HONG KONG — Vivienne Tam is frowning.
A tower of macaroons is obstructing the view of the Hong Kong harbor from her newly designed hotel suite. Once it is removed, her face relaxes into a smile. “The unusual feature [of this room] is the openness of the space. It’s uncluttered,” explains Tam. “You feel at home, at ease.”
Unveiled yesterday at Hotel Icon, the minimalist suite marks Tam’s foray into interior design. Located in Tsim Sha Tsui East, the boutique hotel is owned by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
“I graduated from Poly U and when they told me about this hotel, I said, ‘That’s great. This is something that I’d love to give back to my school,’” said Tam.
Spanning 861 square feet, the suite channels her signature East-meets-West aesthetic and vivid color palette. Tam described it as “part of the ‘China Chic’ concept,” referencing her coffee-table book published in 2000.
Much of the interior was inspired by Tam’s New York apartment. “It’s very similar: The furniture, the wood, the marble bathroom,” she explains. “I have concrete columns in New York, which they don’t have here, but there’s the same open window space and the colors are also the same.”
The centerpiece of the sparse living room is a curvaceous red sofa by the Bouroullec brothers paired with a Japanese cherry wood table.
Tam’s personal touches include a pink porcelain plaque which she found in a Shanghai market and a series of her own art installations. Hanging in the bedroom is a portrait of ‘Opera Girl,’ the character she created for her 2011 accessories line, made of Swarovski Elements.
Asked about other connections to her fashion design, Tam compares the suite to her spring 2012 collection. “It’s like being in a Japanese garden, an Asian garden,” she said referring to the plants in the living room and bathroom.
While the suite is already open to the public — and has its first booking — Tam describes it as a work in progress. She is currently working on a large installation titled “Flying Clouds,” composed of fragments of cloth for the bedroom. “This is another fashion connection, it uses one of my embroidery techniques,” she explained.
Tam says she has been interested in interiors since the early days of her career: “I always considered myself as a lifestyle designer. In the very beginning, I used Chinese bedspreads, mosquito netting and sheets to make clothes. I’m very fascinated by all these industrial and furniture materials.”
In 2007, Tam consulted a feng shui master to design her elaborate SoHo store. Two years later, she collaborated with Rowe Furniture to produce a series of custom upholstered furniture.
This year, aside from her hotel suite, Tam has also been preparing for the launch of her new shop in Hong Kong. Due to open in early August, it will be located in Hysan Place, a new shopping mall in the Causeway Bay district.
Turning her attention to Asia, Tam has further plans to expand in the region. “There will be more shops in Hong Kong and China. We are also talking about Korea and Taiwan.”
Asked if she plans to do more interiors, Tam says she hopes to develop Vivienne Tam Home as a brand one day. “That’s my future plan. It is something to cultivate and this is the starting point. This is something that I really want to do,” she says.