Re­defin­ing lux­ury in de­sign

Mai­son& Ob­jet Asia 2016 De­signer of the Year An­dre Fu talks about the phi­los­o­phy be­hind his new brand of ar­ti­sanal life­style prod­ucts.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SPACES - By WONG LI Za star2@ thes­tar. com. my

HIS looks are­boy­ish, be­ly­ing his 41 years of age. But his de mean our is all se­ri­ous­ness, height­ened by his dis­tinct Bri­tish ac­cent, a re­sult of hav­ing stud­ied in Bri­tain since he was a teenager.

Hong Kong-born ar­chi­tect and in­te­rior de­signer An­dreFu is be­hind no­table lux­ury ho­tels such as The Up­per House in Hong Kong, the Fuller ton Bay Ho­tel in Sin­ga­pore, as well as the Op us Suite in The Berke­ley in Lon­don.

His so­phis­ti­cated style is also felt in top-notch restau­rants such as Kio ku in the Four Sea­sons Seoul, Mo­tif in Four Sea­sons Tokyo and Gong Bar in S han gr i-La at The Shard, Lon­don.

In March, Mai son& Ob­jet ( M& O) Asia 2016 named Fu as De­signer of the Year, in recog­ni­tionof his con­tri­bu­tionto the de­sign in­dus­try.

“It’ s a great recog­ni­tionto be en trusted with this ti­tle. I al­ways see Mai­son& Obj etas a very im­por­tant plat­form for de­signs of many dis­ci­plines to be cel­e­brated un­der one roof ,” saysFu dur­ing an ex­clu - s ive in­ter­view in Sin­ga­pore re­cent ly.

Fu also launched a new brand at M& O Asia called An­dré Fu Liv­ing ( AFL), a life­style range that “em bod­ies his de­sign phi­los­o­phy within tan­gi­ble ob­jects ”.

“I’ve al­ways had peo plerequ est - ing for fur­ni­ture and ob­jects that I have used in hos­pi­tal­ity projects. But they are not avail­able be­cause they’ re be spoke and cus­tomised for the pro­ject it­self. Last year I thought that maybe it’ s time to chal­lenge my­self and see whether I can ex­tend the spa­tial ex­pe­ri­ences that I have ac­com­plished into some­thing that’ s tan­gi­ble ,” says Fu, when asked why he de­cided to em bark on A FL.

The­first pro duct by the brand is a scent called Far­ge­sia, which he cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with well­known per­fumer Ju­lian Bed el of Fu egu ia 1833 Pat ago nia.

“I was in­spired to make the emo­tionof the spa­ces that I de­sign tan­gi­ble and I be­lieve that a scent is the best way to cap­ture the tac­tile essence of my works ,” says Fu in ex­plain­ing the cre­ationof the uni­sex eaudet oil et te.

“The vi­sion is to build a col­lec­tive of scents that are aroused from the key ma­te­ri­als fea­tured in my spa­ces. Far­ge­sia is a type of Asian bam­boo, a ma­te­rial that is close to my heart and that has been fea­tured in sev­eral of my sig­na­ture projects ,” he elab­o­rates.

Fu adds that the fra­grance evokes a sense of fresh­ness and is very crisp and po et ic.

Also un­der the brand is a be spoke hand-tufted rug col­lec­tion with TaiPin gC ar pet sand a book en­ti­tled A nd re Fuby the lux­ury book pub­lisher As sou line.

At M& O Asia, which ran in Sin­ga­pore from March 8 to 11, Fu also show­cased his first bath­room col­lec­tion. Called Sky liner, it is an ar­ti­san al col­lec­tion of bath­room fit­tings cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Amer­i­can lux­ury bath­room brand Co o per & Gra­ham.

“Sky­line risa con­cept driven by mod­ern Asian life, by the fact that all th­ese mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture forms are jux­ta­pos­ing each other

in the con­text of the ur­ban world we are liv­ing in now. In the col­lec­tion, you will see blocks that al­most in­ter lock with each other ,” says Fu, who speaks in a calm, some­what cal­cu­lated man­ner.

The metal fix­tures are all made in brass but plat ed in dif­fer­ent fin­ishes like pol­ished chrome or oil­rubbed bronze.

How dif­fer­ent is it to de­sign prod­ucts as op­posed to de­sign­ing an in­te­rior or a space?

“In an in­te­rior space, it’ s very much the over­all pic­ture and am­bien ce, and there are many el­e­ments that are com­bined to cre­ate t he ex­pe­ri­ence. But when you are deal­ing with a sin­gle ob­ject, ev­ery lit­tle tweak in pro­por­tion, de­tail­ing and func­tion­al­ity( is im­por­tant ).

“In the essence of Far­ge­sia, the scent it­self, the uni­sex qual­ity of t he eau de t oi­let te, t he way we pack­age it , t he pa­per we use, all of t hat ext ends as part of t he ex­pe­ri­ence. So it ’ s hugely chal­leng­ing t o creat e an im­pact wit h t hat one it em,” he says.

In April, AFL will also be un­veil­ing a new light ing col­lect ion at Salone del Mo­bile Mi­lan 2016 – t he world’s big­gest int er­nat ional fur­nit ure and fur­nish­ing ex­hibit ion – wit h renowned Czech glass man­u­fact urer Lasvit .

re­laxed lux­ury

The youngest of t hree sib­lings, Fu left for Brit ain at t he young age of 14 t o st udy in a board­ing school. He grad­uat ed with a Mast ers in Ar­chit ect ure from Cam­bridge Univer­sit y in 2000 and founded his de­sign st udio, AFSO, in t he same year in Lon­don. In 2004, he ret urned t o Hong Kong and com­plet ed his first big pro­ject , t he Up­per House, in 2009.

The st udio’s cur­rent pro­ject s in­clude Park Hyat t Re­sort Phuket in Thai­land and Bangkok’s Wal­dorf Ast oria Hot el.

Fu has pre­vi­ously de­scribed his st yle of de­sign as “ap­proach driven” , and elab­o­rat es on it dur­ing our int erview.

“I get asked about my st yle a lot , es­pe­cially from t he me­dia. Typ­i­cally t hese days, I would say t hat I hope ev­ery pro­ject is unique in it s own way, and t hat we are t ry­ing to t ell a dif­fer­ent st ory ev­ery t ime.

“But , over­all, I am pur­su­ing a definit ion of lux­ury t hat is re­laxed and com­fort able. And I guess t hat t ies in wit h t he ways of life, how lux­ury has evolved in t he past few years. Peo­ple are look­ing for much more gen­uine, hon­est ex­pe­ri­ences, as in, t hey won’t mind pay­ing a pre­mium but t hey want t o feel at ease and feel t he qualit y and gen­uine­ness in what t hey phys­i­cally ex­pe­ri­ence. That is t he way for­ward,” he says.

Nonet he­less, t here is a com­mon­alit y in his de­signs, wit h t act ilit y, pu­rit y and com­fort be­ing some of t he char­act erist ics.

One of Fu’s most re­cent pro­ject s is t he Kioku Ja­panese rest au­rant in Four Sea­sons Seoul, launched last Novem­ber.

“It ’ s a modernist bam­boo t heat re, wit h dou­ble height and very dra­mat ic spa­ces. It ’ s a very int rigu­ing jour­ney t hat in some way re­ally cel­e­brat es t he t heat re of din­ing,” says Fu.

A pri­vat e per­son who’d rat her t alk about his work t han his per­sonal life – t hough he em­pha­sises a work- life bal­ance – Fu’s ideal liv­ing space is “just a place t hat is com­fort able, sim­ply” .

“I love what I do, so work is an int egral part of my life. I live quit e a bal­anced life. On t he work front , I am int er­act ing wit h very high cal­i­bre peo­ple on a daily ba­sis but in my leisure t ime, I am like any ot her per­son. I en­joy life, food and t rav­el­ling. Keep­ing t hat sense of bal­ance is t he key,” he says.

As some­one who chooses his words care­fully, Fu di­vulges a t iny bit about him­self.

“I t hink peo­ple sense t hat when t hey t alk t o me t hat I do t hink about what I am go­ing t o say. I ex­plain t hings in quit e a st raight - for­ward man­ner, but t here’s slight kind of philo­soph­i­cal edge t o it . Maybe t hat ’ s how I am,” he says, wit h a laugh.

The Kioku restau­rant at the Four sea­sons seoul by Fu, who de­scribes it as a ‘ modernist bam­boo theatre’. — Pho­tos: AFsO

The Far­ge­sia uni­sex eau de toi­lette, the first prod­uct by An­dre Fu Liv­ing, cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with well- known per­fumer Ju­lian Bedel of Fueguia 1833 Patag­o­nia. — AFL

Fu’s first bath­room col­lec­tion, sky­liner, was cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Amer­i­can lux­ury bath­room brand Cooper & Gra­ham. — Cooper & Gra­ham

The main liv­ing room of the Opus suite, Berke­ley Lon­don. — AFsO

The sky­bridge at Fu’s The Up­per House lux­ury ho­tel in Hong Kong. — Michael We­ber Pho­tog­ra­phy

Fu brings a re­laxed ap­proach to his lux­u­ri­ous de­signs. — M& O Asia 2016

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.