Waiting With Marc Newson

We both love traveling but what we don’t like is going through the immigration, security, and waiting at the lounge or departure gate (I guess you all agree with us, right?). Given that,  we usually arrive the airport just in time, so that we can minimize the waiting time. However, when I was on my way back to Hong Kong from Sydney, I actually arrived at the airport 2 hours earlier so that I could have more time to experience the Quantas First Class Lounge designed by Quantas Creative Director Marc Newson.

The curve lush green wall led me to the lounge on the floor above

The ceiling design resembled the aircraft engine

This retro flight departure board was brilliant, especially the sound when the information was changing

The lounge was divided into different areas by the rib cage like structure. All the furniture were made by Capellini

The gradation hexagon pattern carpet impressed me a lot

Work zone

Living room setting lounging area

Very sleek show kitchen

Make sure you arrive at the Sydney Airport earlier enough to experience the Marc Newson design when you get a chance. Bon Voyage~~~

 

Live To Eat

The motto “live to eat” is one that we both believe in and live by as in our view, life is just way too short to eat bad food. By this we don’t mean that we don’t eat fast food or snacks as they can be just as delicious but we just mean the types of food that are unsatisfying or those that just fills a gap. We very much enjoy different dining experiences as much as we can and of course as a result we both have to exercise a lot to ensure that we can still fit into our clothes as good food almost certainly means a lorry load of calories!

While I was in Sydney, I noticed that the food and beverage scene there was exceptionally good. Both the design of the establishments and the food were both equally good. It really inspired me a great deal and I will be sure to apply some of those ideas in my future projects.

An example of this flair in design and in food is Mr. Wong, a modern Chinese cuisine restaurant. I loved the high ceiling and the raw interior here. A typical Chinese restaurant wouldn’t look like this.

When I saw the wine glass with the last name ‘Wong’ on it, my first impression was that it was  a bit cliché. But then, I realized  it actually matched the vibe and the interior. Really not bad at all!!

My client highly recommended us to try the Ivy, and he could not have been more right. The Ivy occupied 3 levels and was flooded with daylight

 Very casual setting with a lot of lush greenery and to top it off, it was quite happening!!!

Al-fresco dining could be seen throughout Sydney

The early work of Tony Chi at the Glass Brasserie was still so beautiful yet elegant

 A double ceiling bar…Amazing!!!

That’s all I could experience during my 2-day trip and I am sure I cannot wait to go back again to experience more soon~~~

Home Away Home

As an interior designer, I am very picky about where I stay during my trips, no matter if its for business or for pleasure. Sometimes, I hate myself for it. But after all, I am just looking for a hotel which is centrally located, is furnished with a comfortable room like my own home, and of course, has a good size gym.

During my recent business trip to Sydney, Park Hyatt Sydney checked all the boxes of my needs. First of all, the hotel is located at The Rocks with the magnificent harbor front view of the Sydney Opera House. Second, the hotel was designed in a very residential style with soothing color palette, featuring beautiful artwork from renowned Australian artists. The room was very comfortable and airy, with full height glass that opened onto a private balcony. Finally, the hotel was equipped with a very comfortable gym. Even though it’s a little small, it’s very private. I totally felt like home there…

The overall look and feel of the Park Hyatt Sydney reminded me a lot of the Park Hyatt Shanghai in many ways. After some research, I realized that  it’s BARStudio who designed the Park Hyatt Sydney who also used to work with Tony Chi. The lobby lounge was very cozy but a bit small and was just located right behind of the reception.

The Reception

The Lobby Lounge

I loved the art programme in this hotel. When I tried to google them, I was not able to find any information. I just knew that they were all done by local Australian artists

This was one of my favorites area in the hotel – The Lift Lobby. Why? Usually when you step out of the elevators, you will either see a blank wall or more elevator doors. But here, I see a nice library setting!

The overall ambience of the room was so calm and comfortable. Can you guys notice anything different on the room design? There was no bulk head above the bathroom. (the ceiling around the bathroom was lowered to make space for A/C). In Park Hyatt Sydney, A/C was actually along the balcony.

The view from the room was just spectacular

The entrance of the fitness centre

The fitness centre was well equipped with Techno Gym Machines

 Sydney is famous for its indoor-outdoor dining experience. In the dining room, the window can be pulled up like a garage door

 

It Takes Two To Tango

Some of you may have picked up by now, if you have been following our posts for long enough that we have quite often blogged about the losing battle of the smaller independent stores and the engulfing presence of the gigantic luxury stores in Hong Kong. It is a familiar story for most small retailers in Hong Kong who have been facing the soaring rents since early 2012. Rental prices have increased to the level that only the big time jewelers and watches chain stores, international luxury fashion houses and those handbags ‘stations’ can afford. We have witnessed the downfall of the family-operated businesses forced to close down, other stores being forced to move from street level to upstairs and others being moved somewhere new altogether. Who is going to suffer in the end? Of course, it’s the customers, it’s ‘US’, who purchase the goods from the retailers as we have no alternative but to transfer those costs to the customers.

The south part of the Hong Kong Island, in particular Wong Chuk Hang has become the latest designated area for home furniture, designs and fashions. Lane Crawford Home, Manks, CLOT, Ground Zero and many more have moved to this area already. The newly opened furniture and accessories atelier called La Deux happened to catch our eyes recently. La Deux is located in a very modernized factory building, only a few steps away from the new One Island South Building. When I walked into the atelier, I felt like I was in an art gallery. Since it’s an atelier, the interior design is very simple yet raw. According to one of the founders Alan Tse, who possesses more than 20 years of importing European luxury furniture, the atelier was designed to facilitate the different settings while showcasing different furniture, lighting, rugs and decorative objects each month. Some are exclusive and some are new to the Hong Kong market, but of course, the brands have a long history in Europe already.

Their first exhibition was held recently and I was seriously impressed by the brands that the atelier carries. 2 sets of Shadow pendants from Brokis designed by Dan Yeffet & Lucie Koldova in Czech. You can use your own creativity to group the cables and to adjust different height levels. The high quality and gigantic glass objects were from secondome.

 The A Shaped Table Leg were used in the atelier to showcase all the luxury collections

The ‘Tree’ is my favorite! I can imagine all the colorful cupcakes beautifully placed inside the ‘Tree’.

Do you think they all looked like animals with bow ties around their necks and ankles?

They even had my favorite rugs from Golran!!! I have met the owners of Golran in person when I was in Milan last year!!! Very contemporary and stylish!!!

When I saw this Anna Torfs perfect crystal glass object called ‘Parts’. It reminded me of the one that I saw in Paris Maison & Objet but in gold color. However, Alan said the gold-coated one was sold already! OMG, so fast!!! What is most impressive is that you won’t see a single connection point or joint as it is made by one single piece of glass.

 Memories series was my favorite collection out of Golan’s rug selections

The rugs under Patchwork series were made by vintage carpets which underwent some decolorization process. No two are identical.

What a perfect match!!! Finn Juhl furniture, Golan patchwork rugs and Brokis’ Muffin series

Different sizes of Brokis’ Ballon were brought by them to create different ambience through the reflectors.

 I love this tungsten light bulb in the Ballon!!!

La Deux means ‘The Two’ in English. Their philosophy of success is in the form of a partnership. Partnership can combine each individual’s expertise to achieve a greater mission. 2individuals shares the same philosophy that we can’t exist without the other.

La Deux
Workshop 1
6/F The Factory
1 Yip Fat Street
Wong Chuk Hang

The building itself is quiet artsy~~~

Recharge At The Barai

Hau Hin, Thailand, has been our New Year’s escape for many years. A lot of our friends ask us why we choose Hua Hin as there’s nothing to do there. Wait! That’s the whole point, we take a time just to do nothing, relax and recharge our batteries.

This year we revisited one of our favorite resorts in Hau Hin, The Barai. The Barai was designed by the renowned architect and interior designer Lek Bunnag and the whole design was inspired by the heritage of Khmer architecture and art, but interpreted in a contemporary way.

What we like most about The Barai is the experience of the journey. Long narrow dark corridors and stepping stones were introduced at the beginning of the journey. It is designed to slow you down through the use of low lighting and steps. However, along the way, Bunnag carefully injected a series of surprises by using light and shadow via small openings and the wall of stars. The cut out stars on the wall are used to capture the light source and represents the end of the journey. After a long dark journey we were formally welcomed in the Salarai water court, designed to recall a baray (baray is a large man made reservoir created by the ancient Khmers to channel water). The Barai experience really helped us unwind and recharge for 2013.

The darkness and the small opening gradually slowed you down during the journey…

The cut-out stars led you to other room through the small entrance

That’s the incredible Salarai water court. It takes your breath away…

Long corridors, steps, small doors and low lighting were the essential elements of The Barai’s design

This was the angle when you looked up to the roof, ineffable!!!

Creative VVs Commerical

It’s good to be back! Hope you all enjoyed the seasonal holidays with your friends and families. Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2013! You may have noticed that we have been quite quiet recently, not posting anything new for longer than we expected. The reason for this was not because of the holidays but our website platform has been upgraded Hopefully, now it will be more stable and faster when you browse the posts. We actually spent some time in Thailand exploring some new designs and to revisit our favourite places during the holidays The first one we would like to share with you all is the W Bangkok.

W Hotel’s core value is made up by its 3 pillars – Playful, Whimsical and Flirty. Throughout the years, we have been to many W hotels around the globe, and this core value is clearly visible to us, especially in W Retreat and SPA Bali, W Seoul Walkerhill and W New York.

However, the brand and the owner of W is always in a constant battle as W wants to enhance its core value by doing something out of the box, but on the other hand, the owner would only tend to look at the commercial and business aspects. We think W Bangkok is a win win for both as the fun elements were visible throughout the property while remaining functional. Despite the fact that we heard some negative feedback of W Bangkok, we both think it is actually quite a nice W as it is totally on brand. Of course there is always room for improvement, like the detailing and material choices.

The entrance – the pattern projected on the W logo was so fashionable

The lobby was designed by Thai Soda and the concept was based on movie

This tuk tuk lights inspired feature wall definitely demonstrated W’s WOW factor and at the same time infused the Thai elements into the hotel. Excellent job!!!

 

 We liked the graphics of this hotel, so Thai and yet so modern. This was the graphic at the SWEAT (Gym)

Mixed pattern carpet at the lift area

Elements of Thai boxing could be found in the Wonderful room and the Spectacular room

The pool was just amazing. The two level design simply allowed the guests to have some quiet moment

The all day dining concept was based on a Thai story of a famous crocodile hunter Kraitong

We both LOVE this stunning artwork by Alongot, the local artist from North Eastern Thailand. The design concept for this artwork was to show the business and beauty of Bangkok skyline fused between temple and people.

Since W Bangkok is still at the soft opening stage, we will go back to explore the remaining facilities once they are all ready. See you soon, W Bangkok!!!

The Ultimate Shopping Experience – Part II

Thank God I only got to stay in New York for 4 nights, otherwise there would have been much more drastic damage done to my wallet.  Because in between meetings and before dinners, I couldn’t help but  do as much shopping as I could in this exciting city. Ralph Pucci has been covered in our previous post.  ABC Carpet & Home, Holly Hunt and BDDW were also marked by my footprints.

What I liked the most in ABC Carpet & Home was the extensive carpet collection

Believe it or not, I carried out a thorough search to find the right color!!!

 There you go!!! My choices!!!

The sleek design of a 3-storey Holly Hunt showroom on 150 East 58th Street featuring furniture and lighting by CASTE, Kevin Reilly, Alison Berger and many more. It’s modern yet timeless

The sculptural form of CASTE’s collection was ineffable. Tripod bases and tapering legs are the signature designs designed by Ty Best

That’s my favorite dining chair, Gallatin Dining Chair with Arm. Look at the detail at the back!

Stunning pendant by Alison Berger

A totally different style of furniture could be found at the BDDW on 5 Crosby Street

Sculptural stool by Kieran Kinsella

This beautiful bronze torch was NOT for sale

Dentist lamp inspired wall sconce

Lindsey Adelman’s globe chandelier

The perfectly handcrafted wooden handle gave a strong character to this Wingback Armchair

The Captain’s mirror

Spotted! The leather strap detail on this bookshelf!!!

 

The Ultimate Shopping Experience – Part I

As you are probably aware, we are obsessed with furniture, so what better city in the world to visit than New York to satisfy our desire for checking out new furniture.  New York is packed full of delightful and beautiful furniture stores. One of our favorites is Ralph Pucci. Ralph Pucci’s furniture is not like any ordinary furniture store. Every piece in its store is  like a piece of art, each piece is made bespoke with the greatest of craftsmanship. Most of them are designed by French designers for example Audrey Putman, Chris Lehrecke, Patrick Naggar, Paul Mathieu, Jerome Abel Seguin and many more……

The Ralph Pucci International showroom serves not only as a gallery but also as a contemporary salon. During my visit, I was lucky enough to see a lot of beautiful illustrations on the wall by Cuban artist, Ruben Toledo.

Unconventional oversize mobile pendant light by David Weeks

I can see this beautiful pendant light by Herve Van der Straeten hanging above my dining table

A simple form but rich in detail, this wall scones is designed by Lianne Gold

I love love love this chair by Paul Mathieu, very art piece…

Very interesting combination of leather and steel by Jim Zivic

This copper vessel is crafted by a German artist, Sven Hermann-Padditz

This small ladder is a perfect item for my library

Close of the butterfly handle by Chris Lehecke

The jade like wall scone is designed by Patrick Naggar

The illustration by Cuban artist Ruben Toledo

Local Experience From The Inside Out

When we plan for our travels, we always spend a lot of time searching for the right accommodation. The process can be very difficult sometimes because a certain number of criteria needs to be matched…it has to be centrally located, nicely designed, comfortable, within our price range and, last but not least, a fitness centre is a must (we both need to exercise in the morning before we go out).

During my recent trip to New York, I was contemplating between the Andaz 5th Avenue and the Setai 5th Avenue. I picked Setai in the end as the Andaz was fully booked… During my stay, I was very disappointed with the Setai. It’s nothing like the one in Miami and I did not even bother to take out my camera to take pictures. Maybe I had too many expectations for this hotel before I came and the only comment that I could give you was.that it was. comfortable and that’s all. Since I was so underwhelmed by this hotel, I decided to visit the Andaz 5th Avenue.  As I was told by  my friends who work in the Hyatt Group, this Andaz hotel is the only one truly on brand (Andaz is a new brand by the Hyatt Group which is inspired and infused by the  local culture from the inside out) and it is designed by Tony Chi.

The front entrance of Andaz was very modern but yet carried a touch of art deco

The signature free standing reception desk

As Andaz is just across from the New York Library, hence it created a library corner

Art work in the stair well reminded of me of old books

I was so impressed by the glass wardrobe when I stepped into the room

The all day dining featuring full height wine cellar

What I found the most interesting was the meeting room level. Hyatt is famous for creating interesting meeting venues. In here, the breakout area was a cozy living room and a spacious open kitchen.

I love the door design. Very New York

New York’s infamous character

 

 

A New Cycle A New Beginning

So how many of you out there have a lucky number or lucky numbers even?  You know, those auspicious numbers that we all use time and time again for so many purposes from cell phone numbers to the pin numbers of our ATM cards.  I’m sure most of you have them.  Many people choose the number 8, others will choose the number 7.  But the question I have is whether anyone has ever wondered about the significance of the number 12?  If you take a second to think about it, our lives are  made up of 12′s.  The time that our daily lives are based on is separated by two sets of 12, 12 hours of daytime (a.m.) and 12 hours of night time (p.m.), although this does fluctuate between different countries!. Our Gregorian calendars are made up of12 too, i.e. 12 months a year! There are 12 horoscopes and in the Chinese calendar, there are 12 animal signs to form a cycle.  The list goes on…

ABConcept is a HK based interior design company specializing in luxury hospitality design. 2012 marked the 12th anniversary of ABConcept.  To commemorate 12 years in the business, ABConcept decided to launch their first book named – The Language of Luxe to celebrate their first 12 years cycle. This luxurious coffee table book features ABConcept’s award winning and successful projects.

When the invitation arrived through the post, what  surprised me a little was the venue of the launch.  It was to take place at their office in Causeway Bay.  I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of book launch takes place in someone’s office? Intriguing! On the day of the launch , I was greeted upon arrival, by a  giant bronze pivot swinging door.  Behind the door, I was amazed to find a garden and a spacious living room that comprised the reception area.  I have never seen a reception of that size before in Hong Kong especially given the soaring rental prices in Hong Kong!  The living room featured a number of antique furniture and art works.

I was impressed by this giant bronze pivot swinging door when I arrived

The Garden

Very sculptural reception desk

The living room featured many antique pieces like Chieftains Chair by Finn Juhl; Papa Bear by Hans Wegner; Melting Clocks Sculpture by Salvador Dali and so on…

Beautiful art works can be found throughout ABConcept’s office. Painting by Olivier et Myriam and Circle Sculpture by Curtis Jere

Another surprise was that ABConcept provides a gym for its staff!!! All equipments inside are by Techno Gym

The founders of ABConcept – Mr. Ed Ng (on the right) and Mr. Terence Ngan (on the left). The book launch was very relaxed and warm affair, almost like a family gathering. A lot of touching moments when Mr. Ng delivered the speech. The Language of Luxe will be available internationally after Christmas.

Some small gifts to end the evening…