My Favourite Things
founder of the London-based architecture and interiors firm Design Haus Liberty, talks about the buzz of New York, French bistro fare, and the view of the Bosphorus from the Çiragˇan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
Dara Huang on the buzz of New York, French bistro fare, and the view at the Çiragˇan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul
Probably New York, because it’s got so much energy. I love being in buzzy places that have a great mixture of authenticity and delicious food. I’m an American living in London so New York is like home, but we’re just opening a Hong Kong office right now so I’m living in between London and Hong Kong. The key to calling anywhere “home” is having friends and family to make you feel welcome.
It depends on my mood but I loved the Çiragˇan Palace Kempinski Istanbul—not so much for the decor, but for the view from the terrace of the waterfront pool and yachts on the Bosphorus. That being said, fresh food, a beautiful setting and sun usually do it for me. I also like any of the hotels around Lake Como, and the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris.
I like non-fiction. An entrepreneur recommended The Richer Way by Julian Richer, and Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight.
I love the Tate Modern in London and actually helped to design the new building. However, I prefer the old one, with its inviting sloping floors where people sat just like they would on a lawn. The awesomeness of this space really is so powerful—even when it’s empty.
Le Petite Maison is my favourite restaurant in London. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is friendly and it’s always buzzing. Even though getting a reservation takes time, and it’s filled with celebrities, the atmosphere is comfortable and casual; no one comes here to show off. It’s also a great place for a date.
I love so many artists, but Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artwork is seriously amazing and incredibly moving. Recently I was given a book of his paintings, with accompanying poems by Maya Angelou. Like many artists that have moved and touched us, his life was tragic and ended too soon. I wonder if suffering is central to the creative urge.
Favourite holiday destination?
I’m about to go to Italy’s Amalfi Coast, which I’ve heard is very hard to beat. In general, I’m content wherever there is sun, scenic water views and excellent food.
SPICE OF LIFE Clockwise from left: Dara Huang; the Tate Modern in London; and the Çirağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul