Andre Fu Studio is an internationally acclaimed interior design studio in Hong Kong, founded by interior architect André Fu. With an extensive portfolio of projects throughout Asia and Europe, the studio has revolutionized the concept of modern luxury with a series of projects that reflect Fu’s signature artistic perspective and timeless sensibility. Best Interior Designers was honored to interview André Fu for an interesting talk about his career and projects in the interior design industry.
Best Interior Designers: How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?
André Fu: I have always been fascinated with the world of design – I still recall how I enjoyed drawing mazes for my fellow classmates to work their ways out when I was merely 6. I was born in Hong Kong and left for the United Kingdom at the age of 14. I then went to the University of Cambridge for my formal education to pursue architecture. I guess my interest in architecture and design was born from the time I spent in Europe and also my childhood in Asia, which has culturally inspired my appreciation of the notion of design in many ways.
Best Interior Designers: How would you describe your work style?
André Fu: Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects? I think my work is hugely diverse yet there is an underlying sense of ‘relaxed luxury’ to it that defines my own aesthetic. It is about crafting compelling settings that embrace and reflect harmony, beauty, and warmth, and which are imbued with refined, understated sophistication.
Best Interior Designers: Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better results. Are you in love with this job? What do you love most about being an interior designer?
André Fu: I feel privileged to be able to design spaces for leisure, relaxing, and socializing. Most of all, I enjoy sitting in one of the hotels or restaurants I have designed and observing how people interact with the space. There is nothing more fulfilling than people feeling immersed in environments that I have created.
Best Interior Designers: What is your philosophy on design and life?
André Fu: Being born in the east and then raised in the west, I trust my work is an honest expression of the way I live. With the scalable hotel projects that formulate a large part of my portfolio, I would at other times have many opportunities to travel to the specific location and every reason to talk the time to absorb and communicate with the local team to gain a more in-depth understanding of the destination. Notably, celebrating ‘a sense of place’ is an understatement in the world of hospitality, but I personally think there is nothing more rewarding than to create each hotel with its own narrative, a story that evokes a genuine re-telling of a city’s cultural context.
Best Interior Designers: Keep up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?
André Fu: In the past, I would travel extensively and was frequently inspired by the environment in which I found myself, from local crafts to the history and heritage of the place. For example, when I was designing Hotel The Mitsui in Kyoto, I found inspiration in the beautiful Zen Gardens there and incorporated some of the elements into my latest Andre Fu Living collection, a lifestyle collection. In terms of keeping up with current trends, I do eat out a lot and make a point of visiting new hotels and restaurants, and while travel is difficult at present, and we can’t visit other countries, I have ventured out into places in Hong Kong that I have never experienced in the past – I trust the notion of seeking inspirations is merely a state of mind, I tend to find inspirations in the most unassuming places.
Best Interior Designers: Which major international events do you attend/follow to get the latest novelties?
André Fu: In the past I would always visit Milan for Salone – it is an inspirational city during that time when the world’s top design talent is there to show the latest in furniture, lighting, and interior accessories. I also like to visit Art Basel Hong Kong in my home city and hope I may visit Design Miami in the US next year.
Best Interior Designers: How would you describe your personal decorating style?
André Fu: I think any project I undertake should embrace cross-cultural nuances, depict modernity, and exude relaxed luxury. A good project should focus on the essence of experiences – I always believe an environment ought to be genuine and specific for its consumer, and not about creating a mere spectacle.
Best Interior Designers: All artists need some inspiration to work, and interior designers are artists too. So, what or who really inspires you?
André Fu: I believe I am influenced by things that surround me – from a whimsical moment that I would observe from a vintage café to mid-century architecture that I admire. I trust I am also heavily inspired by the poetic quality of Mark Rothko’s paintings, the power of Brancusi’s sculptures. I also hugely admire the works of architects Jean Michel Frank and Gio Ponti for their holistic approach to design.
Best Interior Designers: Inspiration is something that pushes everyone to create unique things. What makes you see the world in a different way?
André Fu: Being born in the east and then raised in the west, I trust my work is an honest expression of the way I have lived. My upbringing, my travels, and more importantly, my observation of the behavior of people all serve to inspire me equally.
Best Interior Designers: If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish it was made by you, which one would it be?
André Fu: I have always wanted to create a public park so my one project would be……………High Line park in New York for how it re-invents urban landscape or the Majorelle Garden in Marrakesh for its exotic yet highly lush atmosphere
Best Interior Designers: How important is a perfect chemistry between you and your clients to achieve the best results?
André Fu: It is about chemistry with the client but also the place itself. My design process is highly organic – typically it begins with a series of in-depth conversion with the client to understand the genuine vision behind the project. I would also allow myself the time to understand the context of the site, its neighbourhood and its character. The narrative of the project would naturally fall into place and there would be a mental collage that starts to take shape – at the point, I would pick up a pencil and start to draw as a very first step to begin the process. I am happy that I have worked with some of the same clients for years, such as Paddy McKillen from the Maybourne Group.
Best Interior Designers: Choose the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall result. Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?
André Fu: With the scalable hotel projects that formulate a large part of my portfolio, it was always essential for me to travel to the specific location, and then absorb and communicate with the local team to gain a more in-depth understanding of the destination. Notably, celebrating ‘a sense of place’ is an understatement in the world of hospitality, but I personally think there is nothing more rewarding than to create each hotel with its own narrative, a story that evokes a genuine re-telling of a city’s cultural context.
Best Interior Designers: Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?
André Fu: It is important to work as a team – it allows interacts/discussion/questioning. I enjoy how each team member could bring something different to the table.
Best Interior Designers: Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
André Fu: I am currently working with Claridges in London on its new spa, opening early 2022. While I have created spas before, this is probably the biggest, most complex and demanding project I have undertaken in this area.
Best Interior Designers: What has been your greatest accomplishment as a designer? What goals do you have for the future?
André Fu: Indeed accolades and recognition is a bonus but I feel earning the trust in my collaborators and having the opportunity to realize my personal vision is the greatest gift – goals for the future: nurture my lifestyle brand – Andre Fu Living – and also to continually create destinations that could weave into the fabric of each city/destination for people to experience.
Best Interior Designers: Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?
André Fu: I have two favorite projects – the Upper House as this marked the beginning of my career as a designer of hospitality spaces, and Villa La Coste in Provence – it was a privilege to work with Paddy McKillen and be part of his vision for this beautiful place.
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