The Business Times

Designer space

Andre Fu's signature style extends to his own home.

Tay Suan Chiang
Published Thu, Sep 24, 2020 · 09:50 PM
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CELEBRATED HONG KONG-BORN architect/designer Andre Fu's name is synonymous with some of the best designed hotels in the world. In Singapore, he has left his stamp on the likes of The Fullerton Bay Hotel and Andaz Singapore. Elsewhere, his signature hospitality projects include the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, and the St Regis and Upper House in Hong Kong. While the locations and design themes differ, the aesthetic is very much Mr Fu's - driven by his careful consideration of how guests would experience the space.

When he was designing his home in Hong Kong five years ago, Mr Fu says, "I simply wanted a pure environment - it was essentially a white space with objects that I collected over the years, alongside a handful of pieces from my Andre Fu Living series. The design was derived from a basic goal to create a space that could adapt with time."

Located in the south side of Hong Kong Island, the 2,500 sq ft duplex apartment sits on a steep hill with a vast balcony that faces a stunning 360 degree view of Deep Water Bay and Middle Island, and the South China Sea in the horizon. No wonder, then, that this is his favourite spot, especially in the mornings as he gets ready for the day.

"I was first drawn to the property for its unique views," says Mr Fu. "Somehow, it reminded me of the scenic views of Portofino. I was also intrigued with its double height living spaces."

Mr Fu rarely designs private residences, but when he's working on his own home or a hotel project, "I would create a story-telling narrative with a vision and layer it with textures, colours and specific bespoke pieces."

In his case, his interiors are "a contemporary living space with an open plan that could evolve with time." On the first level, he has created a salon to showcase his collection of artworks and objet d'art that he built up over the years, from the likes of Ai Wei Wei, Antony Gormley to Francois and Claude Lalanne.

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While the art is a feast for the eyes, the adjoining open-plan kitchen takes care of the stomach. "I believe the heart of this level derives its energy from the kitchen," says Mr Fu.

A short flight of steps leads to a double storey high living-dining area with floor to ceiling windows. Visitors are torn between the picture postcard sea view and the equally show-stopping 7m high shelving unit that displays Mr Fu's eclectic collection of small pottery pieces, framed sketches and treasured mementos like an antique lacquer tray from his grand-uncle.

There are just two bedrooms upstairs - a guest room and Mr Fu's master ensuite. His prized feature is the island tub in his bathroom which, "with its view overlooking the ocean, is the centerpiece of my daily ritual," he says.

He deliberately picked a neutral palette for his home - wide solid oak timber panels for the floor, alongside off-white painted walls and limed oak for paneling. Against this unobtrusive background, his collection of art and furniture takes centrestage.

He speaks fondly of an acrylic chair that he inherited from his grandmother. "The chair was bought during the 1960s, when she travelled to Europe. It's truly avant garde for its time and I have a strong sentimental attachment to it."

Another favourite is a Wishbone chair by Hans Wegner that he bought as a student at Cambridge University. "It was the first piece of designer furniture that I acquired and it still remains one of the most timeless designs that I truly admire."

To visit his home is also to learn more about him. "Every object inside my home is a testament to my life." Besides the art that he has collected over the years, there are also prototypes that he kept from his lifestyle brand Andre Fu Living series.

Launched in 2019, the comprehensive collection features 150 items, from a dining table with a built-in lazy Susan which he has in his home, to lights, rugs, and tableware. They're designed to reflect how he sees people living these days, he says. "They want to invest in something that is timeless."

And how would he describe his own lifestyle? "Outside of work, I enjoy living a simple life. I am also very careful to create the feeling of space in my home - it is a place where I can escape into a private space that allows me to contemplate and think. In that context, a sense of calm is crucial."

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