Yabu Pushelberg's newly unveiled show apartment in Swire Properties' Opus Hong Kong - designed by Frank Gehry - introduces a touch of high glamour in a city where most 'super-luxury' homes are conformist or bling.
It was Gehry's innovative design and Swire's reputation for giving designers like Kengo Kuma (at Beijing hotel the Opposite House) and André Fu (its Hong Kong sister the Upper House) considerable creative freedom that enticed the globetrotting Canadian duo: 'First, the client understands the value of design,' explains Glenn Pushelberg, 'and the building itself is intriguing.'
Gehry's first residential development in Asia - an elegant 12-storey spiral featuring glass-enclosed load-bearing columns that 'float' like reeds around the façade - proved 'a challenge because of its flowery shape,' says Pushelberg. 'But that makes for a more interesting result.'
'It is one of the most significant new works of domestic architecture in Asia,' says Swire chief executive Martin Cubbon, 'and [Gehry's] breathtaking design together with the building's exceptional location demanded the very best in interiors.'
Left to their own devices, the designers have created their own narrative: a second home for a stylish, wealthy Shanghainese couple who shop and entertain. 'We made the urban side more dramatic, but not too theatrical, while the private mountainside areas are more ethereal,' says George Yabu.
The grand foyer gives a contemporary nod to chinoiserie with a series of hand-painted screens by Moss & Lam, while strategically placed designs in the living and dining areas frame the mesmerising views. A 12-seat marble dining table and distinctive pendant light by the designers is picture-perfect for parties. Lighting moods - from daytime, through cocktail hour to evening - are controlled via iPad.
Meanwhile the master bedroom, accessed through a curved corridor lit by a Lustre Facette No.283 pendant by Hervé Van Der Straeten, is an altogether more intimate space with custom two-tiered brass side tables by Scala Luxury and enigmatic Bubble lights specially designed by Caleb Siemon.
Despite the remarkable lustre throughout the space, Pushelberg emphasises the high spec and graceful flow. 'The mood of home design is changing,' he says. 'It is less about gilding the lily and more about quality of design and attention to detail. It is not about the most expensive materials. It has to function well, too.'