Cover Image of perspective monthly may 2018


Milan in April is a magic place. Where else can you run into Olivier Rousteing, creative director of French fashion house Balmain, and then Marcel Wanders, the Dutch designer who created the Knotted Chair? Milan Design Week is that sort of event.

Known for its fashion influence, the city has established itself as a wider design capital with design week, encompassing the acclaimed Salone del Mobile. The international furniture fair dates to 1961 and is now a must-attend on the global design calendar. Originally, Italian furniture brands showcased their house collections, but the fair has evolved into the world’s design party where global creatives from the fields of architecture, interior design and product design gather to exhibit and exchange ideas. André Fu arrived from Hong Kong to officially unveil his Ribbon Dance chair, designed for Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomade collection. In early April he created a space – or an “abstract scenography”, according to the designer himself – in Hong Kong’s Central to showcase the brand’s furniture collection that is created by a group of some of the world’s most sought-after designers, including Milan-based Patricia Urquiola.

Spanning more than seven days, the design week took over the entire city. It featured a public exhibition celebrating Milanese architecture from the 1930s in the city’s busiest Monte Napoleone District; talks hosted by young design students in Isola; celebrity-frequented parties in the Brera Design District; and an open-house visit to architect Osvaldo Borsani’s modernist villa on the outskirts of the city. These were just a few of the events. What happened in the Italian city is one of the most encouraging things that I have witnessed – design for everyone rather than designers alone.

While this issue was conceived in high Italian spirits, we also look at Beijing, where Sichuan-based architect Liu Jiakun has designed the Serpentine Galleries’ first overseas pavilion, located next to the Forbidden City. Liu borrowed inspiration from traditional Chinese archery for the London art institution’s pop-up in China, conveying the power and tension of architecture in balance. It will open to the public in Beijing this month.

This issue is also dedicated to travel, because we at Perspective, as well as the six designers profiled, believe fresh perspectives are important to inspire and to be inspired. As French novelist Marcel Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

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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.

Leona Liu

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Scandinavian aesthetics may still dominate the interior design scene, but be prepared to embrace more inviting colours - the latest trend in furnishings. Warm colour schemes and moody shades such as dusty pinks, neutral blues, mustard yellows and blends of rustic, earthy hues evoke a more enlivening ambiance. A statement furniture piece in luscious velvet adds a touch of luxurious and retro glam to the living room. Texture plays a key role, with materials such as rattan and woven wicker that give rise to a natural, handmade feel. Comfort in couches with plenty of curved and plump shapes is on-trend, while fringe trims and metallic accents in furniture and light fixtures also add a funky texture to any home

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