As the art fairs in Asia including Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central Hong Kong just closed their doors we were able to discuss with award wining designer Joyce Wang about her recent commission for Swarovski. As part of the inaugural edition of Art Central Hong Kong, Nadja Swarovski asked Wang to envision the connection of crystal tradition and innovative technics with the aesthetic of Hong Kong’s culture and taste for bespoked craftmanship. She answered this invitation with Oculus a contemporary interpretation of a ‘chandelier’ which was showcased during Art Central Hong Kong. Educated in North America and Europe, Wang tells us about her hybrid inspirations and commitment to deliver one of a kind design may it be a global interior design or any other scale such as hotels.
Business Madame : What is your training and what were your first paths in the (interior) design field ?
Joyce Wang : Having started out with a double-major in Architecture and Materials Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, my career took a change of direction after attending the Royal College of Art in London. Collaborations with fashion designers, jewelry artisans and filmmakers helped to shape my approach to interior design, and although I maintain an architectural style to my work, I think it’s perhaps the combination of this along with the use of innovative materials and cinematic or emotive inspiration which directs the studio’s design aesthetic. We’ve also had the good fortune to work on projects that have a heritage value, whether it be the brand or the site, this has allowed us to create environments that reinvent traditions and craft narratives that beg the audience to question and interpret the surroundings. An early example of this was AMMO Restaurant & Bar in the Asia Society Hong Kong Center which was a former explosives magazine compound created by the British army in the mid-19th century. The restaurant design is theatrical, inspired by Alphaville, a 1965 sci-fi by Jean-Luc Godard, and created in shades of copper and bronze using materials and shapes which reference the space’s military and industrial heritage.
BM : Whose work do you admire most (artists, designers, leaders, …) and what/who are your inspirations at the moment ?
JW : Architects Adolf Loos, Frank Lloyd Wright and Carlo Scarpa as well as film directors David Lynch and Jacques Tati amongst others …
BM : How did you get involved in this collaboration with Swarovski ? Nadja Swarovski having teamed up with most of today’s most acclaimed and talented designers how did you approach the commission ?
“Having started out with a double-major in Architecture and Materials Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, my career took a change of direction after attending the Royal College of Art in London.” Joyce Wang
JW : It started with Nadja Swarovski’s idea of reinventing the crystal chandelier, I wanted to be a part of this, and to create a chandelier with a new take and design. The piece is inspired by an ancient architectural feature – Oculus – a circular opening at the highest point in a dome; a window to the world that bridges the inside and the outside, allowing the light and the elements into an architectural space. In a similar way, Oculus connects the outside and the inside world, drawing the viewer and light into the structure. It inverts the idea of a traditional chandelier where the crystals are on the outside, what is beautiful about Oculus is essentially on the inside. The exterior of Oculus is a smooth and seamless egg-shaped silhouette offering a strong contrast to the striking crystal spikes which are revealed on the inside. A key focus of the design was allowing light to dance freely through the form, reflecting and refracting delicate patterns of light off the almost sinister shapes of the long crystal spikes.
BM : Craftmanship seems to evolve at the center of your design ? Comments?
JW : The relationship between different material elements, and between those elements and people is as diverse as it is fascinating. To truly capture the attention of an audience, and to evoke a positive emotive response, I like to create layers of detail for discovery, crafting the highest quality materials into surprising and delightful functional forms or embellishments.
BM : What are your next projects ? And if you were to choose totally freely your next contribution what would it be ? (industrial design, hotel, home, offices, …)
JW : We have recently expanded our offices over to London to meet the demands of luxury interiors in the hospitality industry.