The Standard - FB Live Interview Session
With Renowned Interior Designer Steve Leung – Design Philosophy for YOO8
Overseas Property FB Live
Co-organized by The Standard and Sing Tao The Standard Overseas Property Online, the Overseas Property FB Live gathers insights from industry professionals and introduces outstanding property projects from top markets around the world.
In the recent Overseas Property FB Live, Steve Leung, a leading award-winning architect and interior designer and the founder of Steve Leung Design Group (SEHK: 2262), offered his insights on creating an ideal home. In particular, he explained his design philosophy for “YOO8 Serviced by Kempinski at 8 Conlay”, a luxury branded residence located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), Malaysia.
In 1999, international property entrepreneur John Hitchcox and the world’s most celebrated designer Philippe Starck jointly founded “YOO” – a global residential design brand with a revolutionary vision to enhance the way people live, work and play. YOO is now the world’s largest residential design brand with an international portfolio of residential developments, hotels and major mixed-use projects.
“YOO understands that a home is more than a place to live in – people seek a unique lifestyle and have expectations as to how an ideal home should look like,” Leung said. “It dovetails with my philosophy that a good design should create value.”
An urban sanctuary
One of their newest masterpieces is 8 Conlay, a contemporary mixed-use development that overlooks the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. It encompasses two high-rise residential buildings titled “YOO8”, a lifestyle retail quarter and a Kempinski Hotel, Europe’s oldest luxury hospitality group of 121 years. Leung advises that the multicultural background of Kuala Lumpur, inspired the material palette and design concept.
“It’s an amalgamation of different elements: Chinese philosophy, the Malaysian way of living and the creativity of YOO,” explained Leung.
Situated in the Golden Triangle area, Kuala Lumpur’s most sought-after neighborhood, YOO8 offers a tranquil respite while affording residents the luxury of being in the heart of the action. The Chinese philosophy of harmony between human and nature, Leung said, is his major inspiration.
In Tower A, the interiors are defined by Leung’s water and wood theme. The two elements are chosen from among the five traditional Chinese elements regarded as the foundation of everything in the universe and natural phenomena.
“Wood is a primary product of Malaysia – it’s not only a crucial architectural material, but carries significant cultural value in the country, signifying continuity. Water, on the other hand, is the source of life; it’s volatile and comes in different forms – solid, liquid or gas,” said Leung.
Such a design ethos manifests itself in the warm timbers, marble and raw concrete with brass detailing creating a vibrant base. The moment one steps into the apartment, they are greeted with a calming, natural and earthy ambience.
Tower B features interiors crafted by Kelly Hoppen, a celebrity designer known for her extensive work for the rich and famous. She brings to YOO8 dynamic interiors based on two main concepts: urban and spring.
YOO8’s architecture is brought to you by RSP, a leading Malaysian architecture firm. Dr. Theresa Fok, Managing Director of Jade Land Properties (HK) Limited and guest host of the FB Live, pointed out that the development sets a new record of being the world’s tallest spiraled twin residential towers, built to look like the Chinese character (?) for the number ‘8’.
“In Chinese culture, ‘8’ is an auspicious, lucky number that sounds like ‘Fa’, meaning wealth and fortune,” she said.
The ideal home
On creating a cozy home, Leung said the crux on the part of the client is to ‘be yourself’. “In working with clients, I devise the design according to their needs and wishes, instead of dictating my ideas to them,” he said.
“Design is the same as fashion: we as designers provide a foundation for the apartment yet we leave the flexibility for the homeowners to customise their home. Paintings, bouquets and accessories, for example, are great ways to show individual personality,” he added.
Dr. Fok notes that YOO8’s slogan, “Your Place, Your Story”, cannot be more appropriate, as “design should be tailor-made to echo the home owner’s personal values.”
“When it comes to purchasing overseas properties, we’ve noticed a rise in demand from clients for ready-to-live homes to minimise the hassles with renovation,” she said. “YOO8 addresses this market demand by offering apartments that come fully furnished and equipped with a comprehensive set of appliances.”
Living in Kuala Lumpur
Located right in the city, YOO8 has easy access to dining, shopping, lifestyle or transport options.
On living abroad, Dr. Fok underscored the ease of integrating into the community. “KLCC is home to a large Chinese-ethnic population and, for Hongkongers, it instantly feels like home,” she said. She added that, since Malaysia was once a British colony, it follows a similar commonwealth legal system.
“English, Mandarin and Chinese dialects like Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew are used on a daily basis,” he said.
Both Leung and Dr. Fok are especially impressed by the hospitality of the locals. “I find Malaysian people to be more present and less materialistic; they are very laid back, extremely friendly and generous,” said Leung. “These positive human qualities are reflected in the sense of space in homes, and in their more leisurely lifestyle.”
Looking back on his prolific portfolio, the revered designer said that every project he has undertaken is unique, but an important common thread is that he always carries out a thorough research of the local culture and way of life before developing the design concept.
“We take pride in having created in YOO8 a refined living environment that exudes luxury without compromising on comfort.”