The best interior designers and architects in Asia to watch out for
From hotels to skyscrapers, some leading interior designers and architects in Asia are making the world step back and take notice of their craft. Combining elements of Western style with Eastern culture and traditions, these designers have produced some of the most beautiful buildings and spellbinding interiors in Asia and beyond.
Here are some of the best interior designers and architects to watch out for.
The Cambridge-trained architect is considered one of the most influential names in Asian design circles. Fu is best known for his iconic creation from 2009 – the Upper room in Hong Kong. The symmetry, geometry, and fusion of the hotel’s modern-oriental sensibility with European aesthetics perfectly demonstrate Fu’s quintessential style and craftsmanship. Since the creation of the Upper House – and the acclaim Fu has garnered because of it – the designer has created wonderful interiors and structures of hotels, restaurants and art spaces. These include the St Regis Hong Kong, Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, Andaz Singapore, The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Bangkok, Akira Back in Four Seasons Seoul, Summer Palace in Shanghai, Perrotin Shanghai and Matthias Schaller Exhibition in Hong Kong. He also created an original piece of furniture for the exclusivity of Louis Vuitton Nomad Objects collection. In 2019, Fu launched André Fu alive (AFL) – a collection of lifestyle products bearing his signature style.
The Taiwanese-American interior designer is renowned for his avant-garde approach to design. In addition to being visually appealing, his works captivate all the senses of the viewer with their aesthetic charm. Chi founded his homonymous studio in 1984 in New York City, which is behind the stunning designs of some of the world’s most renowned hotels, restaurants and spas, including Colony at the Ritz-Carlton Singapore, Pagoda House in Kyoto, Bencotto at Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Hong Kong’s DarkSide bar and wellness center Asaya, the i.sawan Residential Spa & Club in Bangkok and Grand Hyatt in China, and the Park Hyatt in Shanghai. One of Chi’s most notable works is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Guangzho, where the marble floor is designed like a river flowing through a Modernist courtyard that perfectly reinvents traditional Chinese architecture in a contemporary setting. Another of his most notable creations is the Lincoln House at Rosewood London, designed to accentuate the richness of the 1914 Edwardian-style building and be as welcoming as a luxurious apartment.
In her late 30s, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate made a name for herself at a young age. Wang is based in London and Hong Kong. His repertoire includes Equinox Health and Fitness Center at St. James’s, London; private residences such as the three-story Xintiandi penthouse in Shanghai; restaurants like Mott 32 and Ichu in Hong Kong and Jin Gui in Hamburg; and hotels such as The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and the Penthouse Suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London.
Born in Hawaii, Wang was inspired by the design of her travels around the world with her parents. In addition to her degree from MIT, she holds an MA from the Royal College of Art in London.
Soo K. Chan
The Singaporean architect is the founder of SCDA Architects, a multidisciplinary firm involved in landscape, architecture, interior, lighting and product design. Chan has created architectural masterpieces across continents. From mixed-use development projects and hotels to resorts and skyscrapers, Chan’s work is widely celebrated around the world. With a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University, Chan has taught at the National University of Singapore, Syracuse University, and the University of Paris, among others. Recipient of numerous awards, he won the inaugural President’s Design Award and the Singapore Designer of the Year 2006.
A unique feature of Chan’s and SCDA’s designs is the blend of serenity and beauty with fundamental architectural elements such as space, light and order. Several buildings have distinctive rectangular shaped elements, where the design is based on the concept of inversion – which emphasizes the interior and exterior. The culture and climate of the city or country of origin play a major role in the architecture of buildings.
Among the many buildings designed by Chan include the Sanya Edition Hotel in Sanya, China; A KL condominium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Rang Mahal Restaurant and The Marq Residence in Singapore; development of villas and clubs on Eco Kura Kura island in Bali as well as Soori Bali in Bali; and a luxury high-rise condominium in Ahmedabad, India.
Lyndon Neri and Rosanna Hu
Husband-wife duo Lyndon Neri and Rosanna Hu are the founding partners of Neri & Hu Design and Research Office, an architectural firm that is among the best in China. Neri holds a Masters of Architecture from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. Hu received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley before receiving his Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University. Hu and Neri were inducted into the American Interior Design Hall of Fame in 2013.
Neri and Hu both began teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Design the Fall 2019 semester as John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture, in addition to the Yale School of Architecture, as a visiting professor of fall 2018 Norman R. Foster and the University of Hong Kong Graduate School. of Architecture. In addition to working in the fields of architecture and interiors, the duo have also been involved in industrial design products for many brands in Europe and Asia including Agape, BOLON, ClassiCon, Concrete LCDA, Nanimarquina, Poltrona Frau, Riva 1920, JIA and Stellar Works. .
Among their unique designs is the Shrine, Suzhou Chapel in Jiangsu, China, which is instantly recognizable for its white box-like structure sitting amidst brick walls of varying heights. Their other works include The Relic Shelter – Fuzhou Tea House in Fuzhou, China, and the redesign of an existing five-story building into a lantern-inspired flagship store for Asian skin care brand Sulwhasoo in Seoul, in South Korea. Neri and Hu are also the founders of the Design Republic concept store, located in Shanghai. The store design was carried out by Neri & Hu, which resulted in the company winning awards such as the Design For Asia (DFA) 2012 and the Best of Year Awards 2012 by Interior Design Magazine.
A general look at the style of Kwangho Lee and one can make an educated guess that the art of knitting is what had a major influence on the designer. Indeed, from chairs to lights, several of Lee’s works appear as finely knitted sculpted pieces. Thread, nylon, hose, leather, and PVC tubing are the materials he usually uses to create the intricately woven objects, including chairs, but he also used 3D printing for his designs.
A graduate of the prestigious Hongik University in Seoul, the Korean designer is as famous for his contemporary art objects as for the decoration of spaces. His 25-piece cherry wood furniture collection was presented at New York gallery Salon 94 Design at Design Miami / Basel in 2018. Using electric wire, sandstone and wood as unique as granite, enamel, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, polystyrene and glass, he created the magnificent interiors of the Osulloc Tea House. In 2011, the Korean Ministry of Culture named him Artist of the Year.
(Main images and stars: Joyce Wang)