Golden Age

Design Anthology - - Home / Sydney - Text / Rachel Duf­fell Im­ages / Ed­mon Leong

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.’

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