The exciting East
Los Angeles–based architect Richard Landry (who has received the Robb Report USA’s prestigious Ultimate Homes Award five times) has been designing homes in Asia for more than 25 years. We recently sat down with Landry to talk about how luxury homes in Asia have changed throughout the years and what he’s working on now.
When did you start designing homes in Asia?
In the early 1990s. We’ve done some fairly small houses in Asia and some very large ones, but they’re all influenced by the premise that they have to focus first and foremost on quality. When I ask people what draws them to our firm, they always say, “Well, the quality of your work and the attention to details speaks for itself."
How have luxury homes in Asia changed throughout the years?
The open-floor plan is something people in Asia are becoming more and more comfortable with. In the past, traditional layouts were very popular – having a formal living room, formal dining room, family room. I think now people are becoming more comfortable with more casual living arrangements. Basements are becoming more popular as well. We do a lot of very high-end basements where clients can have a big rec room, spa, indoor pool, theatre, and other amenities. The quality of finishes and materials is also something that is becoming more and more important to clients.
How does your Californian heritage influence your Asian projects?
One thing that I think we did somehow bring to Asia with many of our projects is the idea of outdoor living, by creating outdoor covered pavilions that are heated with fireplaces and ceiling heaters so you can extend the seasons. When you live in California, it’s wonderful to be able to have your outdoor spaces and lounges. The sun is not as prominent in Asia, though, so we try to give as much access to natural light as possible in our projects.
How do your projects typically differ from country to country?
Our clients in China are typically coming to us for the more traditional work that we do. China was occupied by the French in the early 1900s, so they’re very proud of the French heritage. We do a lot of French-influenced architecture, and a lot of European-influenced architecture. In Singapore, we’ve done very modern, beautiful homes as well as very traditional ones. So we see both ends of the spectrum there. Since Singapore is very multicultural and very modern, there’s a wide range. Japan is a very modern place, yet there’s a real respect for classical, traditional work. The fact that the space is so limited there requires really creative solutions.
What are you working on now?
We’re working on projects that combine classic and contemporary elements. Mixing those two elements together and doing a hybrid home is really fun. I think Asia is always open and looking at what’s next – you know, what’s the next thing that’s going to be really cool and different, and work?