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An Interview with André Fu, one of Asia’s most sought-after Interior Designers

ByLiyana Safari
An Interview with André Fu, one of Asia’s most sought-after Interior Designers

Image courtesy of Tatler Asia

André Fu stands out as one of Asia's most sought-after interior designers, known for his global portfolio of captivating, unique and original interiors. Trained formally as an architect, André effortlessly blends Eastern and Western elements, drawing inspirations from both when creating projects that traverse an array of scales and typologies.

The Artling had the privilege of speaking to André about his practice and his insights on the future of the design industry. Scroll down to read all about it! 

Claridge's, The Residence. Image courtesy of André Fu Studio.

Can you describe your design ethos and how it influences your approach to each project, particularly in relation to your recent projects?

I have always been reluctant to describe my design style, as my work is rooted in the essence of comfort and relaxed luxury. I believe my work is also about celebrating cultural nuances, and how I am able to offer my personal point of view with an experience that exudes my own design language.

I agree that the design industry is fast changing, and this has always been the case. I see my aesthetics as timeless as they do not respond to ‘trends’, they are entirely unique and built from my own experiences and how I perceive the core ethos of the places they’re situated in.

Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto. Image courtesy of André Fu Studio.

Your work often blends Eastern and Western design elements seamlessly. How do you strike a balance between cultural influences while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic, as seen in your projects like the St. Regis Hong Kong or the Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore?

I believe establishing a language to tell a story specific to each proposition is where my passion for design lies.

The spirit of my design philosophy is about provoking new ways of thinking about what luxury means. For the past decade and a half, my vision has been defined by my upbringing in Hong Kong and my teenage days growing up in Europe. These days, I encounter many cities within a day through my work - celebrating cultural and design sensibilities, modern luxury, art and craftsmanship.

Technology has been rapidly advancing in the design industry. Do you incorporate technological innovations into your design process, and what role do you see technology playing in the future of interior design?

I believe in a design process that is authentic – I personally enjoy the feeling of picking up a pen and drawing. That is the most rewarding way to create as it allows me to express my ideas freely.

There is definitely a greater awareness of bringing technology to the design process and experience. An example would be the introduction of wireless charging device into guest rooms, or a more customized way of creating simple control mechanisms.

Equally, while technology is a great means to facilitate the design process, the core focus of comfort and authenticity in design experiences has not changed.

Capella Singapore. Image courtesy of André Fu Studio.

Market trends in interior design are constantly evolving. How do you stay ahead of these trends while maintaining a timeless quality in your designs?

Avoid the clichés and design spaces purely for the sake of taking a great photo.

Collaboration is often key in bringing a design vision to life. Can you speak to your collaborative process with other designers, architects, and clients?

I have always been a believer in collaboration – it is an intangible aspect of design that ultimately reflects the beauty of bringing people from different disciplines and expertise under one roof.

I have been given opportunities to lead teams of consultants numerous times, and it is always a joy aligning them with my vision and letting them contribute to it jointly. I tend to enjoy immersing myself in each project and have had candid conversations with both clients and the local teams. Many a times I discover new angles of looking at a city and by the end of the design process, I am surprised to see that we have curated a new way of expressing a particular sense that is unique to the project.

I believe my role is more about creating an initial vision and provoking all parties to contribute to their best ability – there can be conflict and tension, but open dialogues ultimately bring out the best results.

St Regis Hong Kong. Image courtesy of André Fu Studio.

What role do you think art should play in a project? Why do you think it's important?

Art has always played a key role in my projects as it creates another dimension to the experience. I can still vividly recall the art selection process I embarked on with my very first hotel project, The Upper House, in Hong Kong.

At the time, I merely looked at art as a spectator. With the help of various experts, I began the process of tapping into my childhood admiration for sculptors like Brancusi. The final selection included many stone and bronze sculptures.

As my career evolved, I have become more experimental – working with large scale mural artworks or introducing bolder art pieces that provoke more radical dialogues within the interior.

Capella Singapore. Image courtesy of André Fu Studio.

Your design style is known for its elegance, sophistication, and attention to detail. How do you ensure that each space reflects the unique identity and character of its location? i.e. How do you scale curation?

It boils down to the story-telling aspect of each project – I always take on projects with a certain goal or vision, whether it is to express the soul of a city through design, or re-imagine the heritage of a historical building by bringing it new life.

I believe the level of curation should not be overly choreographed – it will happen organically when an appropriate story is conceived.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers entering the industry, and how do you see the future of interior design evolving, particularly in light of global events and changing consumer behaviors? What's in store for André Fu Studio? Any upcoming projects that you can share?

I believe it is important to immerse oneself in different cultures and lifestyle first – social media is a great introduction but one has to touch and feel a space to fully understand it's texture, proportion, and how the play of light and shadow evokes.

Above all, it is all about creating experiences for the guests and thinking deeply into how one would experience the space.

It is an important year for my studio, with upcoming projects that include Capella Taipei, Dusit Thani’s flagship in Bangkok and Osaka’s Waldorf Astoria launching in Q4 this year.

About André Fu Studio

André Fu Studio is an internationally acclaimed design studio in Hong Kong, founded by interior designer 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.

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