André Fu, whose work has generated an undeniable level of design wattage for projects such as The Upper House, Four Seasons Seoul, The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, L’Appartement Louis Vuitton and The Pavilion Suites in London, modestly describes his own look as “simple, urban and relaxed.” His rituals include a morning swim to start his day with a cup of green tea as the finale, and he reveals his kitchen repertoire’s most impressive dish to be baked onion soup. This enigmatic sense is clearly reflected in his latest hotel project, the meditative Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto. Here he has transformed the former residence of the Mitsui family into a preserve of serenity and tranquillity, conveying his thoughts of the city of Kyoto which he thinks of in the same regard. This hotel commission also had the serendipitous effect of influencing the new 2021 Andre Fu Living collection, which launched on 23 August, entitled Art Deco Garden.
Thus this new Art Deco Garden collection mirrors the lyrical spaces of the city’s historical gardens, across furniture, textiles, lighting and tableware which is juxtaposed with the sensuous characteristics of Art Deco’s patterns. From armchairs upholstered by Loro Piana fabrics to silken wallpaper in collaboration with esteemed British wallcovering studio de Gournay, this new Andre Fu Living collection will continue to grow with new additions in the seasons to come.
My personal design approach is not just about combining styles together; rather, it rests on an ability to navigate different cultures and reflect contemporary culture based on the inherent qualities of beauty itself, as opposed to just based on any one style.
With Hotel the Mitsui, I wanted to capture the mystical quality of Kyoto and its sense of authenticity. The design is a modern re-retelling of this city that has influenced my aesthetics and design so deeply. The history and heritage of the city itself was a big part of the design, as I am simply a flaneur within it. There is also an emphasis on the moss gardens that I have always admired, like the moss garden of Tofukuji Temple in particular. For me it is their sense of serenity I find most appealing, as well as the geometry and sensuous movement of the pebbles within Zen gardens.
I keep coming back to the Art Deco era because I love the bold geometries of the Art Deco era and how it manifests a time of sophistication and cinematic atmosphere. It represents a time and place to me.
To bring Art Deco Garden to life took multiple online dialogues with our vendors, as well as prototyping via couriers to my studio for physical review and marked up for refinement. We also had to create our own Zen garden physically to film the visuals for the collection
I’ve always loved the heritage of the British brand, de Gournay and its history working with, and knowledge of hand-painted panels. I was interested in how I could express the artistic quality of the Japanese Zen garden through hand-painted craft. The final result is achieved through candid dialogues capturing the sense of movement of how the Zen master rakes the pebbles – it’s a bold departure from the typical ornate works by de Gournay.
With the bedding designs in Art Deco Garden, I wanted the embroidery to highlight the artistic expression of the energy flow when raking the pebbles – the sense of movement. I created multiple prototypes to each of this, as well as studied various embroidery techniques, paying personal attention to how the embroidery and the printed pattern complement each other to convey the intent.
One of the things I do which is still analogue is drawing with my hand – sketching. I find calm whenever I draw, it gives me a sense of focus and a feeling of being immersed.
Photos: Andre Fu Living