Interior Design Trends with Ed Ng, Co-Founder & Principal of AB CONCEPT
Where there is challenge, there is opportunity. One of the key takeaways from 2020 & 2021 is that our home is so much more than just somewhere we rest our heads; it is inextricably linked to our personal wellbeing. The extended time spent at home since then made us realise that certain aspects of our living space are no longer adequate for our needs and thus require rectifications.
Whether you have already risen to the challenge and are planning modifications around your home, or you are still contemplating a move and need guidance on how to make the most of your space, heed Ed Ng’s advice. Ed is a co-founder of AB Concept (Instagram: @ab_concept), an international interior design and architecture studio with offices in Hong Kong, Karuizawa, Taipei and Milan, and a roster of clients in 16 countries and over 30 cities. The studio regularly collaborates with internationally-renowned brands including Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Carlton, Rosewood and W Hotels. He shared with Habitat his insights in home interior design and his predictions for the year ahead.
Home Interior Design Evolution
How has home interior design evolved in the past few years?
Some years ago, many people wanted their residence to look like a hotel; now we want to design a hotel that feels like a home. I think this paradigm shift already explained that most people are living in a much better designed space than before. They understand that home is a haven, a representation of your personality rather than a slogan (“a 5-star hotel-like home”). In terms of design, it can be as eclectic and daring as you can imagine, as long as you feel comfortable.
What are the key concepts and trends that will continue to influence us? Anything new that you foresee will emerge?
Transforming a home into a multifunctional setting through design has been an ongoing trend that evolved gradually over the past decade, especially with the growing popularity of mobile devices and enhanced digital connecting ability. 2020 & 2021 just gave this trend a final thrust and made it officially essential for everyone to have a multifunctional space at home. You see all design elements, from furniture, lighting to layout, all evolving around this fundamental functional change.
What are homeowners, both in Hong Kong and overseas, increasingly interested in or looking for?
People are more environmentally conscious these days and they like to incorporate their lifestyle into their space with minimum alteration. Smart, practically and thoughtfully designed bathrooms and kitchens are always on top of the checklists. I’ve noticed that a luxury bathroom with a killer view is a highly sought-after feature, especially in premium properties.
Despite the trends, what are the tried and true principles in interior design that we should uphold?
Given the explosion of interior design related visuals and information these days, I believe trend-following no longer exists these days. In fact, the moment you see that there is an ongoing trend is exactly when that trend is at its end already. Function, quality and personality of space will uphold.
Work with Interior Designers
What are some trends that you can't wait to say goodbye to?
I am allergic to ceilings with cove lights at home.
What is your advice for people who want to work with interior designers for their home for the first time?
It depends on your objective – if you want a designer who can design a home that fits your personality, then choose one whose work resonates with you. Don't just go for a designer because of his/her big name. On the contrary, if you want your home to be a showpiece, then I would suggest that after you have briefed the designer with all the factual requirements such as functions, habits and budgets, all you have to do is sit back, relax and let them do their job to create the trophy for you. That is probably the main difference between going to a tailor’s workshop and a famous fashion house for couture.
Multiple Properties in Various Cities
Do you have any advice for owners about upkeeping multiple properties in various cities?
It is essential to sort out all the housekeeping and maintenance logistics before you would even consider purchasing multiple properties in various cities.
I would ensure there is a sizable closet space for myself. Not just to store the clothing I need for that city, but it should be big enough to function as a “pitstop” for my back-to-back journeys, as you can never predict what the next stop would need – garments for Winter or Summer, whether formal or casual. Also, I always have a more generous fridge to house my amenities or anything that cannot withstand extreme temperatures, like my home in Milan. The indoor temperature could range from just above the freezing point during Winter to 40ºC plus in Summer.
Any future developments in the interior design world that you are incredibly excited about?
I think people nowadays start to realise that trends no longer exist, or that the life span of a so-called trend is becoming too short for it to be noticed. We are living in the most eclectic era where there is greater accessibility of diverse design elements and acceptance of style at the same time. It is a time when some people might find themselves lost for directions, because they have no trends to follow and might worry about making silly mistakes in design. But on the other hand, we are in an age of enlightenment where we can all follow our heart to create, based on the core value of design – function.