Philippe Starck may have built a reputation on being somewhat 'out there', but first impressions of Jia in Causeway Bay, his latest Hong Kong project, are that this time the world-renowned design guru is way out there. A gilded Louis XIV chaise, candy-coloured plastic footstools and a garden gnome fashioned as a side table - what was he thinking? Fantasy and fairytales, apparently, at least for the foyer. Having created a grand entrance to the Jia boutique hotel apartments, situated 'in Hong Kong's funkiest neighbourhood', and suitably whetted the appetites of design aficionados, Starck opts for subtlety in the flats. 'The concept behind Jia, as the name suggests, is of home [Jia is Putonghua for home],' Starck says. 'We believed the resident should not be overwhelmed by the interior designer. 'This should translate to a calm and tranquil environment that is infused with the personality of the occupant. Not an interior that dictates how a resident should act and feel in their very private and particular home environment.' Hence, the 57-unit tower, with its range of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom-suites and two penthouses, is sensual and relaxing - all white, chrome and natural wood, with comfortable sofas, clever accent colours, and touches of the trademark Starck humour. Features include a jigsaw coffee table, a room where a gnome pops up, and one with a 'conversation nook' entirely taken up by an enormous day bed smothered in cushions. The all-marble bathrooms are stocked with Kiehl's luxury products, and the pantry stocks all of a kitchen's essentials. Through the clever use of sheer fabric 'walls', Starck has created a degree of separation in even the studio suites, and every apartment, regardless of size, has a hi-tech home office station, a surround sound stereo, and two or more flat screen, 360-degree revolving televisions - one in each bedroom, another in the living room. The lighting throughout is unmistakably Starck, from the lift to the lobby to the soft 'candlelit' ambience of the rooms. While the interiors are decidedly intimate, one need never be alone at Jia. Residents can mingle over wine at the nightly 'happy hours' in the lobby bar, share complimentary daily breakfast, meet for pizza in the cafe, or relax on the outdoor podium, which is ideal for alfresco dining and barbecues. Some of the rooms also have balconies for private views of the city. Jia is Starck's second Hong Kong design project, following Felix at The Peninsula, and his first boutique hotel in Asia. It is a joint venture between Hong Kong firm PC Asia and Yoo Design, a hip European design house co-founded by Starck and John Hitchcox, the idea being to create 'a property with a pulse'. 'Hong Kong is a vibrant and exciting city, the commercial and cultural link with mainland Asia. It's open to new ideas and global in attitude, so where better for an international design house to explore new ideas?' Starck says. 'The choice of Hong Kong as the location for our first venture in Southeast Asia was because of the unique culture and history the city has experienced as a conduit between eastern and western lifestyles.' Jia guests are treated to 24/7 room service from staff dressed smartly in Shanghai Tang attire and a valet and laundry service, and they can use a private function room for a cosy dining alternative. Rates are from $1,200 daily or $20,000 monthly for a studio of 380 square feet, up to $3,500 daily or $55,000 monthly for the 1,570 sqft penthouse. A special 20 per cent discount applies until month end. Details: www.jiahongkong.com or phone 3196 9000.