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Joyce Wang on her design philosophy and inspiration

by Jon Braun on Dec 19, 2017 in Interiors , Top Story
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Joyce Wang at the Entertainment Suite created for The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

Joyce Wang at the Entertainment Suite created for The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

Hong Kong's sought-after interior designer Joyce Wang unveils the hidden delights of the luxurious Entertainment Suite at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong, and talks about the design process that guides her journey

Joyce Wang's nomadic journey has led to a mature, informed portfolio that has garnered her numerous accolades – made all the more impressive by the fact that she's still in her thirties. Born in Hawaii, Wang went to MIT, the Royal College of Art and Delft University of Technology; along the way, she also worked at Foster + Partners. After a stint in Los Angeles, she headed to Hong Kong to set up her own studio. In 2009, she got her big break – in her mid-twenties, no less – with a high-profile revamp of the Cabana Rooms at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel in Los Angeles. This two-year project also coincided with work in Hong Kong at the Sift patisserie in Ap Lei Chau and the now-defunct Drawing Room in the Jia Hotel (since renamed J Plus).

Joyce Wang took Jean-Luc Goddard's film noire classic Alphaville as her inspiration for Hong Kong's Ammo bar and restaurant

Joyce Wang took Jean-Luc Goddard's film noire classic Alphaville as her inspiration for Hong Kong's Ammo bar and restaurant

It is remarkable how far she's come in less than a decade. Wang now has a slew of acclaimed restaurant projects under her belt, including Ammo at the Asia Society in Hong Kong, Mott 32 (in Hong Kong and Vancouver), and Rhoda, Spiga, Isono, Vasco and Haymarket in Hong Kong. She also designed a lavish residential penthouse in Shanghai's trendy Xintiandi area and oversaw a major overhaul of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel in London. Add to that her eye-catching Rare Table collection – marble tables that resemble giant slabs of raw beef atop cages of weathering steel – and you have to wonder how she ever finds time to catch her breath.

Hong Kong's modern Cantonese restaurant Mott 32 designed by Wang boasts a decor inspired by the venue and the city's past

Hong Kong's modern Cantonese restaurant Mott 32 designed by Wang boasts a decor inspired by the venue and the city's past

Today, operating her eponymous studio from offices in Hong Kong and London, Wang has earned heaps of international acclaim. With a dramatic approach often described as 'cinematic', she's well known for her luxe meets-industrial-chic style and her employment of unique materials, though she's made strides to avoid being stylistically pigeonholed.

"I try to understand the culture and background behind every project I work on before infusing any of my design elements – like the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park renovation. As this is a hotel with great history, many guests come because of its classical elements," she says. "There's a lot to consider before implementing the design. I can't turn it into a completely modern hotel." Of her overall philosophy, she adds: "I am inspired by film and fashion. I see many parallels between interior design and filmmaking. It all involves developing character, mastering the art of storytelling and developing overarching themes."

The living area of the Entertainment Suite of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong is highlighted by the glass chandelier and the engraved liquid-metal cabinets

The living area of the Entertainment Suite of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong is highlighted by the glass chandelier and the engraved liquid-metal cabinets

Wang has certainly told a stunning story with her most recent project – the luxurious Entertainment Suite at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong's Central District. "Our brief was to create an exclusive suite dedicated to extravagant entertaining," she explains. "While we wanted to create spaces that could host different kinds of events and parties, we also wanted to retain a sense of intimacy and warmth."

Haymarket, at the Sha Tin Racecourse, is suitably masculine and businesslike

Haymarket, at the Sha Tin Racecourse, is suitably masculine and businesslike

Extravagant? Most definitely. The expansive 2,250sqf suite is kitted out with everything you'll need to sprawl out and chill – or host an amazing party. Stepping in into the foyer, you're met with the Entertainment Wall, which takes up the entire length of the living room and comprises a series of intricately engraved liquid-metal cabinets. "We custom-designed most of the furniture," says Wang. "We're particularly proud of the Cabinet of Delights; when the cabinets are closed, it also becomes a sculptural art piece."

This is an excerpt from the “A time to re-joyce" article from the December 2017 issue of Perspective magazine.

To continue reading, get your copy of Perspective.

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