Last year saw some monumental developments. Here in Asia, the topping-out of Shenzhen’s Ping An Finance Centre has altered the city’s skyline and redefined the world map of tall buildings. Further afield, there’s the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, while the spaceship-like Apple Park imagined by Norman Foster in California lifted off in April. Closer to home, The Murray opened at the end of the year in Hong Kong; what was once a government office building is now an upscale hotel.
There have been some other surprises: the small Spanish studio RCR Arquitectes’ winning of the Pritzker Prize, for instance. The practice, which is not well known, has challenged the organisation’s tradition of celebrating reputed designers, and Carme Pigem of the winning trio is only the third woman to receive the accolade. Is the architectural world finally giving more credit to creativity, not just popularity, and will this provide more momentum for women designers? Of course, the bigger question is who will win this year. We talk to Martha Thorne, the executive director of the prize, about the process of nomination. We also gaze into our crystal ball and suggest some winners. The announcement will be made in March.
What’s perhaps more important is that the profession of architecture should be all about creativity and fun, especially when it comes to the stories of the people behind all that concrete and steel. Take Perspective’s recent event, the A&D Trophy Awards. Three hundred industry professionals and business leaders made the night one of the most memorable of the year. As a token of our appreciation, this year’s first issue is dedicated to you – the men and women behind the stories. Within these pages are conversations with inspirational creatives and entrepreneurs.
What will 2018 offer? There are several exciting projects in the pipeline: China’s tallest tower-to-be, Wuhan Greenland Centre (which will be the world’s second tallest building when completed), a new V&A museum in Dundee, Scotland, and the 3 World Trade Center in New York.
We look forward to these and other landmark projects, and wish you all a wonderful New Year.
The height of achievement
Each year, we spend a considerable but enjoyable amount of time reviewing the best designs that Hong Kong, Asia-Pacific and beyond have to offer. The result of this process is the A&D Trophy Awards. Recognising excellence in architecture, interiors and product design for both professionals and students, the awards ceremony has grown into a must-attend event for the industry.
This year, we’ve seen a boom in the interior design category, in terms of both quantity and quality. China has topped the list, with projects not only in major metropolises such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, but also second-tier cities like Suzhou, Changsha and Wuhan. The country’s creativity has survived and thrived despite government moves to discourage the more extreme examples of architecture. Neri&Hu, headquartered in Shanghai, continues to lead the field, having been crowned last year’s grand winner. Beijing’s INS Architecture Studio, Shenzhen-based Matrix Interior Design, to name just two, are among the many practices acknowledged by the international judging panel.
Hong Kong has long been a gateway between China and the rest of the world, not only for commerce but also for ideas. Cheng Chung Design, helmed by Hong Kong-born Joe Cheng, seeks to redefine China’s hospitality scene with bold and innovative schemes for Shenzhen Marriott Nanshan Hotel and Diaoyutai Hotel Hangzhou. Designers from across Asia, as well as America and Europe, have also showcased their own strong regional influences.
One thing that all our judges agreed upon was the healthy state of the design industry, noting in particular the advances in environmentally-friendly building technology and that which takes the well-being of users into account.
It remains for us to say a big thank you to our judges, and congratulations to all our winners.
THE KEY VOLUME 156 – JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018
Sustainability is a topic not to be ignored. Whether updating home interiors or planning a complete revamp of your abode, it is worth adding environmentally friendly elements to your design.
There are a few simple steps that can guide you towards green living: apply eco-friendly paints that are non-toxic and low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds); invest in eco-wood furniture and purchase wood products that are reclaimed, sustainably sourced and comply with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards; choose products, such as tableware, that are biodegradable and compostable; or simply pick a chair that is made from 100 per cent recyclable plastic. Such measures are easy, but can make all the difference to the health of our planet