The launch of Steve Leung’s new company, 1957 & Co, is testament to the power of his design philosophy: that good design generates good business
Tell us about the birth of 1957 & Co.
The concept was always on my agenda. The number ‘1957’ is significant for it is my birth year. Having worked in the design industry for a long time, I decided it was time to take on a new venture. So I started 1957 & Co together with my business partners Tino Kwan and Paul Kwok to focus on hospitality and property investment projects.
What are your aspirations for 1957 & Co?
It is not only a design company as we plan to be involves in the management of business as well. This means all control over the project falls under our remit – we are designer, client and operator all at the same time. We will be able to completely manage the outcome.
What is the nature of these projects?
As a hospitality company, we will focus on restaurants, serviced apartments and boutique hotels. The first two projects to be launched are Bella Vita and Sushi Ta-ki, serving Italian and Japanese cuisine respectively.
From your experience, tell us what it takes to create an exceptional dining venue.
Food and business are inseparable. The truth is, the once well-liked, ostentatious nature of restaurant design is too intimidating and out of date; patrons now look for cosiness and comfort, they tend to choose restaurants where they can feel like they are at home. They eat well, not necessarily lavish delicacies, but fine and healthy dishes. So, designing a character that matches with the restaurant’s dining concept , much in the manner of creating signature dishes, is the best way to keep guests returning.
Apart from 1957 & Co, what is next on your agenda?
I like to travel – this is why I’ve become one of the main shareholders of Hip Holiday, which targets a very niche market in Hong Kong. It is a one-stop shop for discerning holiday-makers seeking personalised service to more unusual destinations; whether it’s a luxurious travel experience or back to basics. We can both provide tailor-made itineraries for them.
Check out Steve Leung’s Sing Yin for W Hong Kong in the January 2011 issue of Perspective magazine.