January 24, 2017

10 Questions With… André Fu

André Fu has found a niche in the five-star Asian hotel sector. The designer and architect, born and based in Hong Kong, has completed an impressive range of urban hotels and resorts on the continent, including the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, The Upper House in Hong Kong, and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore. While his architectural studio, AFSO, builds an increasingly continent-spanning portfolio, his lifestyle venture, André Fu Living, takes on product collaborations with brands such as Lasvit and Tai Ping. Fu talks to Interior Design about his British schooling and favorite hotels.

Interior Design: What are some of your favorite places to stay?

Andre Fu: Parco dei Principi in Sorrento, Italy, a genuine vision by Gio Ponti that bears a holistic design language. Park Hyatt Tokyo, a timeless design that embraces the spirit of a new generation of sky hotels. And The Connaught, in London, for its intimacy.

ID: You’ve worked with prestigious brands like Four Seasons, Shangri-La, and Park Hyatt. What is the key to a successful designer-client relationship?

AF: The understanding that design is only a means to facilitate an environment. The operational methodology and the life infused into the every day plays a more important role somewhat. 

ID: Where did you grow up, and how did it influence your work? 

AF: I was born in Hong Kong but left for education in the United Kingdom as a teenager. Upon completion of my training in England, I was offered an opportunity in Shanghai that brought me back to Asia. I decided to set up my studio in Hong Kong in 2004.

My British training provided me with an intuitive understanding of the evolution of anything from classical to post-modernist architecture. My times in London and Europe also exposed me to different lifestyles and cultures.

I believe my upbringing—being influenced by the Western world, yet rooted in many values of the East—has empowered me to respond to design challenges in very different context. 

ID: What are a few recent projects? 

AF: Villa La Coste in Provence, France. Its signature spa, the library, and the Pavillon Louison restaurant are set atop the Luberon mountains to celebrate the world of art, architecture, and wine. Kerry Hotel is my largest commission to date, a 500-room hotel set on Hong Kong’s stunning waterfront. I have always described hospitality design as a curation of experiences, and the sense of journey through a large property is particularly challenging—it is very much a balancing act.

Villa La Coste in Provence, France. Photography by Richard Haughton.

ID: Which projects are you most proud of?

AF: The Upper House Hotel, Hong Kong, is an intimate hotel that embraces many qualities of where I see hospitality going forward. The hotel has dedicated its space to the guest rooms. As a result, we have created the largest hotel bathrooms in an urban environment, with a limestone-clad tub that offers immaculate views, as well as open showers that are extensive in size.

The lobby and public spaces are kept to a minimum and the entire hotel experience is highly bespoke.

ID: Which person, place, or thing—inside the industry or out—inspires you? 

AF: Artists: Mark Rothko, Park Seo-Bo. Architects: Gio Ponti, Peter Zumthor.

ID: Most recently download app? 

AF: Louis Vuitton City Guide

ID: A secret source you’re willing to share? 

AF: Minty Moment on Instagram.

ID: Dream commission? 

AF: A public park. Perhaps I have always been fascinated with the possibility of landscaping—the layering that we can bring into the realms of a public park design and the potential engagement with the public on a day-to-day basis.

The Upper House in Hong Kong. Photography courtesy of André Fu.

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