"Through the touch and feel of this project, I enjoyed creating a modern translation of luxury living that engages the senses and offers intimate spaces that residents can make their own," says architect and interior designer André Fu about his first residential project, AMOMA Atami, an opulent residential development that combines comfort, intimacy and privacy in an elegant setting.
The third project under the AMOMA portfolio of luxury residential property developer Fuin was spearheaded by highly-acclaimed designer André Fu, behind The Upper House and St. Regis in Hong Kong, Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok, and many more, and the talented Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall. Set amongst a serene backdrop of land meets sea, the 30 residences welcome with its nearby attractions of a vibrant resort town, an onsen-fed tub and an array of delectable dining options. We catch up with Fu on his design process and inspirations in executing the project.
How is designing a hotel different from designing a home?
Because hotels are generally used for very short-term stays, my designs for hotels are often conceptual and experiential, offering holistic luxury experiences. Residences are of course designed to be a long-term sanctuary. As a result, the design process must differ, looking to create unique spaces that will respond to residents’ needs over many years. When designing a home, I believe luxury is found in thoughtful details that will be appreciated every day and help realise a luxurious lifestyle. That said, through both my residential and hospitality projects, I am always looking to create unique, intimate experiences that will create a sense of home wherever you are in the world. This project was particularly interesting in many ways. It offers a hybrid of hospitality and residential design.
What did you enjoy the most about designing this residential project?
This project offered an exciting opportunity to translate the André Fu Living (AFL) brand philosophy into a holistic lifestyle experience. At the heart of the AFL brand is a modernist sensibility and desire to bring a calm simplicity to interior spaces – promoting the sense of mindfulness and wellbeing that truly makes a home a personal sanctuary. Through the touch and feel of this project, I enjoyed creating a modern translation of luxury living that engages the senses and offers intimate spaces that residents can make their own.
How did you have to adapt your design approach from your usual larger-scale projects?
As above, I think this project provided an interesting chance to combine design approaches used for resorts and private homes. There’s a timelessness to the AMOMA Atami project that draws from my experience designing hospitality spaces, which I’ve combined with an attention to the minute details that are required for long-term personal residences. I was also excited to adapt my design process to the language of AMOMA Atami – in particular, the fusion between inside and outside living. My work takes great inspiration from nature, so this aspect of the project was closely aligned with my design ethos.
How do you choose your projects?
When choosing projects, I always begin by asking myself one key question: is there a story to tell? My work is a form of visual storytelling that draws inspiration from different times, places and cultures. I always start my research process by placing the project in context. This includes the planned location. I will be interested in how I could respond to a specific sense of place. I also explore the intended vision for the project and consider how I can interpret it through my own design lens, and develop it further. I take on projects where I believe I can offer a unique aesthetic response to a brief, and, ultimately, contribute authentic, long-lasting value.
My work is a form of visual storytelling that draws inspiration from different times, places and cultures.
What were the main challenges in the AMOMA Atami project? And how did you respond to them?
Being given a carte blanche for this project was both the challenge and the opportunity. Often residential projects come with a very specific set of requirements, whereas this project gave me a chance to truly engage with the local context. Through my encounter with the original garden, I let myself be guided by the sense of place, which guided my own vision for the project.
AMOMA Atami is your landmark residential project. How was this project different from your previous undertakings?
This project is particularly exciting as it offered me such a unique platform to demonstrate the design possibilities of the André Fu Living brand. I was able to create an immersive experience that not only translates the brand’s vision but also responds to the local context. A key pillar in my design ethos is the desire to ensure that projects are rooted in their cultural and historical contexts. I believe AMOMA Atami presents us with an opportunity to offer a reimagination of the traditional Japanese aesthetic that demonstrates the great inspiration that AFL derives from Japanese design traditions.