NC Design & Architecture’s new design for Foxglove – Hong Kong’s most compelling new interior design – opened its doors in November 2015. It pays homage to quintessential British heritage: the finest handcrafted umbrellas and the traditional private members’ club, which the architects have hidden away from view. How private is it? Very. In fact, it’s secret. Is this Hong Kong’s new hidden treasure?
For the fashionable lady or gentlemen who wishes to access the 4,300 square feet lounge, they must do so via a secret door that is hidden within the Fox Shop: an elegant walk-through ‘Kingsman-secret-service-style’ boutique featuring classic silver handle-umbrellas, immaculately presented within bespoke-design brass edged lightbox wall cabinets. Open the secret door (hint: touch a ‘special’ meticulously carved silver handle), walk through it and you will discover Foxglove: a fantasy retro world inspired by the globe-trotting adventures of an English gentleman and named after his love’s favourite – but potentially deadly – flower.
Foxglove’s exclusive inner sanctum is reminiscent of all the luxury and glamour of retro, first class travel. The design elements take you back to the days of propeller airplanes, zeppelins, steam trains and vintage cars… with a distinctly contemporary and playful twist that highlights the age-old pleasure in discovering hidden elements and adventures.
The main lounge and cocktail bar features an elegant silver-grey marble-top counter at the heart of this space. Luxurious deep ink-blue leather seating for 80 guests are offset by a dramatically sculptural cream lacquered ceiling that wraps around the bar. The unapologetically cinematic interiors draw on a palette of darker finishes, shadows, form and rich materials to give the space – part retreat, part escape – an aptly masculine allure.
Meanwhile, a VIP room featuring blood red sumptuous seating for 32 guests evokes the ambience of a vintage First Class train cabin with a gently arched ceiling. The walls are clad with umbrella stems, a fantastic touch which refers back to the Fox Shop whilst also providing a sense of quirky sophistication to this space. Custom spotlights – reminiscent of classic car headlamps – evoke the spirit of adventure and glamour of past days.
But for the real Kingsmen and women out there, there is one more secret to be discovered: the VVIP… so secret that no images are made public (yet). To enter this Very Very Important Person’s room, guests must place their hand on a traditional floral painting at the end of a corridor until it glows, signalling the bartender to open the door. Inside, the classic library setting raises the bar for exclusive sanctuaries with bookshelves that wrap around the walls and the ceiling. Enticingly comfortable leather club chairs sit within a warm and intimate emerald green palette and an elegant marble bar counter where guests can sample delicious drinks on offer.
In NC Design & Architecture’s design, the sense of fantasy continues down to the toilets, with a witty nod to ship-cabin-style washrooms. These are accessed by a corridor where mesmerising mirror trickery turns up the glamour dial and will make you think you are lounging on the Titanic… minus the mood-busting sinking, that is.
So, if you are in Hong Kong for business or pleasure and are looking for a little adventure, make sure you suit up, head on over to Foxglove and discover its secrets.
About the Architects: NC Design & Architecture Ltd. (NCDA) are a Hong Kong-based architectural design firm specializing in retail, restaurant, hospitality and residential projects. They cover the full design remit encompassing interiors, bespoke furniture and innovative products, through to graphic design and the development of exclusive brand narratives. NCDA are interested in developing creative projects that reinvent the experience of space through meaningful connections. They do so primarily by focusing on engaging through storytelling – which they define as “the art of inspiration” -and in thus developing new ways for people to interact with their world and each other. NCDA’s projects exist at the intersection of art and architecture and help start creative collaborations, stimulate interesting conversations, and deliver projects with their own visual identity that tell a unique story. No two projects look the same, because as they explain: “we are not about imposing our style but instead look to define your”.
About Nelson Chow: Nelson Chow is NCDA’s Principal. Raised in Canada, Nelson is a New York State licensed architect. He received his Master of Architecture from The University of Waterloo (Canada) in 2004 and, after completing a Menswear Tailoring Certificate at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in 2005, joined the international design and concept firm AvroKO at their New York City office. With experience working on critically acclaimed projects such as Steelworks Lofts, the W hotel and Madame Geneva Bar, he relocated to Hong Kong where he joined the award‐winning Edge Design Institute specializing in the design of luxury homes and yachts.
Since establishing NCDA in 2012, Nelson has emerged as one of the region’s most innovative design studios with a collection of head-turning projects around the region. His highly inventive, sophisticated work with its finger on the pulse of commercial design has also caught the attention of leading media around the world including Wallpaper*, the South China Morning Post, Dezeen, ArchDaily and (now) also Eleven.