This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.MORE INFO
Menu Close

‘When I design architecture I use an art approach and when I do art projects I use an architecture approach,’ says Stanley Siu, the designer behind Cumulus, Swire Properties’ Art Basel VIP Lounge for 2018. ‘It’s fun to be able to do that and to switch.’

Trained as an architect, Siu’s penchant for contemporary art — he’s been collecting Asian art for more than a decade—has been an increasing influence in his work, so much so that he’s now often seen as both artist and architect, working on art pieces and sculptures as well as architecture projects and imbuing each with the principles of the other. His work at the lounge space is a prime example, representing a departure from the previous structure-oriented designs.

Cumulus, as its name suggests, is inspired by clouds. Siu associates many of Swire’s buildings—particularly One Island East, which soars high into the sky in Taikoo, and the Frank Gehry-designed Opus, which sits at a lofty location on Stubbs Road—with clouds as they often shroud the buildings or frame them as they move in the distance behind: ‘I always see clouds as a backdrop to these buildings,’ he says. But Siu felt he could use clouds in Cumulus for another reason, too. The lounge is ‘a place where we’re all connected — all under one sky, under the clouds.’ So as Swire aims to connect space, users and the environment in its properties, the lounge will act as a place where minds meet and ideas are exchanged.

Siu’s lounge is filled with natural wood, pale colours and smooth curves. There is a constant suggestion of movement in it, achieved with the light, translucent fabric that forms the overhanging cloud-like design. ‘When we interact it’s very physical,’ he says. ‘When we talk or move we affect the environment, and the air between us, so the fabric I used to represent the clouds will move. This represents how people connect. I want things to move so not only do you hear noise and see people, but you watch the fabric move. It proves that there are interactions taking place within the lounge.’

But Siu needed to fulfil his artistic side as well. ‘I wanted to have this cloud-shaped lounge, but for me it wasn’t enough to finish the architecture part — the form and the fabrication. I wanted to inject some art.’ To achieve this, Siu merged traditional Chinese ink wash with the cloud fabric. He began by painting with watercolours on white paper and then used the ink wash before scanning this artwork onto a computer in order to fine-tune it. He then printed the image onto the light, white, translucent fabric.

Design for Siu is also a very cerebral process, and research plays an important role. He reads widely to really understand a project before putting pen to paper. ‘I know some designers have an impression or feeling and then design something, but for me I have a story to tell before I start drawing, and research really helps the way I design. So each design I do is unique, because I design particularly for that moment. ’Cumulus is no different—it’s for this moment in time. Catch his cloud before it floats away.

Swire Properties will be hosting its annual Dialogue Series at Cumulus from 28–30 March. For more information and to register, click here