When interior designer Andre Fu creates a space, he wants people to feel “indulged”. Hong Kong-based Fu, the man behind The Clifford Pier (right) at Fullerton Bay Hotel and recently honoured as Maison&Objet Asia 2016’s Designer of the Year, doesn’t have a set style, but rather a way of making every space, every object he touches muster a sense of relaxed luxury.
Something of this understated, yet inviting, energy can now be savoured on a more intimate scale with his lifestyle brand, Andre Fu Living (AFL).
“The spatial designs I’ve done have received quite a lot of recognition,” says Fu. “AFL is a means to challenge myself: to see whether I can create objects or products that could express a similar level of experience.”
His first product off the shelves – an eau de toilette, Fargesia, created with Argentinian cult perfumer Julian Bedel – hints at this gravitation towards sensuality over visual display. Perfume, of course, conjures little imagery; you have to smell it to appreciate its ethereal qualities.
“I didn’t choose to do a candle or reed diffuser,” says Fu. “I just find perfume interesting because it’s so personal and almost unexpected.” It’s also deliciously oriental. Built around an accord of bamboo, Sichuan pepper, ginger and tangy citrus notes, Fargesia is warming, full, yet light on the senses. Modern Asia is certainly one of Fu’s most fertile sources of inspiration.
But here’s where he’s unlikely to seek the obvious. Whether it’s in his latest collection of bath fixtures, Skyliner, for bath-ware company Cooper and Graham, where he distils the imagery of Asian cities, or exploring possibilities with Asian craft at the back of his mind, his core interest remains interpreting “the life our generation lives”.
He says: “We’re still searching for things which refl ect a sense of place, but it’s really important that design is relevant to the time that we’re living in.”
Just a few hours shy of the closing of Maison&Object Asia, Fu has received numerous offers to collaborate. But, whatever the future brings, it’s likely that he’ll continue to create objects of cultivated refinement.
“If an object becomes an integral part of your life, then it’s not a novelty item. Then it’s something that you actually use, not something that you look at,” he says. It’s perhaps also a sign of his true gift – to gently usher you into experiences where design elevates life.