Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
The husband-and-wife founders of Shanghai-based firm are well known for their finesse in balancing creativity with tradition – evident in projects where old structures are given a new purpose while historic features are preserved for future users. Two of such projects are The Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai and more recently, The Walled – Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat. Besides Neri&Hu, the duo are also creative directors of Stellar Works, a furniture retail brand and founders of retail store Design Republic. Under the couple, Neri&Hu has won many awards, with the Madrid Design Awards 2020 being the most recent.
“The future of design will be less about personalities or celebrities, but about real people. The objective is to find real solutions for real issues that are close to our heart. The language of design will become more accessible to more people, like how the internet has broken barriers to communication.
There will be more public spaces with better architecture as a result of more involvement from the community. Design will involve more technology and be less about form and aesthetics. Not that these will no longer be important but form for the sake of form will take a backseat.
Architecture will continue to be a powerful tool for cultural and social invention. It will not only be used to build things of commercial purpose. Architecture will find expression in more spaces for public use, and thus become more accessible to the less privileged.
We’d like to do a school or an orphanage. Education has shaped people and progress, so we are interested in how the space within a place of learning and growing supports the flow and exchange of knowledge and interaction between people.
The search for meaning and purpose in our built environment is something that deeply resonates with us. Designing a place that explores these would be a dream project. We see an orphanage as a place of restoration and redemption as well.
We can’t say more about the design now as it will depend on the programme, focus or curriculum of the school. One thing is definite: we’d look into the possibilities of increasing interaction between the students or wards. We’d be asking ourselves questions like, ‘Shall we establish a visual connection between different floors so that students can interact more easily?’”
This story first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Luxe Living/Prestige Singapore.