My Favourite Things

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V Group direc­tor Anna-Mae Koo finds in­spi­ra­tion in Gaudi’s ar­chi­tec­ture and Bhutanese re­sorts

Anna-Mae Koo is the direc­tor of V Group, the de­vel­oper be­hind the new Cas­tle One by V lux­ury apart­ments in Cen­tral. Among the 112 units is a stun­ning three-storey prop­erty with a rooftop ter­race, as well as two- or three-bed du­plex apart­ments, while fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a gym and 23m swim­ming pool. Anna-Mae shares her sources of in­spi­ra­tion with Cherry Lai— from Gaudi’s ar­chi­tec­ture to Bhutanese re­sorts and Sushi Sawada in Tokyo Favourite area at home?

It may sound clichéd but it’s true—my bed! I have a hec­tic sched­ule so it’s al­ways re­ju­ve­nat­ing to come home to the com­fort of my own bed at the end of a long day or busi­ness trip.

Favourite cities?

Each city I’ve been to stands out, but Is­tan­bul re­mains at the top of the list. It’s a melt­ing pot of Eastern and West­ern cul­tures, and I’m in­spired by the stun­ning his­toric quar­ters—plus the food is amaz­ing. I also love Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan. A morn­ing trek to the Na­tional Me­mo­rial Chorten has to be on any trav­eller’s itin­er­ary.

Favourite ho­tel?

I loved my stay at the Amankora in Bumthang, Bhutan. All five lodges are crafted with Dzon­gin­spired ar­chi­tec­ture, matched by world-class ser­vice. It’s a show­case for how ar­chi­tec­tural bril­liance and hos­pi­tal­ity marry to cre­ate a qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence— some­thing I be­lieve we have achieved at our prop­er­ties.

Favourite build­ings?

Casa Milà was the high­light of my Barcelona trip. It’s one of seven Gaudi cre­ations on the Unesco World Her­itage list. Ev­ery de­tail brims with artistry, from the spec­tac­u­lar roof ter­race with chim­neys imag­ined as works of art, to the curved bal­cony rail­ings and mo­saic tiles. To me, Gaudi was not just an ar­chi­tect; he was a bril­liant artist, pioneer and in­no­va­tor.

Favourite artists?

I’m fas­ci­nated by Alice Neel’s por­traits. Her hon­esty is ev­i­dent in her works. I also love Rem­brandt for sim­i­lar rea­sons—his art is em­pa­thetic and ob­ser­va­tional.

Favourite restau­rants?

I could have the beef brisket from On Lee noo­dle shop ev­ery day—they have the best in town. Their beef is per­fectly ten­der and burst­ing with flavour, com­ple­mented by a rich broth. When­ever I travel to Tokyo, I al­ways make a reser­va­tion at Sushi Sawada; it’s as much of a vis­ual spec­ta­cle as a gas­tro­nomic treat when you watch Sawada-san work be­hind the counter.

Favourite mu­se­ums?

I love the Mu­seum of Arts and De­sign in New York City. Small and charm­ing, it’s a well cu­rated space that houses a wealth of couture pieces, con­tem­po­rary crafts and jew­ellery. Another must-visit is the Bri­tish Mu­seum in Lon­don; you could eas­ily spend a few days there.

Favourite books?

Paul Kalanithi’s mem­oir, When Breath Be­comes Air, re­ally struck me. It’s a chron­i­cle of the 36-year-old neu­ro­sur­geon’s con­fronta­tion with ter­mi­nal lung can­cer, just as he’s on the verge of com­plet­ing a decade’s worth of train­ing. It leaves you feel­ing like you’ve lost a friend by the end of it. And who doesn’t love the Game of Thrones se­ries— I’m still wait­ing for Ge­orge R. R. Martin to fin­ish The Winds of Win­ter.

Global in­spi­ra­tion Clock­wise from far left: The lobby of Cas­tle One by V; chim­neys be­come works of art at Gaudi’s Casa Milà; Anna-Mae Koo

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