The award-winning David Collins Studio (DCS) specialises in luxury interior design for restaurants, hotels, retail stores and private residences and is best known for its glamorous interiors reflecting a rich palette of colours, luxe materials and decorative design detail. With an impressive portfolio including The Wolseley and Nobu along with chic boutiques for the likes of Alexander McQueen and Jimmy Choo, the studio’s design team now has its eye firmly focused on Asia with a wave of new projects from Thailand to Hong Kong and Australia.

The Reserve spoke to creative director Simon Rawlings about the studio’s newest projects in the region.

As your portfolio grows in Asia, how does the studio evolve its European aesthetic to reflect the region’s different cultural contexts?

Our style is first and foremost about making a space work, making the user feel comfortable, at ease and elegant. We work very hard to understand a local culture, the style ability of the manufacturers and core artisan skills so that from the outset the creation of the design embraces each of these. Asia is a very diverse territory – each region has specific cultural styles, cuisines, available materials, distinctive crafts, and talented artisans. We love to seek out these idiosyncrasies to inspire and inform our projects. I always urge our design teams to fully immerse themselves into the local culture, listening to the local sounds from music to nature, sampling the local delicacies and meeting with local artisans to really develop a full view and understanding of the market that they are working in.

What was the studio’s first Asian project?

It was in Japan around 20 years ago, working with Vivienne Westwood and the Anglomania brand. We created five stores in five months and Vivienne’s brief was for them be like treasure boxes so that the experience of opening the stores would be like opening a casket of jewels. We introduced shot-blasted timber floors lined with gold and steamer-inspired caskets lined with gold leaf so the space really shone. The quality of every element, even the control samples, was immaculate; it was an incredible experience.

What has your experience been like working on your newest projects in Thailand?

We have just completed our second model apartment for the Ritz Carlton Residences at Ole Scheeren’s mixed use MahaNakhon. The tower itself – which is the city’s tallest building – is still under construction but has proved very challenging as its sculptural form means it is constantly changing. The interiors we’ve created are really unique for the Bangkok residential market as the apartments have been approached like a traditional European home, rather than an apartment in a tower. Entrance halls, wellproportioned rooms, beautiful finishes and great ceiling heights all add to this feeling. We wanted to create a home in the sky and it has been a huge success. We also recently completed the interiors for a Vogue Lounge in the same development. It is such a glamorous project. We took the colours of black, white and gold throughout the space, including the bathrooms which are a real talking point with walls clad in gold linen with framed images from archived Vogue shoots, along with Thai black and white horizontal prismatic tiles. The effect is somehow nostalgic, very Thai and uniquely Vogue Lounge. We are also working on a clubhouse in the Kengo Kumadesigned MahaSamutr resort on a lagoon in Hua Hin but I can’t reveal any details just yet.

You also worked with Alexander McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton on a new boutique in Tokyo. What was unique about this project?

The new flagship boutique in the Aoyama district in Tokyo opened in June and we are currently working on a further two stores in Chengdu and Harbour City, Hong Kong, planned for the end of the year. Tokyo was a fascinating project. With every flagship location we try to make the store site-specific and there we created a unique façade that is a simple polished marble during the day but at night an engraved pattern behind the marble glows in a subtle way. The interiors are architecturally very simple with McQueen’s trademark wings reinterpreted as a sculpture to form the whole of the back wall.

Your latest project in Hong Kong, The Continental, stands out for its masterful interior lighting. How was it conceived?

Lighting is signature in all of our projects. It is a means to create and manage the mood of a space – the architectural light sets the scene, the decorative light adds detail, drama, and sometimes a design contradiction to a space. We had to carefully curate the interior by working with the exterior view and landscaping of Pacific Place so we created pendant lighting to capitalise on the daylight during breakfast and lunch sittings and adopt a whole new mood for the evening. The end result is a truly unique space at different times of the day, with the feeling of intimacy coming to the forefront at night

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16/F Chao’s Building | 143-145 Bonham Strand | Sheung Wan | Hong Kong
T: +852 3620 3157 | F: +852 3753 1811

16/F Chao's Building  |  143-145 Bonham Strand  |  Sheung Wan  |  Hong Kong
T: +852 33620 3157  |  F: +852 3753 1811  |  |  Data Policy  

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