Designer Alfred Lam’s style has evolved, and he has a rebranded design studio and new apartment to match. The rebrand to Studio 1618 marks the maturing of his style, refers to the location of his practice at 16–18 Bonham Strand in Central, Hong Kong, and is also a nod to the golden ratio of 1.618.
‘Before, my studio was vibrant, trendy and young, but now I’m doing something completely different,’ says Lam. His new direction is more sophisticated, and he’s redesigned his home to reflect this evolution. Now, he says, the home is ‘contemporary with a cosy, timeless touch.’
At just over 200 square metres, Lam’s home was originally a three-bedroom apartment. ‘I wanted to make use of every space,’ he says. This meant the conversion of the second bedroom into an opulent walk-in wardrobe, complete with translucent closet doors and a glass cabinet for accessories, and the third bedroom into a tasteful entertainment room.
The living room features a selection of vintage pieces, just some of the collection that Lam has accumulated throughout his travels. His favourite place to peruse antique stores is Belgium’s capital. ‘That’s where I find hidden gems,’ he says. One such find from Brussels is a set of 1960s Danish dining chairs. They pair with the Baxter dining table, reflecting the effective mix of vintage and modern that runs throughout the apartment. The bedroom is no exception, with a Baxter chair and a contemporary bedstead alongside a midcentury table and bedside lights that date from the 1950s. The beloved vintage pieces that don’t fit inside his apartment are offered to others in his Hong Kong store, L’s Where. ‘I like to share the beauty,’ he says.
It’s not just furniture that Lam collects — there’s art, too. His collection includes a Paper Drop piece by Wolfgang Tillmans, one of Annie Morris’s Stack sculptures, sculptures by Kohei Nawa and Tomás Saraceno, and sketches by Antony Gormley. And some of the furnishings blur the line between design and art. Take the sculptural cream sofa by Christophe Delcourt, for example, set in front of an artwork by Chen Yujun. ‘I didn’t want a big sofa that would cover the art. I think this is just right,’ he explains. ‘And it’s more like an art piece.’
The contemporary sofa contrasts and complements the vintage Gio Ponti and Marco Zanuso chairs. ‘When I got these chairs they were like junk — you wouldn’t have wanted to sit on them,’ says Lam, who restored and reupholstered them back to their former glory. ‘There’s a history,’ he adds. ‘When you sit on a vintage chair, you wonder how many people have sat on it, who has sat on it, and who has owned the chair for the last sixty years. All these vintage pieces have a soul.’