From our Hot Seat series.
When interior designer Joyce Wang first founded her studio Wang in 2011, it was a small, independent boutique studio that nonetheless was soon shaking up the dining scene in Hong Kong with striking spaces like Ammo, Mott 32 and Hay Market. Wang’s industrial-chic aesthetic — with a healthy dose of sci-fi inspiration — brought the studio commissions from beyond Hong Kong. Wang moved into hospitality design, spearheading the renovations of Los Angeles’ Roosevelt Hotel and creating the interiors for Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London. Her most recent project, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s massive Apartment and Entertainment suites, exemplifies how far the studio has come over the past few years.
Wang shares five things that an interior designer should never forget with The Loop HK.
A true global nomad, Wang was born in Hawaii and attended school and university in the UK, the US, and the Netherlands. She finally returned to Hong Kong — with degrees from the Royal College of Art and Delft University of Technology, and work experience at award-winning British architecture firm Foster + Partners, under her belt — to set up her own studio.
My approach to design is intuitive, emotive and unexpected. For me, it’s very important that there is an element of surprise, whether it’s in the design, the material choices or the details.
I consider how the end users will inhabit the space, but I also like to bring a storytelling element to the design narrative. I use the tools I have at my disposal – namely, lighting and materials – to convey a mood and express the concept of the restaurant or hotel.
You have to be committed to your design aesthetic and work hard to ensure your vision becomes a reality.
I don’t like to compromise on quality, whether it’s the materials used or the attention to detail.
Young designers should hone their design thinking by visiting and engaging with works from various disciplines, from fashion to jewellery to vehicle design. We have much to learn from each other.
The Hong Kong design scene has changed considerably. When I first started, property developers were always looking to Europe and America for their interior design firms. Now, they recognize how much talent is in Asia and that designers here have their own unique style and aesthetic. The tide has shifted, and international developers are now looking for Asian interior designers and architectural firms. In the next five to 10 years, I imagine this trend will continue, and increasingly we’ll have international hotel brands looking to Asia for interior design firms and architectural studios.