Who is she? A newcomer to the Hong Kong interior design scene, Julie Wittgenstein had been involved in haute couture in Paris and London for more than five years before establishing Wittgenstein Design here. She specialises in private residences locally and works on hotels abroad, with previous projects including boutique hotel Le Daniel, near the Champs Elysees in the French capital, and the Clinton Hotel in Miami. Wittgenstein is the exclusive Hong Kong representative of French interior and furniture designer Christian Liaigre. How did she get into design? Through a combination of artistic nous, self-promotion, skill and luck. The Parisian was brought up in an environment where 'everything was about nice houses and how to present things well'. She spent her childhood observing 'beautiful flowers on the road' and drawing them. At 15, she interned at Chanel, learning fashion design from Karl Lagerfeld, among others. At decorative arts school Ensad, in Paris, she took up theatre decoration then switched to interior architecture. 'It wasn't easy to switch as I was already in my last year,' says Wittgenstein. 'I studied very hard and worked at an architecture firm the whole summer.' Upon graduation, she joined the firm in Paris before moving to London two years later. Then, she was advised by her former boss to contact his friend, renowned British designer John Stefanidis. 'I e-mailed Stefanidis offering to help. A week later we met up for coffee. For the next 21/2 years, I worked with him,' she says. 'Knowing the right people helps, but you have to make yourself available at the right time, listen to people and be positive always.' What brought her to Hong Kong? It's a typical Hong Kong expat tale: in 2005 Wittgenstein's banker husband had the opportunity to transfer here. Undecided, they made a fact-finding trip, 'fell in love with the city immediately' and returned to London to pack their belongings. Unconnected locally, Wittgenstein decided to set up her own company. 'Hong Kong is a place that gives opportunities to people. If I didn't give it a try here, I never would elsewhere,' she says. Meanwhile, she noticed there was considerable interest in Christian Liaigre's high-end design here, so she approached the Paris-based designer and offered to represent his brand. 'I'm the middleman helping to sell his furniture and to liaise when someone wants to use him as a designer.' Where can we see her work? Wittgenstein has created an haute-couture furniture range, the Julie W Collection, part of which can be viewed at her ground-floor office on Gage Street, Central. She is currently designing tableware products for a client in France. Also occupied with a hotel project in Hanoi, she is seeking to spread her tentacles to other parts of Asia.