“When I first came to Hong Kong,” Rowena Gonzales remembers, “I was doing a lot of luxury retail, a lot of luxury hotels, and to me it felt quite soulless. I wanted to have more meaning in my work. I was left asking myself, ‘how can I use my creativity in a way that’s meaningful?’”
That thought led Gonzales to found Liquid Interiors, an interior-design firm that allows her to explore her interest in environmentalism and wellness. “We have an eco-well philosophy,” Gonzales explains. “I really wanted to know that I was doing something good for the environment – and then over the past two years interest in health and wellness has been huge. Our philosophy is to marry the two together.”
So if Liquid is analysing something like the water usage of a house, the team will examine both water savings (to ensure environmental friendliness) and water quality (for the health of the residents). “When I first started Liquid Interiors, people didn’t even understand what the term sustainability was,” Gonzales says. “Then the green movement came and people were becoming more aware. But now we have people coming to us saying, ‘I have asthma,’ or, ‘I’m sensitive to air quality and I want my home to be an eco home.’ People are understanding more how design impacts them.”
Liquid has worked on everything from offices in Central and bachelor pads on Hollywood Road to mansions in Clearwater Bay, all of which feature bright, daylight-flooded spaces and plenty of sustainable materials sourced from around Hong Kong and southern China. “Sometimes you can find really good, environmentally-friendly-certified materials from Europe, but does that really make it eco-friendly, if it has to travel from so far away?” Gonzales wonders. But it may also be worth asking: when the end result is this good anyway, why would you bother?