Designer André Fu Tells of His Love of Gardens, Modern Art + More

Born in Hong Kong and trained as a designer in England from the age of 14 André Fu holds a Bachelor of Arts from Cambridge University and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Cambridge. He attributes his design style – a calm, well-considered, yet analytical approach with a refined aesthetic – to his cultural upbringing, which he spent between two countries for thirty years. “For me, it’s about combining a seamless connection between cultural and design sensibilities, modern luxury and craftsmanship in order to shape the world around us,” he said.

André first became known when he redefined the concept of hospitality with his design for the world-famous Upper House Hotel in Hong Kong. His creations range from a furniture collaboration with the Objets Nomades collection from Louis Vuitton to contemporary art galleries in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai to large hotels and restaurants worldwide for leading brands.

Andrés work is increasingly recognized with numerous awards. In 2016 he was named Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Asia and featured in the Wallpaper * list of the ‘Top 20 Interior Designers’. In 2019 Elle Décor China named André “Interior Designer of The Year” and successfully launched André Fu Living (AFL) with a holistic collection of lifestyle products. In 2020, a new hardcover monograph entitled “Crossing Cultures with Design” was published, examining Andrés’ formative influences and the development of his unique aesthetics and their relevance on the international design stage.

This week André Fu is there for Friday Five!

Garden with greenery and raked gravel

1. Gardens
I love gardens and landscape architecture, from bonsai trees to the authentic Japanese moss gardens in the Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto to the exotic cactus landscapes in the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. I have long been a passionate admirer of Japanese Zen gardens for their serenity and purity of form, and I was inspired by creating the Japanese garden at Hotel The Mitsui in Kyoto. The landscaping of the traditional Zen garden conveys a sense of history through the careful placement of stones and decorative rock elements and creates a natural view that reflects the seasons through flowers and grasses, scents, gentle breezes, water sounds and chirping insects. The lofty artisanal gardens provoke an alternate way of understanding the importance of Japanese hospitality, architecture, and culture.

four iPhone 12s lined up

2. iPhone
In 2020, when digital communications became much more prominent, I really relied on my iPhone to participate in design talks with clients that took place on WhatsApp as well as Instagram Live forums and dialogs.

Close up of glass container with pencils and clear drink in glass

3. Pencils
My pencils are so important to me. As a kid, I loved drawing and painting crazy mazes that my classmates were working on. For me the creative process always starts with a pencil sketch and this also expresses my love for authenticity in my design approach. I believe in hand sketching as it is the most direct way to connect the mind to the hand. It’s also the most effective way of expressing an idea.

ornate sculpture sitting on rock behind glass

Swire Hotel, Hong Kong

4. Art
Modern art is a great source of inspiration for me, and my spatial works are imbued with the inspiration I draw from the world of modern art – from the poetic quality of Mark Rothko’s paintings to the power of the sculptural works of Brancusi.

a stone street in Hong Kong

5. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is my home and a pulsating city with an enormously dynamic cityscape, a fascinating skyline and intercultural influences, which are very important to me in my work. From morning hikes in the hills of Tai Tam Country Park to breakfast at Cheung Hing, a traditional tea house in Happy Valley, Hong Kong has so many aspects that are important to my life, happiness and wellbeing.

Works by André Fu:

public indoor area with glass walls

St. Regis, The Great Room

inner bridge connecting two rooms

L49 Sky Bridge

Interior with mood lighting and bar

Hotel the Mitsui, the living room

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