In striving to achieve the perfect life:work balance, designer self-confessed control freak Tony Chi says he’ll stop when he drops
For Tony Chi, the process of learning is continuous. He’s not interested in celebrity status (which he could quite easily exploit given his stellar list of clients) or necessarily following trends. Indeed, his approach seems to run contrary to the penchant today to create ‘star’ architects and designers – whether self-initiated or by the media. “I’ve always shied away from the design world,” he says. “People think it’s because I’m really busy, but the reality is I prefer to avoid it.”
It’s not that he scorns design; far from it. His life has been dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the field; what he describes as his journey as a designer. “I’m still in the pursuit of ‘making’, still heading where I’ve always been headed,” Chi says. “I’ll stop when I drop. The longer I’m on this journey, the gladder I am that I chose this path.”
Despite all his formal education in art and design, Chi maintains that the most important things he has learned are informally self-taught, results of maturity and experience. That is why his personal motto is Gandhi quote, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
His connection with Hong Kong (he was born in Taiwan; his family moved to New York in 1967 when he was just nine years old) goes back decades – back in the late 1980s, for example, he met restaurateur Paul Hsu and real-estate developer Allan Zeman. They began transforming a dingy side-street in Central called Lan Kwai Fong and the rest, as they say, is history.
Chi recently teamed up with
Read the full story, ‘A never-ending story’, in the September 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!