Architect and interior designer Andre Fu has gained plaudits for projects like Hong Kong’s The Upper House Hotel and Singapore’s Fullerton Bay. His most recent hotel commission is Singapore’s Andaz Hotel, which opened in October. The Cambridge University graduate launched the Andre Fu Living (AFL) lifestyle brand in 2015. Among his collaborators is Czech lighting manufacturer Lasvit. Their Tact/Tile lighting collection is available at Bika Living in Kemang and at Plaza Indonesia. Highlights of an exclusive interview:
P: How have you translated your approach from hotel design to home interior?
Andre: With hotels, it’s very much a holistic lifestyle experience. For me the environment goes beyond just the hardware. It involves everything around it. It’s about the music that is being played, the candles that are lit, the soft touches that you experience everywhere. I wanted to bring this approach to interior design. The goal is to explore and collaborate with interesting artisans that really understand what they are doing and fully get the concept of creating an environment. Of course, there must also be some chemistry that I can extract to create the desired pieces.
P: Which figures in your profession do you look up to?
Andre: I admire Italian architect Gio Ponti. There’s also French interior designer Christian Liaigre and South Korean painter Park Seo-bo.
P: AFL is a result of creative collaborations. What qualities do you look for in artisans and how do you set about finding them?
Andre: It’s actually not a conscious decision to search them out. I don’t have a set goal for this concept. It’s just when the right time comes or when the right person comes, then we will consider doing collaborations. When we started, we did a limited-edition perfume collection, and it’s interesting because no one would expect me to go for perfumes – maybe room diffusers, but not necessarily perfumes. So, it’s just the process of finding someone to talk to and then having that engaging conversation. In the end, it’s the creative process that interests me most.
P: What about your upcoming projects?
Andre: My recent one is Andaz Singapore. The development is about the celebration of its neighbourhood – the expression of the indigenous neighbourhood spirit. The hotel is located in Bugis, so it’s very much about the shop house culture there. We’re trying to express the spirit of those shop houses in a hotel environment.
P: Any other projects that stand out for you?
Andre: Each project is unique in its own right. But if you ask me right at this moment, it’s the project that I did in Provence. There’s a spa, library and saloon restaurant that I designed for Château La Coste. The vineyard itself is a true celebration of art, architecture and wine making. From the start, the whole context of the project has had a very strong vision about it. To be able to work in the south of France is also very special.
P: You mentioned that you enjoy discovering something new. I would imagine that travel is a big part of that process.
Andre: That’s true. I really like travelling, even though work comes with it a lot. But if I do get the opportunity to venture to places I’ve never been before, I’d be more than willing to travel more. Through work, I get to explore different cultures, while trying to see and understand things in a different light. I think that has enhanced my life in some way. It has enriched the whole experience.
P: Where else have you been lately?
Andre: I recently went to Positano, Italy. I’d been there before for work but it was still a mind-blowing experience to be back again. It’s all because of the nature that surrounds it, the whole landscape and the richness of the colours. Another place that is mesmerising is Marrakech. It’s a very exotic city.
P: What would be your dream commission?
Andre: Maybe it would be designing spaces for the performing arts, like a theatre. I enjoy the transient nature of it; the performers, the audience, the idea of spectacle. I think the whole thing is quite provocative.