Hospitality Design - October 2015 - (Page 87)

products profile neri & hu By Alissa Ponchione Photography courtesy of Neri & Hu 2 1 DESIGN INTERVENTION A mutual culture leads to common ground It's hard to argue against fate's role in bringing together Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri. Both are ethnically Chinese, though he grew up in the Philippines and Hu in Taiwan, before they both moved to the U.S. during their early teens, attended high school in California, and-as luck would have it-studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. They met during Hu's first year and Neri's last, but they would end up together, nonetheless, both personally and professionally, while working at Michael Graves & Associates (after stints at Architrope, Steven Harris Architects, and Team 7 International for Neri; and Ralph Lerner Architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and the Architects' Collaborative for Hu). It could be their shared respect for Asian culture that brought them together or their complementary design skills. Or it could be chalked up to destiny. Their work on the Three on the Bund dining and entertainment project for Michael Graves took them to Shanghai in 2002, and they never left-launching Neri & Hu in 2004. "It was not a complicated decision," explains Neri. "We always seemed to know that one day we would work together." Eleven years later, the firm boasts more than 100 people on staff and a second office in London. "We work very organically depending on time, availability, and interest," says Hu. 3 4 "We have different strengths, and we make up for each other's weaknesses." Neri's early passion for drawing, for example, led him to enjoy the freedom of putting his imagination on the page, excelling at the design concept stage and working with clients, while Hu is more inclined to the development stage. "With each project, it is like solving a new puzzle or going on a new journey," she says. The husband and wife team is currently at work on a number of projects including restaurants for Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton in Sydney and London; a seven-story mixed-use building for LVMH and developer Dacra in Miami; the transformation of London's Bow Street Magistrates Court into a boutique hotel; a Residence G in Hong Kong; and Le Méridien Zhengzhou. On top of all that, the duo continues to grow its product offerings. "We have dabbled with product design since we started our practice," Neri says. And because Graves was a prolific product designer, "our experience working there probably influenced us a lot, too," he adds. Having this year been named Maison&Objet Asia designers of the year, Neri and Hu are working on creations for their own brand as well as collections for 12 to 15 companies, such as the recently launched Jian (a character in Chinese that "is very profound yet simple and ordinary," according to Neri) 1. Hu and Neri started their own Shanghaibased firm in 2004. 2. Designed for Gandia Blasco, outdoor furniture collection Jian offers an ethereal quality. 3. Neri & Hu partnered with De La Espada for the Solo dining chair, an updated version of the Eames shell chair. 4. The designers reinterpreted Arne Jacobsen's iconic Series 7 chair for Fritz Hansen. for Spanish firm Gandia Blasco, where they explore the connection between outdoor furniture and indoor space. And in January they debuted the Shaker (a dining table and chair inspired by the simple, utilitarian approach) and Frame series (the bed and sofa are supported by a wooden frame structure) for De La Espada. Whether a hotel project or piece of furniture, Neri and Hu infuse each venture with their ingrained sensibility, using everyday life in Shanghai as inspiration. "Asian designers have a burden of proving to the Western First World that we can be as good, as relevant, and as creative," explains Hu, "and at the same time still align ourselves to our Eastern lineage." hd en.neri and October 2015 087

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - October 2015

Hospitality Design - October 2015
Online TOC
From the Editor
From the Show Director
Business Sense: Industry Insight
Sustainable Studio: Open Farm Community
Trends: Suites
Trends: Fast-Casual Dining
5 Questions for John Simeonidis
Profile: Neri & Hu
Trends: Scandinavian Inspiration
Trends: Rose Gold
In the Room
Special Feature: Chefs
Platinum Circle
Gary Dollens
Kemper Hyers
Nobu Matsuhisa
HD Visionary Award: HBA
Margherita Saint-Germain
Le Lapin
The Continental
Scone City
I Love Paris
Ad Index
Back Space

Hospitality Design - October 2015