We asked Spencer Fung, the London based, Hong-Kong born, architect, artist and designer about how both the concrete jungle and nature inspire his work.
-What do you remember about your childhood? And what was it like to grow up in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is the tale of two extremes: concrete high rise buildings and yet there is plenty of nature. My first home was on the sea front along the Kowloon peninsula and I have vivid memories of playing along the shores, chasing dragon flies around the water creeks with my cousins. My mother would take us on early morning walks through the green woods and near the resevoir. My father inherited his father's glassworks factory and worked in textiles while my mother was always making things, what you might call a cottage industry today. These craft industries, both on a big or small scale were very typical of Hong Kong in the 1960s.
This vintage photograph is of Fishtail Rock. I discovered the photograph recently and was amazed to discover it was once an island. When I grew up here, in a flat on the seafront where my cousin would take us to play on the shore, it had been reclaimed and was part of the mainland.
-How has growing up in Hong Kong influenced your design aesthetic?
It's that mix of the urban and countryside which I enjoy and which influences what I do. I always try to bring the outdoors into my work. I think because most people there live in cramped, crowded homes, that need for beautiful pieces inspired by nature or at least natural colours and textures with some warmth is even more exaggerated.
-What do you like to visit when you return?
Again, it's the idea of visiting the old and the new. We explore a bustling city life which is colourful and has so much energy. My family there now live in Mong Kok so we explore the street markets in that neighbourhood and I’m proud to say my children aren’t overwhelmed by this exhaustive sea of people and enjoy spotting new trends there. But then we also go hiking in the outlying islands which is energising in a very different way.