Expat Living (Hong Kong) - - Home & Property -

IWe meet one of the city’s top res­i­den­tial de­sign­ers and hear

about her re­cent pres­ti­gious award.

t was 2014 when BRITTA BUT­LER, a Har­vard and MIT grad­u­ate, de­cided to set up her own ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior de­sign firm, B Squared De­sign. See­ing a gap in the Hong Kong mar­ket, she seized the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a full-ser­vice firm.

This de­ci­sion has paid off in spades, with Britta’s unique and bold cre­ativ­ity re­sult­ing in her win­ning the REA In­te­rior De­sign Award 2018 for the Res­i­den­tial Cat­e­gory. The award recog­nised the work she had done on a Mid-Lev­els flat, which in­volved a multi-level, full-scale re­design of a unique du­plex on Kennedy Road, trans­form­ing the apart­ment into a stylish gallery, home, restau­rant and of­fice in one.

We sat down with the de­sign dy­namo, a mother of two and a Hong Kong res­i­dent of 12 years, to find out more.

Con­grat­u­la­tions on the award!

Thanks, I’m thrilled to have won it! It’s won­der­ful to be recog­nised for the work that I love to do. There’s so much that goes on be­hind the scenes for a project, and a lot of long hours deal­ing with is­sues that come up, so it’s ex­tremely re­ward­ing to re­ceive recog­ni­tion af­ter com­ple­tion.

Tell us a bit about the project.

The project had to serve mul­ti­ple func­tions for the client. It had to be a “home away from home” when the CEO was in HK, and act as a meet­ing/ho­tel space for VIP clients, and an event space for work func­tions. The client had an ex­ten­sive art col­lec­tion that he wanted show­cased, as well as a de­sire to make an oa­sis in an ur­ban jun­gle, so I had to think cre­atively in terms of space us­age. I de­signed be­spoke fur­ni­ture for the liv­ing room and bed­room that would be both func­tional and sculp­tural. I cre­ated spa­ces that evoked the feel­ing of a bou­tique ho­tel, us­ing vis­ually im­pact­ful ma­te­ri­als, bold shapes and metic­u­lously sourced one-of-a kind fur­nish­ings.

What were the big­gest chal­lenges and the big­gest suc­cesses of the project for you?

There were many ob­sta­cles in terms of lo­gis­tics, de­liv­er­ies and con­struc­tion. The time­frame was tight to get ev­ery­thing done. But, ul­ti­mately, I was able to over­come the ob­sta­cles by think­ing out­side of the box for sourc­ing and ma­te­ri­als, and work­ing ex­tremely closely with my amaz­ing project man­ager, Tina Mak of Beehive & Co., to make sure the sched­ule and high qual­ity of crafts­man­ship was main­tained. The suc­cess of the project was ver­i­fied when the client walked into the space and said it was ex­actly what he had en­vi­sioned.

What sorts of things are pop­u­lar or spe­cific to Hong Kong in terms of ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign?

Ob­vi­ously, space is a big con­sid­er­a­tion in Hong Kong, whereas in other places I’ve worked it hasn’t been a big fac­tor. I used to de­sign build­ings from the ground up, and here res­i­den­tial al­most al­ways means an in­ter­nal ren­o­va­tion of a flat. I see it as a chal­lenge, not a prob­lem, how­ever, and many of my de­signs in­volve in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to space plan­ning and stor­age. I also do a lot of cus­tom fur­ni­ture that has to do dou­ble-duty be­cause of spa­tial con­straints (for ex­am­ple, a bed with stor­age un­der­neath). My sig­na­ture B Squared Mur­phy Bed came about as a re­sult of the need to get creative with small spa­ces.

What’s a cur­rent in­te­ri­ors trend that you’re par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about?

Right now, I’m lov­ing the deep, moody blues I’m see­ing ev­ery­where, from fur­ni­ture, to wall­pa­per, to rugs. This com­bined with gold ac­cents evokes a gor­geous, lux­u­ri­ous feel.

How does the city in­spire you?

Hong Kong is such a vi­brant city; it truly is ever-chang­ing: A restau­rant that is there one week is gone the next. A flower shop you’ve fre­quented for years can be­come a bar overnight. And peo­ple ar­rive here from all over the world, bring­ing their own unique cul­tures and ideas to play. This all nec­es­sar­ily in­flu­ences and in­spires my work. Noth­ing can be too stodgy or staid. While I might draw from de­sign clas­sics, this is al­ways in com­bi­na­tion with new tech­nolo­gies and ma­te­ri­als. It makes for some re­ally in­ter­est­ing, unique de­signs!

What do you love about Hong Kong?

My favourite things about Hong Kong are the food scene, the fact that it’s so safe, the prox­im­ity to so many amaz­ing va­ca­tion des­ti­na­tions, and, last but not least, the peo­ple I’ve met in my decade or more of liv­ing here. I truly have made friend­ships for life, and it is thanks to this great city that we ended up in the same place.

Does your home need a fresh new look? Ex­pat Liv­ing has teamed up with B Squared De­sign to of­fer one lucky reader the chance to win a room makeover by Britta val­ued at HK$18,000! Head to our web­site to find out how to en­ter.

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