Mark Lui Design Works

TITLE: The best of both worlds
STANDFIRST: Music composer Mark Lui embarks on a new journey in mixing customised furniture and a soothing palette to create a sense of effortless calm in his new family home

TEXT: Teresa Chow

PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Mui, Daniel Tam

Hidden far from the busy centre of Hong Kong’s business districts, music composer Mark Lui’s new home is a lesson in living with colour. Lui’s earlier projects for Yan Gallery and Today Is Cool – exclusively unveiled in Perspective magazine – clearly demonstrated his forward-thinking approach in mixing vibrant colours. For his own residence, however, a calm, relaxed palette rules the design.

The 4,000 sq-ft standalone house in New Territories comprises four levels and is the forth time Lui has designed his own home. Once again, Lui’s design is an expression of the progressive stages of his life, from a bachelor favouring designer pieces to today’s family man who focuses on bespoke style – it is also a journal of his self-taught travels on the road of design.

“In the beginning, collecting designer pieces was fascinating. I followed trends and collected designer chairs like many others do,” says Lui. At some level, showcasing iconic design pieces is a safe method of self-expression – a demonstration of tastes borrowed from others. Now more into tailor-made pieces, he explains that this is because “the more you learn, the more you know how to express yourself”.

With a newborn baby on board, Lui’s home has to accommodate five family members. The family unit is clearly the centre stage of Lui’s life, with every detail of the design focusing on his nearest and dearest – yet without compromising his personal ‘cool’ which lies at the heart of his design style.

While Lui loves nature, he prefers to keep greenery outdoors for a very simple reason: “It may seem a little contradictory; on the one hand. I love trees and plants, but on the other hand, I don’t want insects running around inside my house.”

As a result, green makes its presence by way of colour palette as a leading hue in the common areas. Dining and living spaces are connected on the ground floor in warm, cosy tones; oak wood and browns complement the green to create a welcoming atmosphere.

With the dining area forming the focal point and heart of the home, Lui created a ‘wall of memories’, compiled of family photos. “We selected the best photos and will change these constantly as my kids grow day by day. This both creates a conversation piece and brings us good memories while we are having our meals.”

With a clean white backdrop in the living room to engage the natural palette and provide a modern aesthetic, it also provides a perfect setting for Lui’s treasured collection of artworks – Liu Kun’s painting, ‘Shall We Dance’, takes pride of place in the middle of the space. “Coincidently, the background of the painting is green, which ties in well with the surroundings,” notes Lui.

However, the composer/designer would have gone much further along with a style he has long fancied – American classic – if it had not been for the white stairways in the house. “In fact, the classic American style of the building is like those in Disneyland. What intrigued me is the stairway; it is very modern, very dissimilar to the exterior,” he says. “It’s my practice not to demolish any well-maintained fixtures for the purpose of style; so in this case, I played down the design for the stairways.”

Up the snow-white staircases are the kids’ rooms and Lui’s study, located on the first floor, while master en-suite is on the second floor. While his study no longer plays as significant a role in the home as the family common areas do, it still strongly represents Lui’s personal style. An eye-catching orange is played down with a dark brown to create a sophisticated ambience, with a pattern of squares influencing the bookshelves and carpet.

Lui strives to strike a balance between treasured family time and work. “After my kids go to bed at around 8pm each night, I begin work – whether designing my new fashion line or composing songs, I need a place that I feel comfortable and secure.”

With that in mind, Lui placed a wooden screen next to his piano in order to afford himself a degree of privacy when there are visitors in the house. “I don’t like people seeing me carried away when I am playing music; the screen it allows me to see through to what is happening outside.”

While Lui’s new home is largely dominated by his design flair, the lady of the house provided a distinctive touch in the master bedroom, a distinctive black-grey rose wallpaper injecting a clearly feminine ambience into the space. Rich texture is another feature, with velvet wallpaper and wall boards adding another design element – and Lui drew inspiration from the Tokyo Peninsula as well, suspending pendant lamps on both sides of the bed.

Aiming for a more subtle, restrained design approach overall in his new home, Lui has once again demonstrated that when it comes his personal style, it’s cool all the way.

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