Checking in with Lydia Liu, Senior FF&E Designer, Wilson Associates Shanghai
What do you love about Shanghai? Why did you decide to move there?
Shanghai is one of China’s biggest and most developed cities. After moving to Shanghai, I realized how much China has changed since I migrated to Singapore 13 years ago. Shanghai has totally blown my mind!
In May 2016, Dylan [Wills] offered me the opportunity to join his new design studio in Shanghai, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn a lot from the experienced people in the studio. And I have enjoyed nurturing a project from the beginning to the end, from concept to build.
What inspires you, and what are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
What I do outside of work are the things that can bring me inspiration. I like to visit exhibitions, whether it is design-related or not. I always love to know what is on trend, and get inspiration from designers’ creativity. I also love to visit book stores–what is special in China is the book store allows customers to sit down and read the books. Sometimes I can spend my entire afternoon in the bookshop with a cup of coffee.
What’s the best hotel you’ve seen recently?
I went to Japan last June to visit TOTO’s Tokyo workshop and factory, and I had the chance to visit quite a few famous hotels in Tokyo. My favorite was the Andaz Hotel that was designed by Tony Chi. I loved the hotel’s eye-catching curve feature. There is a sculptural seat at the reception area and this design language was carried on in the all-day dining space as a ceiling feature.
In October, I paid a visit to Hangzhou, China, and I was staying at the newly opened Park Hyatt hotel that was designed by Yabu Pushelberg. It was one of the best hotels that I have stayed in during the past year! I really liked how they chose and used the marble; there are lots of details in their design and I think the accent color they used in the public area is daring and fresh.
What projects are you working on right now? What’s your favorite part of the project?
The first project I worked on after I arrived in Shanghai was the Marriott Hongqiao, which we just completed. We worked on the refurbishment of the Level One Lobby, All-day Dining, and Executive Lounge. Currently I’m working on several other projects of various types, such as the Maritim Hotel Wuhu, a Zhengzhou serviced apartment, and the Shanghai Qinglan International Showflat.
My favorite part of any project is pulling materials together to give the space a certain look and feel. Matching different textures, different colors, and different finishes sometimes might be tough, but when I finally find that special fabric that brings the design together, I think no one can understand the joy of that moment!
Choose one thing in your home that is very special to you – can you tell me about it?
There is one thing I cannot describe just how special it is to me–my cat, Pepsi. He’s a British short hair, with grey fur and brown eyes, and 6 months old. He’s a handsome little one! I am a cat person, and he is the reason why I love spending more of my free time at home. Sometimes just watching him jumping all over the place brings me so much happiness! He’s such a fun creature–I have way too many photos of him!
Okay, so six questions. When and why did you decide to become an interior designer?
When I was young, my favorite thing to do was to visit friends’ and relatives’ houses–back then I knew nothing about layout or space planning–because I was interested to see what other people’s houses looked like. My mum still has quite a collection of my childhood drawings of my future dream house. I think that’s why I chose to study interior design—I had a fascination with interiors, and I am really lucky now to work doing what I love!