Tell us about The Playhouse, a 6,000 sq ft, two-storey home you designed in Tin Wan? “The client wanted to turn the place into a New York industrial-style loft, with different zones for entertainment on the lower level and a holiday home upstairs. But Hong Kong industrial buildings are different from what they have in New York. In New York they have old brick walls, and we tried to source similar types of brick in Hong Kong, but it was a pain. So we chose tiles from Italy because their texture and proportion give the feeling of real brick.
“After we installed the walls we thought, ‘Is there a way to age them?’ We wanted it to feel like it had been there for years. We tried some chemical treatments. It’s what they use for ageing bricks in London, so we ordered different finishes from there.”
There are a lot of materials in the space. What were you trying to do? “The whole place is an experiment to try to see how we could fuse different materials together. I’ve always been enthusiastic about retro Italian style, so [in the bathroom] I used brass water pipes as the base for the vanity counter. The custom marble vanity counter was inspired by 1950s Italian washbasins. The marble was chosen because I wanted something that looked aged.”
What about the onsen-inspired guest room? “In an onsen [inn] you sleep on tatami, so we took that concept and used a mattress that is not so high, and we raised the floor and used a modern kind of tatami that I sourced from Japan. They come in all sorts of vibrant colours. The configuration of the wood panels is based on traditional onsen proportions. But instead of using traditional Japanese wallpaper I chose one from London, to give it an eclectic style.”
Tell us about your current projects. “I’m working on a 20,000 sq ft three-storey mansion with a private clubhouse, and also on the interiors for a condominium tower in Central. It’s what we call nano apartments. Each flat is no larger than 200 square feet. It’s more effort than doing 1,000 square feet, because you have to pack everything into such a small space.”