How Malaysia Inspired The Work Of This Hong Kong Designer-Architect Duo
It’s been 20 years since Hong Kong-based designer Ed Ng and architect Terence Ngan founded AB Concept. In that time, the design firm gained renown around the world for its innovative concepts and rare ability to translate various cultural inspirations across its projects.
AB Concept’s multi-disciplinary portfolio includes luxury retail spaces, exclusive club houses, seaside resorts and towering luxury hotels around the world, not forgetting their luxurious new office at K11 Atelier in Hong Kong.
Then there is their recent project with Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur. If you had spent a little time within the interiors of The Yun House, The Lobby Lounge or the award-winning Bar Trigona at the luxury hotel, you would have a taste of Ng and Ngan’s unique design sensibility.
With each project, the duo takes a deep and hard look at the locale and its history - less as an inspiration and more as an invisible force to guide them. Ng shares what goes into creating exceptional interiors, in particular the ones at Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur.
Is there any design trend that influences your style?
All the trends that we have seen throughout the years have contributed to our understanding of aesthetics. For example, with classic architecture you learn to appreciate proportions and scale, and how they relate to craftsmanship.
From the Art Deco period, you learn about exaggerated geometry and the impact it can have visually.
Meantime, minimalism enlightens us about how little we need to get by. Every trend is a chapter in our textbook.
What does it take to excel as a designer in the age of social media?
It’s important to put yourself in the guests' experience. People nowadays are really looking for something more abstract or conceptual realised through design, whether it is an experience, a photogenic moment, or a concept of community and interactive society. These touch points are added value that guests consider.
Ultimately, we want to create a unique experience based on local contexts, and hopefully one that brings comfort and joy to those inside the space.
See also: A Modern Penthouse With Brilliant Balconies Overlooking The Lion City
Is there a common element across all of your design projects?
We're quite inspired by the locations of our projects. Cities that have deep cultural contexts, a rich history and heritage make for a strong, bespoke narrative that truly belongs to the city.
Related: Go From Bedroom To Luxe Hotel Room In 7 Bold Steps
What did you enjoy most about working with Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur?
It was an amazing journey. We learnt that Malaysia and Hong Kong have certain similarities; they were both British colonies but Malaysia has greater diversity in terms of culture.
Related: A peek inside Shen-Tel Lee’s whimsical duplex
Malaysia is a vibrant melting pot of cultures and it’s great to see how the country is very forward-thinking. It's coming into its own as a world-class city with a wide array of hotel brands, lifestyle concepts, and F&B.
Tell me about more the design inspiration behind the Yun House, Bar Trigona and The Lobby Lounge at the hotel.
The concept was a miniature reflection of Kuala Lumpur’s unique background but each (space) with its own unique take.
The Yun House is a high-end, elegant and authentic Cantonese restaurant that's all about connecting with the Asian heritage that plays an important part in Malaysian culture and history.
The Lobby Lounge is a spacious and sophisticated meeting place with greta energy. It reflects the colonial history that also helped shape the cultural landscape of Malaysia.
Then there's the Bar Trigona, which is is luxurious, intimate and casual – a setting that echoes modern-day Malaysia.
Are you satisfied with what you've achieved on this project?
Yes. We had great creative freedom. Normally when we start on a new project, we don’t have a set concept in mind. Rather, we work it out as we go along, letting our minds roam free while experiencing space and culture.
Before you go: Exploring Atlas Gourmet Market At Four Seasons Place KL