Whether it’s a house, a hotel room, or a lovingly conceived bolthole, much has evolved over the last couple of years about where we feel the most at home – or how we even define it. We speak to three of the city’s top designers tasked with creating them, including Peter Remedios.
It’s 2022, and nothing is quite the same when it comes to our relationships with our surroundings. This is especially true for city dwellers living in the cosy confines of Hong Kong, in which we have been spending an inordinate amount of time over the last two years.
Certainly, the notion of home has always been less about a physical place than a concept; at its best, it is a safe haven where we rest our heads after a day’s work, a place that conjures feelings of belonging, joy and permanence. Yet as living spaces quickly turned into makeshift offices and daycare centres, many urbanites have found themselves rethinking their connection to their environments, their expectations of them, and in some cases, craving new oases altogether. As architects and interior designers alike respond to an all-time-high demand for personal build and renovation projects large and small, one thing for certain is that people have never been more in need of a sense of place.
See also: Home Reimagined: Maxime Dautresme
PETER REMEDIOS, FOUNDER OF REMEDIOS STUDIO
Arriving at the suites lift lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, where soft lighting envelops full-height open shelves adorned with art and objects and a leather bench, feels like an invitation to take your shoes off. One gets the sense of coming home. And this is exactly the welcoming Peter Remedios had in mind.
“It’s like an entrance foyer if you were to enter a beautiful mansion; I refer to this as a homecoming,” enthuses the founder of Hong Kong-headquartered Remedios Studio, who led the largest redesign yet of the five-star landmark’s guest rooms, suites and lobbies. That includes the newly unveiled Deluxe Suites, which Remedios walks me through and where a statement Chinese shan shui ink painting towers over the gorgeous bar island, and Ming Dynasty-inspired wood finishes sit against tech-savvy controls. Against the iconic Victoria Harbour views within what Remedios refers to as our “city of contrasts”, this juxtaposition of cultures and elements lends a one-of-a-kind familiarity.
That affinity is proving especially important as travellers today are demanding longer hotel stays – weeks or longer at a time. “The worlds of hotels and homes are increasingly similar,” observes Remedios, who has designed luxury residences such as The Gramercy on Caine Road. This suggests a need for more authentic homes away from home, which might include introducing the likes of flexible floorplans, open kitchens, and large dining and entertaining areas.
“There’s also a feel-good factor that I think we need to give. The world has gone through turmoil in the last two years. When people start to travel again, you want to reward them with something that they feel happy about.” For the architect and designer, that would mean more biophilic designs, organic materials, and artisanal flavours. “Human beings feel good when they can reconnect with nature.”
Currently, Remedios is bringing that ethos into a project close to his heart: the house in Hong Kong he is building for himself, which he describes as “somewhere between a beach house and Mediterranean villa.” There, patterns of Côte d’Azur, Italy and Spain (“Those are areas I really love”) will blend with tributes to his Portuguese heritage, and a bedroom that captures his fondness for Japanese culture, sparked when he worked on the upcoming revamp of The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto. It might even see some of Remedios’ own furniture; his studio designed and manufactured 11,000 pieces for the 400-plus rooms, suites and villas at the Morpheus hotel in Macau. Remedios is also setting his sights on a collaborative furniture collection and a special line of Kyoto-inspired sanitary fittings to be unveiled soon.
Having designed for the likes of Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Four Seasons New York and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong with many others in the pipeline, Remedios does not take his responsibilities lightly, and in fact, has an inspiringly philosophical view about his work.
“Covid has been very much a wake-up call, a reset button to ask ourselves what’s important. I believe it is to live in the present and enjoy what you have. When you think back on your own life, you’ll remember moments spent with the people you love, at a great restaurant or an awesome vacation. Those are the things that define your life. I think we have an opportunity here to create those moments in a person’s life.”
Originally published in ECHELON Issue 8