Check Out Foerni, Hong Kong’s First Monthly Furniture Subscription Service

Posted in Interior Design

Whether you’re a short-term expat in Hong Kong, adamantly against ‘fast furniture’ culture or hate committing to a single style in your home, Hong Kong’s newly launched online furniture subscription service Føerni marks a first for people to rent high-quality, modern furniture at a monthly rate.

In the world of sharing economies where a business’s core product is never owned — think Uber and its cars or Airbnb and its homes — the next big thing is furniture, according to Føerni. Officially launched on 15 July, Føerni is a new Hong Kong startup that aims to make stylish furniture affordable with flexible lease options ranging from three to 18 months. 

It is the brainchild of Pauline Wetzer, a German entrepreneur who co-founded Hong Kong co-living concept ‘We R Urban’ in 2017. It was acquired a year later by property rental platform Hmlet, which offers fully furnished properties for short term rental across the Asia-Pacific.

At launch, Føerni offers 90 different pieces from Hong Kong and international brands, with the website touting highly regarded Danish designers BoConcept, Hay, Louis Poulsen and Normann Copenhagen, among other European brands. There are also items from local partners such as Decor8 and SofaSale, as well as designer appliances and electronics on offer, such as a Dyson air purifier or a Smeg toaster.

An ideal service for landlords looking to stage their units or provide their renters with short term furniture, Føerni offers the opportunity to avoid costly upfront payment with its monthly subscription plan, which is always priced lower than full retail rate. For landlords looking to stage apartments, furniture rentals can even be as short as for one month.

Customers can benefit from trying pieces before they commit — swapping out pieces at any time with free delivery and assembling — with the option to purchase the item at the end of the rental period. The brand even states that they can also repurchase items that were previously bought from them. Items take seven to 14 days to deliver after ordering.

Working to maximise the life cycle of each piece it rents out, Føerni also aims to be a more eco-friendly alternative to combat wasteful ‘fast furniture’ culture. This refers to the inexpensive and lower quality items in the market that constantly need to be replaced, as well as simply the consumers who like to redecorate frequently and aren’t able to repurpose or recycle old furniture. 

There are new and gently used items in Føerni’s inventory, and while there appear to be no notes on the condition of each piece online, the company strongly claims that each item is vetted with stringent quality control, and professionally cleaned and restored between renters by the same service used by five-star hotels. 

Perhaps this practise is why there are interestingly no restrictions on who can rent pieces from Føerni: Smokers, pet-owners or families with young children alike can benefit from its services and others can also be assured that items will arrive in pristine condition no matter who rented before them.

In the event of more serious damage, customers will have to pay for repairs, or in worst case scenarios, pay to replace the piece. Founder Pauline Wetzer elaborates: “wear and tear is expected, but deep stains, chipped wood, ripped upholstery or any other noticeable damage (breaks, cracks, spills, etcetera) need to be repaired or the item itself may need to be replaced. Repair fees are determined on a case-by-case basis; replacement fees are equivalent to retail prices minus what subscribers have already paid in monthly installments.”

In a world where the demand for flexibility is higher than ever, rental options seem to be the way forward. Particularly in the recent shift towards a global work-from-home culture due to CoViD-19, services like Føerni can be an attractive option for those hoping to fit out a temporary office solution at home, with an array of stylish office furniture and pantry appliances available — from printers to office chairs, and even a full office phone booth and an active sitting office chair, for those looking to offset the detrimental health effects of sitting long hours at a desk.  

“Furniture should adapt to people’s lives, not the other way around,” says Wetzer. “With Føerni, subscribers rent furniture, but own flexibility.”

Learn more at Foerni.com

Evelyn Lok
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. She covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.

Q&A: Michael Seum on the state of modern bathroom design

Posted in Interior Design

Bathroom products have always been designed around consumers. There is a strong emotional connection when it comes to creating something that people utilise daily. When it comes to sanitary fittings, we’re usually spoilt for choice: from the latest design darling to inventions driven by smart technology.

Smart technology has also led to the creation of many exciting products that have either been disruptive or convenient. Think bathtubs with music or a rain shower that responds to your emotions.

We speak to Michael Seum (VP of Design, Grohe) on how his role as a designer has helped shape the future of water and on creating products that address today’s consumer needs. He also talks about upcoming bathroom trends and what to look out for when it comes to buying bathware and fittings.

Michael Seum
(Image credit: Grohe)

What have the biggest takeaways in the world of bathroom trends been for 2020?

Especially in Asia, I see simpler and lighter bathrooms due to smaller spaces, but with a modern and luxe feel. I also see a lot of individualisation, more preference for colours, and finally, more technology being incorporated in the bathroom.

Most bathroom technologies and innovations come from Europe. How do European standards fit into the Asian market?

Europe is the market leader in design, but from a technological point of view, we are getting a lot of innovation from Asia. For instance, the first made-in-Japan shower toilet (or ‘washlet’) with warm water shower spray and air dryer function was made by Inax, also under Lixil’s portfolio. Today, shower toilets are more common in Asia than in Europe or North America. So actually we are taking a lot of technology and innovation from Asia, reframing it with European design DNA, and bring it back to Asia. This is a balance of the best of both worlds: Asian technology, and European design, the DNA that Grohe is known for.

Michael Seum
(Image credit: Grohe)

What can consumers expect in the bathroom industry over the next two to three years?

We are going to focus on mega-trends to shape the future. For example, the way that people interact with home spaces is changing, so we will see bathrooms that are more flexible and dynamic, and kitchens that are more connected to living spaces. We will bring a sense of simplicity and become more minimalist, and we will see more individualisation, personalisation and smart technologies to manage water more intelligently. Finally, we are moving towards a more sustainable approach that will impact shower and water drinking behaviours.

How has smart technology influenced bathware designs?

It has altered the game tremendously. The design of our products complements functionality and technology and brings out the product as an experience as a whole. If we look at the Grohe Smart Control, for example, consumers can control the water dynamics depending on what they are doing in the shower – rinsing, washing hair, applying conditioner, and more. Technology allows a very intuitive and precise water control that enhances the shower experience.

Michael Seum
(Image credit: Grohe)

What are some of the obvious ‘do-nots’ when it comes to choosing bathroom fittings?

I personally think there are no ‘do-nots’ when it comes to this; We have a very extensive portfolio that can adapt to many different lifestyle needs, environment and design styles. It is up to the consumer to make use of the fittings around them to make the bathroom experience a pleasant one.

What are three useful pieces of advice when it come to shopping for bathroom fittings?

First, they should find their own inspiration for something they like. Second, bring this mindset to the store and let our staff advise them. Finally, choose the product that better suits their lifestyle. If I had to pick three lines form Grohe, I would start with Lineare, Atrio or the New Grohe Plus.

Find your nearest showroom or installer in Hong Kong at Grohe online.

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur.

Staff Writer

10 of the Most Iconic Chairs of All Time

Posted in Interior Design

To the untrained eye, a chair is a seemingly mundane object: expressing human beings’ need for functional seating in the various public and private settings life throws at them. And yet, throughout history, few pieces of furniture have stirred the heart and fired the imagination quite like the humble chair.

On a conceptual level, the exercise of designing a really good one transcends concerns of a technical nature to become something akin to an artistic process. Material innovation, practicality, beauty of form, craftsmanship — when done right, a great chair has it all.

Unsurprisingly, the heyday for such creations was the 40-year interlude between the 1920s and 1960s. The convergence of technological innovation and a widening of the European/American middle classes led to the emergence of the artistic movement known as ‘Mid-Century Modern’: the influence of which can still be felt today — in everything from our skyscrapers to pop culture. Naturally then, numerous chairs designed during that era have achieved the reputation of modern classics: here are 10 which we’re positive you’ll still be hearing about in 100 years.

1. Le Corbusier’s ‘Grand Confort’ (1928)

iconic chairs

Popularised by a 1985 advertisement for TDK Maxell cassette tapes, the ‘Grand Confort’ (or “cushion basket” as Le Corbusier himself liked to call it) made its auspicious debut half a century prior. Designed in tandem with architects Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret, the Confort is in and of itself the epitome of simplicity: An elegant, open-worked chrome frame that is capable of being separated from the adjoining upholstery. Today, authorised Italian-made replicas may be purchased from Cassina and are available in a variety of single or multi-person configurations.

2. Eileen Gray’s ‘Transat’ (1927)

iconic chairs

For champions of modernism, ideas didn’t just come from obvious, consistently mined sources like biology or built structures. In the case of pioneering Irish architect Eileen Gray, her ‘Transat’ chair was inspired by the deck seats of a transatlantic steamer. The frame was shaped using complex joinery and held in place with a series of chromed brackets. Meanwhile, the headrest and load-bearing part of the seat consist of separate pieces. Despite the relaxed look, Gray’s design isn’t a simple template capable of being copied on a mass scale: That has made authentic period examples a coveted collectible, with those in excellent condition frequently fetching upwards of HK$90,000.

3. Marcel Breuer’s ‘B32/Cesca’ (1928)

iconic chairs

Like many of his Bauhaus contemporaries, Marcel Breuer sought to recontextualise traditional European arts and crafts for the modern era. This lifelong mission culminated in two of the most important furniture designs of the 20th century: The ‘B32/Cesca’ and ‘Wassily’ (more on the latter in a moment). Consisting of two pieces of solid beech fitted with woven cane inserts and affixed to a steel frame, the Cesca is one of the first modernist furniture designs to “exploit the possibilities unique to [its] material.” The bouncy, somewhat levitating sensation users get whilst seated has become almost as iconic as the chair’s cantilevered frame — explaining why it’s still so popular in 2020.

4. Finn Juhl’s ‘Model 45’ (1945)

iconic chairs

Under the broad remit of ‘modernist’ design, many enthusiasts have narrowed their focus to that movement as it appears in specific countries: Lovers of American modern have Eames, fans of Finland have Saarinen and those who gravitate towards Denmark will have heard Finn Juhl’s name crop up incessantly. The KADK alum’s magnum opus is undoubtedly the ‘45’ — an open-frame design that debuted at an exhibition held by the Copenhagen Cabinetmaker’s Guild in 1945. Easily one of the most comfortable chairs on our shortlist, it remains unrivalled to this day for how it mixes organic forms, sublime materiality and cradle-style ergonomics — the result of Juhl’s many years of research into posture dynamics and the ideal seat shape.

5. Hans Wegner’s ‘Papa Bear’ (1954)

iconic chairs

Many of the iconic modernist designers sought to marry pre-existing furniture styles with thoroughly up-to-date notions of ‘function.’ Hans Wegner’s ‘Papa Bear’ chair, which takes the basic tenets of the English wingback and sieves them through a Danish filter, is the obvious case study. Though somewhat smaller than its spiritual forebear — and nowhere near as streamlined in appearance as the chairs of Mies van der Rohe or Arne Jacobsen — the Papa Bear is an unrivalled fusion of traditional Scandi craft and nuances in form. It is, in a word, the sort of chair which ‘swallows’ its sitter whole — in a good way.

6. Verner Panton’s ‘Stacking Chair’ (1960)

iconic chairs

When it first debuted in 1960, Verner Panton’s ‘Stacking Chair’ introduced a number of firsts to the world of furniture design: it was the first single-form, single-material chair to be produced using an injection mould — which helped to optimise it for full-scale production some eight years later. Today, this groovy vision of lacquered polyurethane is still produced by Vitra and will set you back a cool HK$14,000 (approx.) for a single unit.

7. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s ‘Barcelona’ (1929)

iconic chairs

Named after the setting for the 1929 Industrial Exposition, the Barcelona Chair is among German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s most influential furniture designs and widely considered an icon of the modern movement. The chair was a centrepiece for Mies’ own pavilion at the Barcelona Industrial Expo — reportedly inspired by his desire to create a resting place worthy of Spanish royalty. Feeding into Mies’ philosophy of “harmonising the old and new,” every Barcelona chair is an elevation of industrial material to an artistic plane. Since the 50s, the best reproductions have been made by Knoll: featuring a hand-buffed, mirror-finished frame (resplendent of Roman thrones) and upholstery cut from 40 individual panels.

8. Eero Saarinen’s ‘Tulip’ (c. 1955)

iconic chairs

One of the defining features of Scandinavian modernism (particularly of the Finnish variety) was a desire to depart from — or the very least, reinterpret — settled design conventions. In the realm of chairs, modernists such as architect Eero Saarinen sought clean and efficient solutions to the traditional four-legged construction — what Saarinen himself derisively referred to as “a slum of legs.” The Tulip was a response to that style’s perceived failings, characterised by a fluidly sculpted silhouette inspired by, yes you guessed it, flowers of the same name.

9. Marcel Breuer’s ‘Wassily’ (1925)

iconic chairs

Yes, we’re well-aware that this is the second Breuer object to make our list, but honestly, between the Cesca and Wassily, it’s hard to settle on which had the most outsized impact within industrial design. Self-described by Breuer as his “most extreme work … the least ‘cosy’ and most mechanical,” the Wassily takes the basic conceit of a club chair and strips that back to its bare (verging on austere) essentials. Akin to a metal sling, the Wassily’s seat, arms, and back appear to cradle the sitter mid-air; with their body never touching the steel frame. Named for Breuer’s friend and fellow Bauhaus colleague, Wassily Kandinsky.

10. Charles and Ray Eames’ ‘Lounge Chair and Ottoman’ (1956)

iconic chairs

Whether your first brush with greatness came courtesy of a certain NYC apartment in Mad Men or a much-thumbed Herman Miller catalogue, nothing expresses the halcyon days of American modernism like the Eames’ ‘lounge and ottoman’. Imbued with “the warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt,” the design emerged from Charles and Ray Eames’s experimentations with steam-moulded plywood. This expertly manipulated material forms the basis of the ottoman and Eames chair: ensuring that both provide a supportive resting experience, unparalleled comfort and improve with age. Invariably, the most desirable examples are always vintage pieces manufactured in rosewood, though modern reproductions can be had for just south of HK$60,000.

Randy Lai

Give Your Bathroom a Hotel-Style Makeover With These Luxe Interior Design Trends

Posted in Interior Design

When it comes to the ‘wow’ factor of any great luxury hotel, we think you’d agree the bathroom is an important part of the conversation. Stands to reason, if you could import any element of your favourite five-star suite into the home, a hotel-style bathroom would feature high on the list.

In fact, as far as building a design-led living space goes, having the right kind of bathroom is a highly effectual means of conveying an eye for beauty and detail. From spaces that explore texture to the ultimate terrazzo temple, take a leaf out of the playbook of some the world’s most breathtaking hotel bathrooms, with seven of our favourite interior decorating tips below.

A slice of nature

hotel-style bathroom
(Image source: Four Seasons Resort Bali)

Embrace a sub-tropical atmosphere by situating your bathroom closer to nature — à la the Four Seasons resort at Jimbaran Bay. Each suite’s heirloom faucets and large tubs (with caddy fittings) imbue the traditional Balinese household with a European touch.

Terrazzo edges

hotel-style bathroom
(Image source: The William Vale)

In Brooklyn, The William Vale lends a healthy dose of inspiration with its all-white guest bathrooms: each a spectacular barrage of geometric mirrors and all-over terrazzo surfaces. If this composite material isn’t to your liking, try substituting with granite or veined marble for a similar (though somewhat softened) visual effect.

High contrasts

hotel-style bathroom
(Image source: Vue Hotel Houhai)

For a successful case study in ‘how to intermingle high contrast in low light’, take a moment to survey Vue Houhai‘s hotel-style bathrooms. A whimsical selection of tinted screens — used on showers and mirrors — creates a pleasing foil to dark, alabaster flecked marble surfaces. Contrary to popular belief, this is a great visual trick to use in smaller, apartment block bathrooms — lending an easy-to-execute element of luxury hotel cred.

Creative tiling

hotel-style bathroom
(Image source: The Calile Hotel)

If you’re bored of conventional, horizontal, slatted monochrome tiles then there’s never been a better time to eschew those for a pop of colour. In 2020, embrace new finishes and shades in the manner of the extraordinary Calile resort in Australia: which alternates the tiling in each guest bathroom between a serene palette of blue, green, and reddish pastels.

White marble

hotel-style bathroom
(Image source: Hotel Café Royal)

White marble is both the most financially exorbitant yet visually striking resource for turning your wash space into a hotel-style bathroom. We’ll simply say this: if you’re going to use marble to spruce up the fit-out, its well worth using a lot of white marble. Guest bathrooms at the Hotel Café Royal in London handily illustrate the value of this advice: even extending the Tuscan masonry motif to the bathtub. For best results, make yours a centrepiece by tweaking the tub’s size and location relative to the rest of your space.

Wooden floors

hotel-style bathroom
(Image source: The New York Edition)

For once, it pays to the take the old adage ‘stay grounded’ a little too literally. Standing surfaces are often a missed opportunity to impart a dose of warmth upon otherwise sterile, perfunctory spaces. In a simple twist, private bathing spaces at Ian Schrager’s Manhattan Edition swap out unpleasant linoleum tiles for blond wooden flooring — a fine match for ultra-sleek countertop and soaking tub surfaces.

A retreat-like atmosphere

hotel-style bathroom
(Image source: The St. Regis Maldives)

Another decorating tip from the always reliable ‘bigger is better’ playbook is to simply build out a huge bathroom space. For this, turn to sprawling resorts like The St. Regis Maldives for inspiration: taking note of decadent surface area-intensive features like a balcony, walk-in closet and multiple vanities. In a nutshell — everything you’d expect from your favourite five-star spa.

An edition of this article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

Randy Lai

Q&A: Award-winning interior designer Fiona Barratt Campbell

Posted in Interior Design

Though most design boffins will recognise her considerable body of work throughout Europe, Fiona Barratt Campbell is making rapid headway here in Asia. The Northumbrian designer — who has headed her own interiors firm in London for well over a decade — is best known locally for collaborating with The Upper House, and recently completed work on one of K11 Artus’s 3,703 sq. ft. penthouses — bastions of stylish living, nestled high above the revitalised Victoria Dockside development. With her first regional project in the bag, we thought now would be the perfect time to grab Barratt’s hot takes on all things design: from her love of historic architecture to challenges facing the industry in 2020.

First up, tell us how you got into the industry — it’s well-known that you initially studied at the Chelsea College of Art and Parsons School of Design. Did you always suspect you would end up designing interiors?

Fiona Barratt Campbell

As a child I enjoyed creating and building things. I’d originally planned to study architecture at university, however I quickly realised that my passion lay within the home. After graduation, my first job was for a well-known design firm in London. I gained about three years of invaluable experience there, before going on to establish my own firm — that was 14 years ago now. I’m very much a people person, so the main object of my practice as a designer is to understand and interpret someone else’s vision. The personal journey and evolutionary process you go through with each project is something that I’ll never tire of — every client is unique.

You always credit Sir Lawrie Barratt as a significant mentor and influence on your work. Tell us a little about how he nurtured your talent and/or supported you when you made the decision to start your own studio in 2006?

My grandfather [founder of Barratt Homes] was a major inspiration. I always enjoyed the fact that his job yielded something physical, and that he was creating opportunities for people to actually own a home (he was instrumental in creating the first affordable housing of its time). He was incredibly supportive of my passion for design. Point in fact: he helped me secure placement for work experience at a London-based architecture firm. That said, he had a pretty tough philosophy that every generation of our family must begin their own business without help — as he had done.

You often speak about how historic and naturally occurring phenomena has been a strong theme throughout much of your work. What about it speaks to you?

Fiona Barratt Campbell

I grew up in Northern England — where we’re fortunate to be surrounded by a variety of wonderful, very inspiring World Heritage sites that can be dated to the Roman era. I was fascinated by how progressive their building style was for their time period. That inspiration is everywhere: from the shape and pattern of their drinking vessels to the columns they used in temples and choice in building materials. In particular, I gravitate to how the Romans used natural wood. It’s a material that’s in a state of constant evolution and there are an abundance of different textures, colours and materiality — often within a single species. There’s also something very comforting about it: wood is literally grounded in nature, so there’s some aspect that’s relatable to everyone.

As somebody who works on numerous residential projects, what’s your biggest challenge when it comes to practically realising the desires of a client?

The first rule of thumb is always to foster a strong sense of mutual trust: the client has agreed to let you create their home; and so it has to reflect their own ideas and living requirements. That’s not to say there’s no underlying philosophy threading its way through every project: it’s just manifested in a unique way depending on the client. A ‘good’ interior is one that enhances, not dictates, the way in which you live. For the K11 Penthouse, I worked closely with Adrian [Cheng] to deliver on his vision for a showcase that was very artisanal, yet at the same time, capable of co-existing alongside all the unique artwork he’d sourced for K11. So the challenge was to tell the story of British craft in Hong Kong, albeit through my own philosophy of design and experience.

Just expanding on that: what were some of the unique challenges and advantages associated with the K11 Penthouse project?

Actually, the main challenge associated emerged right at the beginning. We took several months to do spatial planning, as K11 were highly specific about what amenities — storage being a key one — needed to be incorporated within the space. We managed to create a fantastic fluid layout, incorporating a view from every room. For me, the latter element was fundamental to the project because its location is so unique. On the one hand, you’re basically on the water but also have unbelievable views of Central and lush green mountains beyond. As [Fiona Barrett Interiors] are known for our unique use of texture, it was obviously crucial to include a selection of specialist finishes within the space too.

In the master bedroom, the wall flanking the steam room/shower was actually clad in antique barn wood that’s 100 years old. The wood has been tinted with silver paint that is then coated in resin, in order to make it waterproof. Whenever we sample wall finishes or joinery, we work very closely with local craftsmen — communication at every level is really key whenever you’re translating such a meticulous detail into reality.  

If we can get overly critical for a moment, what are some of the biggest challenges that have developed in the design industry over these past few years?

For me, it’s the blatant plagiarism of a brand’s products — typically furniture pieces and lighting. I have my own furniture brand [FBC London] and we’ve seen many of our own designs plagiarised in other projects. Also, in a way the deluge of information on the internet (e.g. Pinterest, Instagram) that we’re exposed to on a daily basis has made it increasingly difficult for clients to be decisive — they’ve been overexposed to so much choice.

You’ve described the object of your design philosophy as being “to enhance, not dictate, the way [clients] live”. Care to expand on that?

Homes are one of the most important spaces you’ll inhabit throughout your life. They are shelter; comfort; and an incubator of memories made amongst family and friends. Ultimately, home should be a place where you can recuperate from the toil of everyday life. So naturally, there are a lot of factors that go into creating a unique living space. I firmly believe that the interior should always enhance a building’s external elements and take the surrounding location, heritage and materiality into account. In a previous project in Mallorca — a private villa — we took some of the sand and small stones from the surrounding beach and incorporated them into a specialised plaster that we used to finish the walls of the home. We also used woods like iroko and teak, selecting those materials for their suitability and relevance to the project.

Now for something a bit more personal: what’s one indispensable trick/tool that you use to boost productivity during your work day?

I don’t eat breakfast. Everyday I fast until lunchtime and that keeps my mind sharp (along with several cups of black coffee). I also allocate blocks of time to the completion of specific tasks and try to stay vigilant about these.

Finally, if you could travel back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?

Fiona Barratt Campbell

I’m reminded of Oscar Wilde. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” That advice is particularly resonant for this day and age — when everyone and everything’s business is so very visible. Better to stay true to your core beliefs and vision.

Randy Lai

The Fashion Houses Rolling Out Designer Wallpaper for Luxury Interiors

Posted in Interior Design

It’s official: wallpaper is well and truly back in 2020. And since taste in design, much like fashion, can vastly range from the modest to the maximalist, fashion houses are doing their bit to offer different forms of expression for your interiors. Whether it’s geometric shapes or lines that tick your box, or the injection of life with colourful flora and fauna that tickles your fancy, here are seven fashion houses that have taken their designs from the runway to your walls.

Hermès


In a collaboration with architect and illustrator Nigel Peake, this Hermès wallpaper depicts the area surrounding their flagship store in Paris. The landscape wallpaper in a muted flanelle shade, which illustrates his walk on the Promenade au Faubourg, is meant to conjure a dream-like world where a groom searches for his horse and carriage in a maze of architectural perspectives.
HK$5,000 (for 68.5 cm x 10 m roll); www.hermes.com

Versace

Versace exotica: think balmy evenings in a leafy tropical paradise and you’ll end up with this lush wallpaper. Boasting their distinctive Jungle Print, which celebrates its 20th anniversary thanks to their iconic Jungle Dress from the spring/summer 2000 collection, this wallpaper will dress up any interior in the most verdant and vibrant rainforest green.
HK$785 (per 70 cm x 10.5 m roll); www.versace.com

Ralph Lauren

Inspired by the Art Deco architecture and design of 1930s New York, this geometric design will add the glitz and glamour of that era with ease. The design features diamond shapes fashioned from lines of little light-reflecting beads atop a finely stippled charcoal background. The result is classy, cool and snazzy, all at once.
HK$1,450 (for 52 cm x 10 m roll); www.ralphlaurenhome.com

Gucci

Straight off the runway from Gucci’s ready-to-wear collection, this bright and vivid heron print is illustrated with the birds and dragonflies throughout. The painterly pattern is set against a soft blushing pink which will add a fun, yet graceful, element to any interior.
HK$3,500 (for two panels 70 cm x 3.5 m each); www.gucci.com

Etro

Bringing the garden into the home, this Etro wallpaper is full of bright colours and striking contrasts to reflect a secret garden in lilac. The foliage design on this wallpaper feels somewhat traditional, but reflects nature’s bounty in a playful manner. An easy way to add style to a home with clean lines and shapes.
HK$1,080 (for 70 cm x 10 m roll); www.etro.rasch.de

Armani

This Nabucco wallpaper by Armani’s interior design arm, Armani/Casa, is for those looking for a more understated vibe. Made in Italy, the name is take from Nabucodonosor, one of the greatest operas by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi in 1842. The earthen wallpaper is also one of Giorgio Armani’s favourite patterns and features the streaked texture of onyx slabs.
HK$1,360 (for 87 cm x 10 m roll); www.armani.com/casa

Christian Lacroix

A dramatic scene of technicoloured florals and botanicals make up this Christian Lacroix wallpaper. Featuring his signature flamboyancy with overlapping bold black lines, the digitally printed wallpaper is designed to make the whole wall pop. And that it certainly does.
HK$1,950 (for 52 cm x 10 m roll); www.christian-lacroix.com

Fontaine Cheng
Born and bred in London, Fontaine is a self-proclaimed foodie with extensive experience in the luxury lifestyle landscape. When not exploring the world — discovering cultures and tasting new dishes — she can be found sipping a nice cup of tea (or G&T) hoping to adopt a puppy.

Here are 10 of the Best Interior Designers and Architects You Should Know

Posted in Interior Design

Whether you’ve just put down a deposit on your first-ever home or are a dozen acquisitions into the investing game, prettying up one’s living space is never a bad choice. Well-designed rooms can help shore up resale value, and if the property in question is one which you actually plan on living in — well, then personalisation is nothing short of essential. To stimulate your inner decorator, take a look at 10 of the best interior designers and architects currently working below.

Adam D. Tihany

best interior designers
(Image source: @tihanydesign)

Tihany is the award-winning Romanian interior designer behind such pioneering hotels as The Breakers in Palm Beach and Belmond Cipriani. Additionally, he’s equally celebrated for his hospitality projects — including Chef Richard Ekkebus’s recently renovated Amber restaurant in Hong Kong. Tihany’s lofty, warmly tinted spaces have won him no shortage of acclaim. Among other celebrities, Thomas Keller is a fan — the award-winning chef has collaborated with Tihany on numerous occasions since 1980, notably on the former’s three Michelin-starred destination Per Se.

André Fu

best interior designers
(Image source: @a.f.s.o)

For design enthusiasts in Asia, Fu’s name is one that is virtually inescapable. In many ways considered to be one of the most sophisticated designers working in the region, the Cambridge-schooled architect is best known for his work on the iconic Upper House property, completed in 2010. Since then, Fu has gone on to refine a design style which blends modernist architecture with Asian-influenced decoration. In recent years, Fu has also launched his own line of homewares — meant to complement the work he’s doing in the structural field.

Francis Sultana

best interior designers
(Image source: @francis_sultana)

The one-time gallerist to Dame Zaha Hadid now serves a clientele which reads as a ‘who’s who’ of the international jet set, having honed a covetable decorating style which marries Baroque scale with a pop art sensibility. Ever the multi-disciplinarian, Sultana’s residential projects are invariably inspired by his background in fine and contemporary art.

Kelly Wearstler

best interior designers
(Image source: @kellywearstler)

The “Grande Dame of West Coast interior design” possesses a creative footprint that stretches from Texas to California, oscillating between chic hotels and private projects for shadowy (mostly celebrity) clients. Notable projects include any of the stylish accommodations under Proper group, including the U.S. hotelier’s eponymous new digs in Austin.

Lee Kwangho

best interior designers
(Image source: @_kwangho_lee)

After graduating from Hongik University’s prestigious College of Fine Arts, Korean designer Kwangho Lee decided to set up shop locally in Seoul. For over a decade, from the happening district of Seongsu-dong, he’s been ginning up ‘materially experimental’ design objects: ranging from vaguely Lovecraftian, textile covered lighting appliances to characterful side tables (pictured above) that have been influenced by traditional Korean arts & crafts.

Lyndon Neri

best interior designers
(Image source: @nerilyndon)

In the 15 years since Lyndon Neri and Rosanna Hu established their eponymous architectural firm, both have become significant forces within China’s growing collective of internationally recognised design talent. From The Shanghai EDITION to Bloomberg’s stunning regional HQ in Hong Kong, Neri brings a very recognisable style to all of his projects — blurring the distance between users, collective spaces and the overarching structured within which both reside.

Norman Robert Foster

best interior designers
(Image source: @officialnormanfoster)

Despite the stately age of 84, Pritzker Laureate Norman Foster remains one of the most prolific, active British architects working today. Design enthusiasts probably best know him for commercial landmarks like The Gherkin (i.e. 30 St Mary Axe, London), but the award-winning architect’s social media feed is full of useful examples of good design — whether that takes the form of sculptural chairs or a gull-wing Mercedes-Benz.

Piero Lissoni

best interior designers
(Image source: @pierolissoni)

Although Lissoni came to prominence in Asia for his work on the undulating louver-clad exteriors of The Middle House, the Italian architect boasts a critically beloved interdisciplinary practice that goes back to 1986 (the year he founded Lissoni Associati alongside fellow designer Nicoletta Canesi). In particular, Lissoni has produced an impressive array of home furniture over the years: including his signature ‘Edamame’ chaise and a series of rodded aluminium tables designed in collaboration with Living Divani.

Tamsin Johnson

best interior designers
(Image source: @tamsinjohnson)

Already considered a darling of the Aussie fashion set — with profiles in Vogue Living and WISH Magazine — Sydney-based designer Tamsin Johnson is fast becoming an international sensation thanks to her clean, luminous, meticulously comfy interior decorating style. In spite of her signature ‘look’, Johnson is careful to practice a restrained, contextual approach when working with private clients — big on heirlooms and light on trends.

Tony Chi

best interior designers
(Image source: @tonychi_official)

‘Whimsical’, ‘sensory’, ‘narrative’ — these are words you’ll habitually hear used when describing the work of interior designer Tony Chi. The Taiwanese-born hotel wunderkind has been contributing steadily to the medium for over 20 years; and has been instrumental in reshaping the idea of hotels as a luxury destination. For a closer look at his award-winning approach to designing desirable interior spaces, see the hotel coverage over at our sister website Lifestyle Asia.

Randy Lai

7 Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly in 2020

Posted in Interior Design

Let’s face it: the hot topic of environmentalism is going nowhere, with people around the world becoming increasingly conscious of their footprint and negative impact on the planet. Whether it’s in the food we eat, the way we get from point A to point B, or the way we set up our living spaces, there’s no time like the present to think about the positive strides we can take in protecting our planet.

If you’re wondering where to begin, making small changes at home is one of the best ways you can start to contribute to a greener planet, and should be on your list of New Year’s goals right up there with diet and exercise resolutions. While not everyone will be installing solar panels or re-doing their flooring, there are simple tweaks you can make to start saving energy and cutting down on emissions. Follow our guide below for a list of ways to go green at home in 2020.

Install a Smart Thermostat

Turning down the thermostat just a couple of degrees can save a huge amount of emissions, and many of us end up leaving on the heating for much longer than we need to, even during the colder winter months (or alternatively, turning up the A/C unnecessarily during summer). A Smart Thermostat allows you to automate settings and adjust your home temperature remotely, as well as have a constant monitor on your electricity consumption.

Create better insulation

Insulating your home properly can go a long ways in helping to trap in heat, thus cutting down on energy and heating costs. For those with large homes to keep warm in the winter, consider inserting foam boards in the walls and using sealant to cover small cracks and gaps between the floors and walls. Other ways to keep heat from escaping include double glazing any windows and covering hardwood floors with rugs to help air from slipping through the cracks in floors.

Become more water-wise

Water consumption is one of the number one ways we waste environmental resources at home. Tighten up your water usage by implementing low-faucet aerators and tankless water heaters, and try switching to a smaller or more efficient dish washer. Of course, some of the best ways to save can be implemented in your day-to-day: take shorter showers, capture excess running water in your kitchen sink to be reused in watering your garden, and get into the habit of turning off faucets while brushing your teeth.

Switch to LED lighting

In addition to being toxin-free, LED lights are proven to be up to 80% more energy efficient than traditional fluorescent and incandescent lights. Emitting very little heat, LED lights last up to 10 times longer than conventional lighting, minimising the number of times you need to change your lightbulbs. While enjoying the same beautiful bright lighting, you’ll see immediate cost savings on your electricity bill.

Rely on sustainable materials

If you’re renovating or even building a new home in 2020, you’ll want to pay extra close attention to the materials you’re using, from flooring to walls and rooftops. Renewable materials such as bamboo and linoleum flooring are much more environmentally friendly, in addition to sustainably harvested and reclaimed wood. When possible, materials are best sourced locally to cut down on the impact of transportation.

Turn your roof into a garden

Given you have the space — or a roof, at that — installing a rooftop garden is a great way to make a sustainable impact, and perhaps pick up a new hobby while you’re at it. Green roofs help to improve air quality and reduce pollution, and are becoming increasingly popular in urban destinations around the world. Growing your own plants and vegetables helps cut down on your monthly groceries cost plus gives you a green space to relax and hang out — making this home sustainability solution a win on all fronts. Don’t have a rooftop? Considering building an indoor vertical garden as another unique way to go green indoors.

Add solar panels to your home

The future of solar energy is looking bright, with solar panel systems for homes taking off at an exponential rate. The benefits are vast: from reducing energy bills to even earning back tax credits and rebates, depending on where you live. Generating renewable energy through solar panels not only helps the environment — it can also help prolong the life of your roof against weather damage and up the resale value of your home.

Leslie Yeh

10 Hong Kong-Based Interior Designers and Design Firms You Should Know

Posted in Designers to Know

You can buy the perfect urban penthouse or three-storey villa by the beach, but until you find the right interior designer to properly outfit your abode, it’s never going to feel like the home of your dreams. Fortunately, Hong Kong has no shortage of independent designers and firms who can turn your space into something spectacular, whether you’re looking to furnish a new property or give your current residence a much-needed contemporary refresh. We’ve surveyed the landscape to handpick 10 interior designers and design firms that deserve to be on your radar. With impressive portfolios and a wide range of creative talents, there’s an option for every type of homeowner on this list.

AB Concept

AB Concept

Founded in 1999 by the designer/architect duo of Ed Ng and Terence Ngan, AB Concept has spent two decades building an ever-expanding global portfolio of luxury design projects for residential and commercial properties, not to mention the worlds of hospitality, wellness and F&B. In Hong Kong, you’ll have seen their work at Central’s New World Tower, the new Victoria Dockside, and The Chinese Library at Tai Kwun. On the residential front, meanwhile, they’ve designed three-level penthouses dripping with understated luxury in both Kau To Shan and Homantin Hill, as well as a glittering private home in Repulse Bay.

AFSO

The name André Fu will be familiar to fans of high-end hotels in Asia: He’s the man responsible for the much-praised design at The Upper House, The St. Regis, and Kerry Hotel in Hong Kong; and the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok. Though he and his firm, AFSO, bear a strong association with the hospitality industry, their portfolio also includes art, retail, and restaurant projects. On the residential front, Fu and his team have brought contemporary elegance to a luxury condo in the Jean Nouvel-designed 52 W 53 tower in Manhattan, as well as 237 serviced residences at K11 Artus in Tsim Sha Shui.

Atelier Lane

After founding interior design firm Atelier Lane in Sydney in 2009, CEO and creative director Ellie Bradley spent two years in Singapore before relocating to Hong Kong in 2018. Since then, she’s been hired to oversee residential projects on Old Peak Road as well as in Jardine’s Lookout and Repulse Bay, where she’s consistently shown an affinity for neutral tones and natural light, creating calming, airy spaces that feel restrained and, ultimately, relaxing. Of particular note is her bold use of bathroom tiling, which wouldn’t look out of place in a hip boutique hotel in London.

Bean Buro

Lorène Faure and Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui met in Paris and worked together in London before creating the design studio Bean Buro in Hong Kong in 2013. Given their multicultural backgrounds—Faure is French, Kinugasa-Tsui is half-Chinese, half-Japanese—the notion of cultural exchange is a hallmark of their work. Though their aesthetic leans in a minimalistic direction, the designers aren’t afraid to employ sculptural centrepieces or curving walls for dramatic effect. Highlights from Bean Buro’s residential portfolio include the refurbishment of a 2,500-square-foot apartment at Piccadilly Mansion in Mid-Levels, and a 1,200-square-foot apartment overlooking the racecourse in Happy Valley dubbed “Urban Cocoon” for its calming nature.

Deborah Oppenheimer

South Africa-born designer Deborah Oppenheimer began her career as an art director in the advertising industry, later launched a fashion label, and then opened her interior design business in Hong Kong in 1993. Her residential projects span Asia, the US and the UK; in Hong Kong, her portfolio includes design for homes in Clearwater Bay, Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay. Though she has a professed love for clean lines, open space and symmetry, her designs are anything but boring. Rather, they’re often punctuated with bold artwork and eclectic statement pieces that give each home a unique sense of character.

Grande Design 

Bright, clean, and contemporary are the first words that come to mind when surveying the work of multi-award-winning firm Grande Design, whose services encompass offices, retail spaces, visual merchandising and, most notably, homes. With a focus on maximising space efficiency, increasing storage space and creating customised furniture, this design juggernaut’s expansive portfolio includes residences in just about every corner of Hong Kong, from Park Island to Sha Tin. Recent highlights from Grande Design’s work include a multi-level high-rise apartment with a sky garden in Fo Tan and an apartment filled with plants and pops of colour at the Mount Pavilia development in Clearwater Bay.

hoo

After spending 11 years working in the advertising industry, Hong Kong-raised YC Chen created his own interior design company, hoo, in 2009. As creative director, he operates with the goal of creating one-of-a-kind haute couture homes for clients, adhering to a guiding principle that each person is unique and therefore each home should be equally original. Accordingly, no two hoo projects look the same, with a focus on even the smallest details to define each project’s character. Amongst their recent projects, a stylish 2,600-square-foot flat in Jardine’s Lookout designed for a stylish grandmother stands out with its French-style cupboard doors inlaid with mirrors.

JAAK

A homophone for the Cantonese word for home, JAAK has specialised in minimalist apartment design since it was founded by Calvin Cheng and Chau Wing Chung in 2013. The firm’s clients include cafes and design shops, and that Instagram-friendly aesthetic fortunately bleeds over into their residential projects as well. Rejecting historical notions of luxury design, JAAK takes a less-is-more approach to home design, with an emphasis on geometric forms, plants and, most important of all, comfort. That’s incredibly important if space is a concern, but JAAK has worked on projects as small as 350 square feet and as big as 2,500 square feet, and everything in between.

NCDA

Raised in Hong Kong and Canada, award-winning interior designer Nelson Chow studied men’s tailoring and worked for internationally renowned design firm AvroKO in New York City before establishing NCDA in 2011. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that his aesthetic gravitates towards the masculine, though he’s not afraid of whimsical flourishes. NCDA’s best-known work has been the interiors at F&B outlets like Foxglove, PDT, Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour and Mak Mak, but the firm also garnered acclaim for its Treehouse project, which employed a split-level design to cleverly maximise the limited space (370 square feet) of an apartment in Ho Man Tin.

Peggy Bels Interior Design

While many of Hong Kong’s interior designers like to keep things looking light and bright, French expat Peggy Bels doesn’t shy away from the darker hues of the colour palette. Black, grey, charcoal and dark blue are commonly seen in her residential projects, as she believes in the ability of dark background to make light colours pop and the way that rough textures lend character to a space. Working in Hong Kong since 2008, many of her wonderfully moody projects tend to be in Central and Sheung Wan, though she has also worked for clients farther afield in Ap Lei Chau and Cheng Chau.

Michael Alan Connelly
A Chicagoan by birth and a New Yorker by habit, Michael has more than a decade of experience in digital publishing at leading titles in the U.S. and Asia. When he's not checking out Hong Kong's newest restaurants and bars or jet setting around the globe, you'll find him hanging out with his dog Buster and enjoying an Aperol Spritz.

8 Statement Chairs to Amp Up Your Home Seating Style

Posted in Interior Design

Science tells us that sitting too much is bad for your health, so when you do take the precious time to sit back and relax, you might as well do it in a special (and stylish) chair. Of course, everyone’s definition of the perfect chair is different, so we’ve selected a variety of styles from some of our favourite furniture makers for your consideration. Whether you’re looking for the most comfortable recliner or a shiny new lounge chair for your sitting room, you’ll find something to spark your imagination below.

André Fu Living

Although it was designed with the dinner table in mind, this minimalistic armchair (HK$16,500) could easily stand on its own in any living room or study. Part of superstar interior designer André Fu’s first home collection, this chair sports a wide silhouette and an oak wood frame with beguiling lines that simultaneously channel both Asian and European influences.

Bo Concept

Clean lines and classic good looks make the Boston armchair as handsomely appealing as it is comfortable, thanks to a thick, soft seat that hugs the body like a cocoon. Shown here in a cognac-colored leather (HK$32,571), the armchair swivels and tilts to become a recliner, making it a versatile piece that could work in any number of rooms.

Dare Studio

Add some darker hues to your living room with the Katakana lounge chair (HK$27,800), sporting a minimalistic frame crafted from American black-walnut wood treated with a hard-wearing wax oil finish. Upholstered in a supple black leather, this is one chair whose style and structure are built to stand the test of time.

Design Within Reach

One of the most significant designs of the 20th century, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman (from HK$41,510) is an enduring classic for a reason. Combining soft leather with moulded wood, the chair is classically seen with black leather, but why not upend tradition by opting for slate, ivory, or even red?

Jonathan Adler

Go for the right mix of understated and flashy with the Goldfinger lounge chair (HK$22,500), which will lend a modernist vibe to any room. The sharp silhouette of the brass-finished frame contrasts with the soft neutrality of the beige cushion, creating the perfect balance that makes this a surprisingly versatile chair that can pair harmoniously with a wide variety of design tastes.

Knoll

With its low profile and bold architectural lines, the D’Urso Residential Lounge Chair (from HK$24,232) effortlessly blends comfort and style. Available in 15 different upholstery options, dozen of colours and with four different types of legs, you can customise the perfect chair to match your style and taste.

Soho Home

Bring Soho House style home with the Baker armchair (approx. HK$26,205), whose luxuriously deep and wide seat invites you to sit and relax for hours on end. Shown here in ochre but available in five other colours, this piece wins us over with its perfect proportions and the turned ball feet fashioned from ash wood.

Tom Dixon

The exaggerated silhouette of Tom Dixon’s Wingback chair (HK$41,900) is just one reason this piece is so eye catching. There’s also the peach-pink upholstery and the copper-tone legs, both signalling a very contemporary look without crossing the line into obnoxiously trendy territory. With an ergonomic design, this might just become your new favorite reading chair — all the more reason to invest in the matching ottoman.

Michael Alan Connelly
A Chicagoan by birth and a New Yorker by habit, Michael has more than a decade of experience in digital publishing at leading titles in the U.S. and Asia. When he's not checking out Hong Kong's newest restaurants and bars or jet setting around the globe, you'll find him hanging out with his dog Buster and enjoying an Aperol Spritz.

8 Chic Furnishings to Spruce Up Your Home

Posted in Interior Design

Turn your home into a sophisticated haven with these fresh furnishings.


The LALA by Reda Amalou Design adds a sleek, graphic touch.

Toulemonde Bochart has your floor issues sorted.

Flexform meets function in the Ascanio occasional table.

Kohler’s Grid tap is the first of its kind made with 3D printing.

Cosy up to Galimberti Nino’s Camelia Cam 01A armchair.

Henrik Pedersen plus BoConcept equals chic minimalist lighting.

Go wild with Indigo Living’s Tribal Zen series.

Australian Greg Natale lends a vase his golden touch.

Staff Writer

5 Kuala Lumpur-Based Interior Design Firms You Should Know

Posted in Designers to Know

These interior designers in Kuala Lumpur offer only the best solutions and strategies to create spaces that combine function with artistic outcomes.

Metrics Global

Metrics Global is a one-stop design and build firm that focuses on achieving impeccable results for clients by tailoring designs that are skilfully integrated with urban graphic arts, charming landscapes, iconic sculptures, thoughtful environmental details, sensuous interior concepts and meticulous 3D modelling.

One Roof Design

One Roof Design is an established team of experienced and dynamic professionals specializing in interior design, building/renovation, residential-and-commercial-product sourcing as well as purchasing and creative marketing services. The company provides a full range of creative services under one roof for residential and commercial projects.

Palladio

Palladio is an award-winning design consultancy with visionary designers at its heart. With 25 years of interior architecture experience, Palladio services all sectors of the interior architecture design industry including residential, hospitality, retail, government, education and corporate clients.

SQFT Space Design Management

Whether it’s a property show unit, corporate office, retail establishment or private residence, SQFT Space Design Management offers outstanding design and incredible value.

Turn Design Interior

Incorporated in 1998, Turn Design Interior is an established Malaysian company specialising in interior design for homes, condos, offices and more. To date, the company has been awarded many contracts from the government as well as from private sectors.

Staff Writer