F5: Designer André Fu Tells of His Love of Gardens, Modern Art + More
Born in Hong Kong and educated in England from the age of 14, designer André Fu holds a Bachelor of Arts at Cambridge University and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Cambridge. He credits his design style – a quietly thoughtful, carefully considered yet analytical approach with a refined aesthetic – to his cultural upbringing spent traveling between two countries for thirty years. “For me, it is about combining a seamless alignment of cultural and design sensibilities, modern luxury and craftsmanship to shape the world around us,” he shared.
André first became known when he redefined notions of hospitality with his design of the world-renowned Upper House Hotel in Hong Kong. His creations range from a furniture collaboration with Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomades collection to contemporary art galleries in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai to major hotels and restaurants around the world for leading brands.
André’s work has won increasing recognition with numerous awards. In 2016, he was named Designer of the Year for Maison & Objet Asia and and was honored in Wallpaper*s list of ‘Top 20 Interior Designers’. In 2019, Elle Décor China has named André as “Interior Designer of The Year”, and he successfully launched André Fu Living (AFL) with a holistic collection of lifestyle products. 2020 saw the publication of a new hardback monograph titled ‘Crossing Cultures with Design’ that explores André’s defining influences and the development of his unique aesthetic and its relevance on the international design stage.
This week André Fu joins us for Friday Five!
I have a deep love for gardens and landscape architecture, from bonsai trees to the authentic Japanese moss gardens at Tofukuji Temple, Kyoto and the exotic cactus sceneries at Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech. I have long been a passionate admirer of Japanese Zen gardens for their serenity and purity of form, and was inspired by this to create the Japanese garden at Hotel The Mitsui in Kyoto. The landscaping of the traditional zen garden imparts a sense of history with the careful placement of stones and decorative rock features, creating a natural vista that reflects the seasons through flowers and grasses, fragrances, soft breezes, the sound of water and chirruping insects. The sublime artisanal gardens provoke an alternative way of understanding the meaning of Japanese hospitality, architecture and culture.
During 2020, when digital communication assumed a much greater importance, I really relied on my iPhone for taking part in design discussions with clients that took place on WhatsApp as well as in Instagram Live forums and dialogues.
My pencils are so important to me. As a child, I loved drawing and used to draw crazy mazes which my classmates would work on. For me, the creative process always starts with a pencil sketch and this also expresses my love for authenticity in my approach to design. I am a believer in hand-sketching, as it is the most direct way to connect the mind with the hand. It is also the most effective means to express an idea.
Modern art is a great source of inspiration to me, and my spatial work is infused with the inspiration that I have taken from the world of modern art – from the poetic quality of Mark Rothko’s paintings to the power of Brancusi’s sculptural works.
5. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is my home and it’s a vibrant city with a tremendously dynamic urbanscape, an intriguing skyline and cross-cultural influences that are really important to me in my work. From morning hikes in the Tai Tam Country Park hills 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 well-being.
Work by Andre Fu: