn’t keep up with the cleaning; the light had no colour. I ended up throwing out the lanterns when they rusted. Now, I don’t mind what it looks like, so long as it comes to life when it’s lit. I learned that very quickly in Morocco.
It’s about practicality, simplicity and perspective – seeing things from different angles
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Maison & Objet finds
LOFT visited the recent Maison & Objet fair and found design inspired by all corners of the globe, bringing unique, sustainable and innovative pieces to Paris. Words by Sam Growdon
BIRDâ€™S EYE VIEW Taking inspiration from French lamp designers of the mid-1900s such as Pierre Gariche and Serge Mouille, Guillaume Evrard has created his own innovative lighting collection. The base of each lamp, shaped like a birdâ€™s foot, is the trademark feature. The sculptural pieces are made from antique brass and are polished to perfection with beautifully curved bodies and matt enamel shades. www.gong.co.uk
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THE PROTAGONIST When a group of Thai advertising creatives got together to design a range of home dĂŠcor their main objective was to have fun. Established in 1994 this award-winning company strives to create useful products that satisfy the basic needs of every day life, blending wit and humour with sophisticated production techniques. Their extensive range, from mugs and lamps to tape dispensers stay true to their original intended mission and certainly encourage a smile. www.propagandaonline.com
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ILLUMINATION Havenâ€™t you heard? Itâ€™s all about the lighting. It takes vision and a quirky design eye to recycle bottles and jam jars into interesting and bold lamps. Boboboom is a French initiative started by Franco-Lebanese designer, Mitri Hourani and his sister Mireille. The original idea was created for the Maison & Objet fair two years ago, taking old bottles (many donated from restaurateur friends) cleaning them up and reincarnating them. www.boboboom.com
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Çaput (pronounciation tchaput) which means old rag in Turkish is the term given to the ancient art of Anatolian rug weaving – however there is nothing rag-like about these beautifully restored carpets. Turkish-born Ahmet Diler (coming from a bloodline of Cappadocian weavers) and expert weaver and Frenchman Marc-Antoine Gallice came together through a common passion for this popular art dating back to the first communities of Anatolia, and in 1995 they started Kilims ADA together. Pioneering Kilims in Paris, the company personally finds and collects every single carpet from remote areas in the middle east and Central Asia, they are then carefully restored and imported to their store in Paris. Each creative carpet is made with handspun wool, cotton, goat’s hair or hemp giving each one a unique DNA and story.
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GLASS HALF FULL Most of the collections that Van Verre create are either semi hand-blown â€“ keeping the original glass tradition â€“ or are pressed glass. This means they stick to the traditions of handmade moulds and stamps in which the glass cools down and finds a unique shape and design in every piece. The palate of light Rembrandt colours and their traditional but contemporary designs add a touch of Mediterranean summer to any season.
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MASKING THE UGLY
This passionate Japanese company, MT Masking Tape has revolutionised the use of masking tape, changing it into a product that is fun and creative. Rolls of rice paper are used for the tape: LOFT loves the ‘Moegi’ (yellow-green) and ‘Usufuji’ (light purple). What started as a small internet business has now blossomed and customers can place orders for custom-made colours and patterns.
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SHINING STAR When Karin travelled to Egypt 18 years ago little did she know that she’d come home with more than a successful range of home accessories in her suitcase. She met her husband, Hussein, and since then they have grown their business, Zenza together. LOFT’s favourites are their lamps. Karina and Hussein explain that the lights have a ‘soul’ which gives them extra value and beauty. The intricate filigrain creations are made from silver-plated copper and baked in Egyptian sand as part of their finishing process.
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A fire hydrant in the home. Important? Yes. Attractive? Not really. The Brussels-based company SAFE-T, have managed to marry aesthetic with function. Their innovative hydrants find a place in even the most designconscious homes. Choose from a selection including silver, gold or chrome â€“ youâ€™re certain to find one that fits your kitchen or BBQ area.
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ALLEZ LES ENFANTS! French company NONAH! is the brainchild of two brothers and a sister. Their philosophy? To create eco-friendly furniture with the consumer in mind â€“ in this case children. The range is clever, original and adapted to mini-size with unusual openings and hidden cabinets encouraging development and fun. Each piece is made from sustainable FSC certified forests with water based lacquer and natural protective oil.
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ART ON A PLATE
If you’re no Joël Robuchon in the kitchen then perhaps beautifully handmade Italian ceramics will score you some points in the presentation department. The Cerretelli family who own Novita Home have created a business through their love of travel. Their first collection was released in 1982 and since then their designs have been inspired by countries such as Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam, Morocco and Mexico, celebrating diversity in décor. The collection is made up of vibrant rich colours fit for an artist’s palette but are always evolving depending on season and tastes.
[ SPACES | SOUTH PLACE HOTEL ]
Curate to Create How London’s hippest new hotel is using art to give it an edge
Words by Catherine Shaw
s London’s grittier suburbs redefine themselves as enclaves of urban cool, the capital’s traditional financial district – known as the ‘Square Mile’ – is quietly enjoying its own influx of stylish visitors courtesy of a wave of new design-conscious hotels and restaurants. Leading the pack is restaurant group D&D London (formerly known as Conran Restaurants) with their first hotel, the South Place Hotel, featuring just eighty rooms, three bars and two restaurants fashionable enough to have already won not only the fickle hearts of the bankers and lawyers who frequent the commercial heart of the capital but design aficionados as well. The 7,000 square metre hotel, housed in a seven-storey building designed by architects Allies and Morrison, and built by owner and developer Frogmore, opened just off Moorgate in September 2012 with a winning concept entirely focused on art. This, however, is not a case of art simply as an add-on intended to decorate the interiors. Both public and private rooms
[ SPACES | SOUTH PLACE HOTEL ]
What gives the hotel an edge is the atmosphere of a private collection
alike feature a carefully curated selection of hundreds of original works by London artists as well as other artworks. The effect is subtle but compelling: while many boutique hotels boast interesting and statement art, what gives South Place Hotel an edge is the atmosphere of a private art collection. Hoxton Art Gallery, tasked with commissioning original works and curating an interesting selection of works, has delivered a fascinating mix of the likes of a set of Lichtenstein-inspired prints by John Vincent Aranda (based on classic British condiments and spreads) that claim pride of place in the main floor brasserie, and a Tom Gallant triptych of ethereal 3-dimensional paper moths cut from vintage porn magazines and presented in the penthouse. Elsewhere you’ll find eclectic but fascinating finds such as the collection of wire shoes by British metalsmith Cathy Miles and a mannequin display by AMD Interior Architecture. The hotel is also notable for its commitment to nurturing modern art with an annual South Place Hotel Art Prize, won most recently by Israeli RA student Zemer Peled with his sculpture, Nature in a Domestic Space showcased in the lobby. Interiors are by Conran and Partners: think the usual luxury frills like high thread count linen and gigantic televisions but with octogenarian designer Sir Terence Conran’s signature fusion of modern design and quirky British influences. For instance, at South Place Hotel, private meeting and dining rooms are named after pop culture spies giving a nod to espionage inspired by the area’s history as a cold war hub for Soviet spies. The location between Liverpool and Moorgate Streets was once home to a Soviet spy ring in the 1920s. The hotel’s bar and restaurants, as expected with Conran’s considerable expertise in this area, are especially striking. On the ground floor the open concept lounge-restaurant, 3 South Place,
has a Hoxton vibe with exposed concrete and wooden floors, statement furniture, dramatic lighting and picture windows looking over the street setting the scene for its gastro fare, resident DJ, trendy staff in uniforms by East End tailors DS Dundee (the restaurant’s Earl Grey tea burnt cream dessert deserves to be called an artwork on its own merits). The roof terrace ‘Angler,’ with its elegant mirrored ceiling, crisp white linen tablecloths and views over east London is presided over by chef Tony Fleming who trained with Marco Pierre White. Le Chiffre, a private upstairs lounge/games room, is named after the notorious Casino Royale Bond villain and well stocked with a snooker table and an excellent selection of spy novels. “South Place is as much about meet and eat as sleep,” explains General Manager Bruce Robertson. Meanwhile the rooms feature a more Mad Men-esque aesthetic with a
93 [ SPACES | SOUTH PLACE HOTEL ]
[ SPACES | SOUTH PLACE HOTEL ]
muted palette, classic touches like Eero Saarinen’s 1957 Executive chair, 40-inch Bang & Olufsen flat television screens and luxury bed linens by Josephine Home. Sleek touch sensitive pads to operate the lights, air-conditioning, locks and blinds keep the room design fuss-free and tending to the minimalist. Those looking to add an extra touch of luxury to their stay should indulge in the real star of the show: Suite 610, a dramatic 120 square metre space with panoramic views of the city. Inside you’ll find over £20,000 worth of specially commissioned original art from Adam Ball’s Return to Silence B, an intricate paper cut work hanging above the bed, to Dan Hillier’s chimeric engravings in the dining area described by the designers as adding a “wonderful steampunk aesthetic.” Meanwhile the bath with sheer glass sides is an exhibitionist’s dream. “Most hoteliers look at a hotel, see the square footage and think about how many bedrooms they can squeeze in so they can maximise the value. We look at hotels very differently – we think about how we can really bring a building to life, how we can make it a really sexy place. Because if we create that buzz, the rooms will be so much more successful,” said D&D London CEO, Des Guneward in a recent interview with Caterer and Hotelkeeper. “Most
hoteliers will look at the 75,000 square feet at South Place and laugh at the fact that we’ve only got 80 rooms, but for us it’s so much more important to have the restaurants and bars.” And if you haven’t had enough of art, the Tate Modern is a twenty minute walk over the Southwark Bridge. 3 South Place, London; tel: 44.20 3503 0000; www.southplacehotel.com
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