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Monday, May 20, 2024

Designer Profile: Joyce Wang

Visionary hospitality designer Joyce Wang goes above and beyond great design, prioritising curiosity and wellness whilst being her studio’s biggest fan.

Joyce Wang is the Founder and Principal of her eponymous studio, acclaimed for seamlessly blending functionality with aesthetic allure. With a global footprint spanning Hong Kong to London, Joyce Wang Studio is renowned for its meticulous fusion of space, light, and materiality, setting a new standard for opulence.

Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit James MacDonald

Joyce and her team have recently completed work on London projects The Penthouse Suites at The Berkeley and Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, and previously completed the design at The Equinox hotel at Hudson Yards in New York City. The studio has a prolific portfolio across the Asia Pacific with a plethora of reimagined restaurants, clubs and bars opening throughout Hong Kong and Singapore in 2024.

Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit James MacDonald

High-profile and international projects aside, at the heart of it all, Joyce champions taking care of her studio and herself. She is motivated by open and honest collaboration, and believes that taking the time to rest and reboot is key to reaching her creative potential.

Here she discusses the distinct design memories that she carries with her, how she strives to be her studio’s greatest fan, and why sleep should be the focus for designers moving forward in 2024.

Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit James MacDonald

What is your earliest memory of design having an impact on you?

I recall a specific memory of accompanying my mother to the HSBC building in Hong Kong, rising through the glass underbelly of the building into the beautiful guts of the interior. It was overwhelming and stunning at the same time. I think I was six, and that was the moment I decided I wanted to curate journeys like that when I grew up. I want people to feel very much what I felt that day: empowered, connected, feeling like a million dollars. Besides my studies, I learned a lot about design by travelling with my parents when I was young. That opened my eyes to the power and possibilities of design through time and culture.

Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit James MacDonald

Where did you study design and what did you specialise in?

I was on a path to becoming an architect, I studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)  – a degree in Architecture and Materials Science –  and completed my Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art in London studying material science. I love working with materials – I love textures, patina and variance. It was when I moved back to Hong Kong that I started leaning towards interior design when a pastry chef asked me to design her cake shop. I was fascinated by sourcing all the materials and genuinely enjoyed the process of conceptualising a narrative and materialising the space into reality.

Maison Boulud, Singapore by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit Common Studio

What kind of design studio did you aspire to create?

One to motivate and excite; as well as to strive to be the greatest fan of ourselves and our clients. I feel it’s also important to constantly indulge in what we want to do as a studio – we will often embark on internal projects that we fund and propel as a studio. In 2018, we self-funded and launched The Flint Collection,  a collection of terrazzo furniture and accessories during London Design Festival. We worked with a fourth-generation Italian terrazzo maker to bring out the more precious qualities of Terrazzo, elevating a humble material into a collection that is multi-faceted in character.  The collection is designed to be stacked and interchanged with other objects in the series. When we are our own client, we can hear our own voice and my role is to reinforce that identity. The tricky part of the role is that it doesn’t come with a job description, so I have to figure out things that are important to me but that no one else can quite do!

Carna, Sala la Luce, Hong Kong by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit Edmond Leong

What was your first professional design commission?

A refurbishment of the two-storey Cabana rooms at the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles – a commission through  a family connection. We took inspiration from the seminal mid-century Palm Springs culture. The design echoes the energy of its guests with a playful air of decadence. There are 60 keys with a typical room size of 32 meters square.

Carna, Sala la Luce, Hong Kong by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit Edmond Leong

What has been your biggest design commission to date?

The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, which has been a dream of mine since studying at the Royal College of Art. London is a special place to me. It was the biggest refurbishment since its existence.The interiors are inspired by the early 20th century golden age of travel, with 181 keys and various public areas. There’s inspiration everywhere and a myriad of talented fabricators and artisans that seeded many collaborations. It was a five-year long project;  we revealed the two interconnecting suites in Spring 2019. The suites form a three-bed penthouse spanning the whole ninth floor, with expansive terraces wrapping around the perimeter of the hotel boasting views of the London skyline.

Equinox Hudson Yard, NYC by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit Edmond Leong

How would you describe Joyce Wang Studio as a studio and a community of designers?

I believe our studio’s mission transcends traditional design concepts to craft cinematic interiors that stir emotion and captivate the senses.  I am a big cinephile and film often inspires my work. Like with movies, I want guests to have an intimate and personal experience with our spaces, so that they leave remembering how it made them feel, even by transporting them to another place or time for just one evening.

Our community of designers, which span studios in London and Hong Kong, are brimming with talent and working on projects across the globe.  We cater for a discerning clientele united by a shared passion and appreciation for visionary design.

We are driven by an insatiable curiosity for materials, we explore endless possibilities, partnering with skilled artisans worldwide to create captivating environments with bespoke, crafted details and custom-made furnishings.  For each interior project, we develop signature material, finish or feature that is wholly unique to that space. The studio’s interdisciplinary ethos draws inspiration from the realms of film, fashion and various artistic disciplines.

Equinox Hudson Yard, NYC by Joyce Wang Studio | Photo Credit Edmond Leong

What are the key characteristics you look for when bringing new talent into your studio?

Perseverance, passion, openness, honesty. The willingness to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Teamwork is everything. Having a rich, cultural diversity within teams creates layers of engaging personalities and a unique synergy as a backdrop to our working collaboration.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel by Joyce wang Studio

Where is the majority of your work based? And how has travel helped to shape and influence your ideas on design?

The majority of our studio work is based in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Europe.  We’ve done two projects in the US, most recently the first Equinox Hotel in Hudson Yards, and hope to expand our portfolio and teams in that market.

Travel has broadened my horizons and has helped me to become increasingly  multicultural. This is one of the reasons why I choose to work in many different cities. My dream is to design a luxury beach resort.  A significant part of our design involves artful curation, and inspiration for our projects often comes from selecting contrasting textures, furniture, objects, and artwork from different cultural references. All of these elements are crucial to the success of a great interior.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel by Joyce wang Studio

What do you think should be a key focus for designers moving forward in 2024 and beyond?

To focus on prioritising sleep and wellbeing.  I’m guilty of staying up into the early hours of the morning working on projects and ideas, but unfortunately, this catches up on me!  I’m learning and appreciating that it’s only when I’m well-rested that I’m at my most creative – where a clear mind can draw upon the most incredible inspiration all around me.

If you hadn’t become an interior designer what would you be doing?

I’d probably be working in film – maybe as a producer or film director, creating and sharing compelling narratives!

www.joycewangstudio.com | IG: @joycewangstudio

Rebekah Killigrew
Rebekah Killigrewhttp://www.rebekahkilligrew.com
Editor | www.architecturemagazine.co.uk | www.interiordesignermagazine.co.uk

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