André Fu has come a long way since designing The Upper House, a boutique hotel that serves as calm oasis above the bustling city of Hong Kong. A favourite of the chic set, this hotel sets the bar and is considered André’s seminal work that put him (and his practice AFSO) on the map.
Besides The Upper House, the Hong Kong-based designer and Maison & Objet Asia Designer of the Year 2016 has helmed several other projects, including launching Andre Fu Living —a collection created through key collaborations. Fu talks us through his latest project, Villa La Coste in Provence, which is testament to his design philosophy of relaxed luxury.
(Related: 5 Of The World’s Finest Art Hotels)
What drew you to this commission?
Provence has always been an aspirational destination for me and I’ve always been mesmerised by its poetic sensibility. In 2013, I was invited by the owner of Château La Coste to visit his private vineyard and was overwhelmed by the way he celebrates art, architecture and wine. The thought of exploring a means to create destinations within his new hotel then came about.
How did you combine architecture and gastronomy at Villa La Coste?
My inspirations for the project stemmed from my instinctive perception of what felt appropriate in the context. My goal was to embrace the Provençal spirit in a contemporary and relevant way—the juxtaposition of textures and the purist quality of various intimate spaces was borne as a result of such exploration.
Apart from the location, what made this project special for you?
This particular project is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The design process has been extremely personal for me and has taken on a very organic approach—much of the design has been developed through a series of intimate discussions with the owner himself. In the world of hospitality design, we talk a lot about the importance of celebrating its sense of place; I believe Villa La Coste has given me a deeper understanding of such terminology.
How can we mirror your notion of “relaxed luxury” in our own spaces?
I believe relaxed luxury goes beyond the traditional perception of luxury, which is typically associated with formality and superficial glamour. I’m much more inspired to create experiences that are honest and personal, and allow people to connect with their inner sensibilities.