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lagranja’s Gemma Fletcher Brings Spain to Hong Kong

The managing partner of lagranja Hong Kong talks about the studio’s high-end quirkiness, and working in Asia.

lagranja’s Gemma Fletcher Brings Spain to Hong Kong

The managing partner of lagranja Hong Kong talks about the studio’s high-end quirkiness, and working in Asia.



BY

29 November, 2012


At a time when many in Spain are facing insurmountable difficulties, Barcelona-based design and architecture studio lagranja has been expanding internationally. The 11-year-old outfit set up a Hong Kong office in 2011, and has since pushed out to Istanbul. We speak to the British managing partner of lagranja Hong Kong, Gemma Fletcher, about working in Asia.

lagranja

Hotel Madera, Hong Kong

How did you come to lead lagranja’s Hong Kong office?

I previously lived in Singapore and ran my own interior design company. My husband and I moved to Hong Kong, and when I was setting up the company again I met with Gerard Sanmarti and Gabriele Schiavon (the founders of lagranja in Barcelona). They’d been invited to participate in Business of Design Week 2009. There was an immediate connection and we decided to cooperate and set up lagranja in Asia, based in Hong Kong.

lagranja

Almogavers Business Factory, Barcelona (with associate architect Jaume Sanmati)

Do you work solely on projects in Asia? Do you assist the Barcelona team as well?

We exchange ideas and trends and brainstorm on projects, but I mostly focus on Asia. The Hong Kong office covers all of Asia and we are very busy already!

lagranja

Maui lamp

How would you describe lagranja’s approach to design?

We position ourselves as a high-end boutique interior design office. We carefully select the projects that we want to be involved in. We like to work with the highest quality materials, experiment with new ideas, and use materials in unusual ways. And we love colour! We like to create spaces that provoke a reaction or that people will remember.

We have been very lucky so far to be able to work with forward thinkers like David Fong from Hip Shing Hong Group of Companies and Daniel Chan from Paragon. Both Madera Hotel and Paragon Watch Galleria represent something totally different to industry standards.

lagranja

Hotel Madera, Hong Kong

Tell me about the Hotel Madera project, and your first taste of working in Hong Kong.

It involved the signature suites of a new-build boutique hotel. It just so happened that the hotel was going to be called Madera, which means ‘wood’ in Spanish. We took wood as the main material and used it in lots of unusual and wonderful ways to add character and a bit of humour to the suites and lift lobbies.

lagranja

lagranja

Hotel Madera, Hong Kong

How was the experience of working in Singapore different to what you’re encountering in Hong Kong?

I left Singapore at a time when there were many changes going on. Now 3 years later when I go back, there is always something new. The city has changed and in terms of design there have been and are many opportunities. I love the fast pace and the energy of Hong Kong. I would say the main advantage of being located here is being so close to China and all the possibilities that come with that.

lagranja

lagranja

Paragon Watch Galleria, Tianjin

You’ve just completed the Paragon Watch Galleria in Tianjin, China with more than 16.000 triangular hand-made golden brass floor tiles. How did that come about?

Our client loves to be ahead of the market. He wanted to change the nature of luxury watch retail and create an alternative way of displaying timepieces. With this difficult brief, we decided to do something unprecedented. It sounds like a crazy idea – a floor made out of so many brass tiles; but the effect is quite magical.

lagranja

Paragon Watch Galleria, Tianjin

So is your location (and its opportunities) influencing your designs?

Gold or yellow is an important colour in China, yet we didn’t want to go down the standard route. So we thought of doing a golden floor. Obviously being in China helps because if you find your supplier the possibilities are endless with what you can produce or create. That’s a great advantage.

lagranja

Midi Colors

What projects are you working on right now?

We have a number of interesting projects in the pipeline. We’re doing a proposal for a large potential project in India and a very creative one based here in Hong Kong.

What are your key concerns for the industry today – in general, and in Asia?

One of the great things about Asia is its fast pace. People here are extremely open minded toward new companies and new ideas. On the other hand, and I’m speaking more about China, there is the concern that at the extraordinary pace cities are developing, perhaps a touch of creativity or originality is lost in an attempt to keep up with the growth.

lagranja
lagranjadesign.com


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