André Fu: His Designs Will Relax You
Interior Architect, André Fu Studio
What do you do?
I am the founder of ANDRÉ FU STUDIO, an interior architecture studio based in Hong Kong with a strong focus on hospitality design globally, with key projects in Asia and Europe. I am also the founder of ANDRÉ FU LIVING, a holistic collection of lifestyle products.
My days are very varied. Naturally, I spend a lot of time in studio, working on my upcoming projects. Days are also filled with video conferences with clients to ensure I am capturing their vision accurately, or carrying out internal reviews with my team. I’m also immersed in Hong Kong’s vibrant creative scene and enjoy attending new openings and other art and design events across the city. Prior to the pandemic, I also spent much of my time traveling to project locations around the world.
What's the biggest work challenge you’re facing right now?
The main challenge I currently face is a lack of travel due to ongoing restrictions around the globe. As many of my projects are oriented around travel and hospitality across the world, I used to travel very regularly prior to the pandemic, which was a great source of inspiration. I found this incredibly valuable, as it allowed me to capture the authentic essence of the places I was designing for and to interact with clients firsthand. However, to draw a positive from this lack of travel, it has meant that I’ve spent much more time at home in my Hong Kong studio, which has resulted in a very productive time for me to focus purely on the creative process as well as allowing myself more time to focus on my well-being.
What post-pandemic changes would you like to see?
Having witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry, I would like to see hotel design that is prepared for the new normal, deliberately designed to allow customers to feel confident and safe without losing a sense of luxury and community. For example, I have recently completed the interiors of Salisterra, the new restaurant at The Upper House Hotel in Hong Kong. Built into the very layout of the restaurant is a respect for social distancing, including semi-private dining booths and secluded areas for more intimate gatherings. I believe that his kind of pandemic-proof architecture allows guests to feel comfortable without missing out on the spirit and community of the venue, and hope that as an industry we can continue to innovate in creative ways to meet evolving consumer demands.
Share a few recent discoveries.
Show → I recently visited the high jewelry exhibition hosted by Chanel that unveiled a collection of pieces created specifically to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its legendary No. 5 perfume. The level of creativity it took to transform elements of perfume into highly crafted jewelry pieces was highly captivating.
Film → The recent Netflix series on American designer Halston was inspiring — particularly the portrayal of rise and fall and, to a greater extent, the unique place New York represented at the time.
What's a travel trend you’re excited about?
Now that people all over the world have become so accustomed to working via digital platforms, I anticipate that the purpose of travel may take on a slightly new form: a reduction in purely business-based travel. I see leisure travel becoming the predominant driver of the hospitality sector — with an emphasis on cultural authenticity, rather than convenience. This would encourage luxury hotels to express unique personas, embracing the culture and heritage of their locations more authentically.
Tell us about a place you are eager to visit.
I am greatly looking forward to visiting Japan once travel resumes, particularly Kyoto. Last year, I completed work on Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto and have since been longing to visit the completed hotel in person. The hotel truly captures the authentic spirit of the city. Working closely with local craftspeople and artists, the design is a contemporary reflection of Japanese teahouse interiors through understated customized furniture and beautifully crafted interlocking joinery. One of the hotel’s main features is the Japanese Garden created in collaboration with Kyoto landscape master Shunsaku Miyagi. Honoring historical Japanese gardens, the landscaping creates a mindful, reflective space in which to experience a sense of Japanese hospitality, architecture, and culture. I am greatly inspired by Japanese gardens, and later this summer I look forward to launching my new Andre Fu Living collection, Art Deco Garden, a collection of furniture and lifestyle pieces deeply influenced by my travels to Kyoto.
Which Fathom stories are resonating with you lately?
In the absence of air travel, magazines and platforms such as Fathom can help us travel through inspiring places via the wonderful images and stories shared. With my strong personal interest in the cultural history of Kyoto, this story and this one — about getting into a moss forest temple — are really resonating with me.