Kennedy Town, Hong Kong – I make my way to Ida and Billy’s office situated in the trendy neighbourhood of Kennedy Town. The short hike up led me through a seemingly residential district to a semi-secluded area covered by leafy greens, a rare sight for Hong Kong. Standing out against the old town is a large wooden door, which is the entryway to their office – I later find out it was made from a large piece of scrap timber upcycyled and reused from their latest project. Their longstanding philosophy on living with nature and integrating it into ones daily life echoes in their modest chambers and the wooden door gives the neutral décor an edge. Upon entering we exchange greetings and they show me around their office. Their studio - humble and homely - match their personalities to a tee. After showing me around, we sit down at a nearby restaurant to talk shop.
When I first heard about Ida and Billy I was immediately intrigued by their aesthetics. In such a hyper-high flying city that is Hong Kong, their designs, influenced by their time in Switzerland at the renowned firm Herzog & De Meuron, celebrates the exact opposite. Despite this difference, the couple are highly sought after.
當我第一次聽到有關Ida和Billy的事情,我即時對他們的美學感到非常有興趣。在香港這個這麼繁忙的城市,他們的設計是受到他們在瑞士著名事務所Herzog & De Meuron的時侯所影響,在這麼明顯的對比情況下,慶幸的是,儘量有差異性,他們仍然備受追捧。
I ask them how they merge the aesthetics of Scandinavian design to Hong Kong urbanization, Ida tells me that this struggle to find the middle ground is exactly where they need to be. “We think less about the structure and focus on the space with which we are working with” she tells me, “by using what is already there – nature – we use it to support and also to become the starting point of what we are creating. The site is very central to our design, as it gives us our uniqueness”.
ida1 billy2
I find out that aesthetics is not the main point of contestation between the East and the West, but rather the lifestyle of city dwellers that are too acclimated to particular comforts and of being in control of these comforts. She states the obvious and tells me that Hong Kong people cannot live without their air conditioning but are also highly afraid of insects to the point where incorporating nature into their lives is outright abominable. Habits need to be changed; tolerance and adaptation would allow for more sustainable living conditions. For example, their time at the Herzog & De Meuron offices, the couple worked in a zero air conditioning environment, and despite how harsh the conditions seemed, their bodies adapted rather quickly.
美學並不是東方和西方最主要的爭議,而是城市居民太習慣了自己的生活方式,因此停留在自己指定的舒適區,環境完全在自己的控制之中。她指出一個很明顯的情況是香港人的生活離不開空調,同時亦很怕有蚊蟲的地方,對香港人來說,把大自然融入他們的生活是一件很惡劣的事情。她更認為習慣需要去改變,若要有更持續的生活條件,耐受性和適應性也是不可或缺的。舉個例子,他們在Herzog & De Meuron辦公室的時候,在沒有空調的工作環境下工作,雖然條件看似並不理想,但他們的身體很快就能適應得到。
Apart from their philosophy, Ida and Billy emphasize the importance of two fundamental principles in sustainable design, ‘passive sustainability’ and ‘A&A’. “Passive sustainability is how you position your structure to make use of its existing energy sources while A&A, alteration and addition, is keeping the pre-existing structure and administering augmentations to improve it”. Pulling up one of their older projects, SD Toilets, Billy talks me through their facelift process.
I point out their love of white and cheekily ask if they use any colour in their designs. They chuckle in acknowledgment and Ida points out that actually it’s not a minimalistic statement but that their choice in using white is to create breathing spaces. She gestures out the window, “Hong Kong is already awash with colours”, in a city that’s so multi-faceted and on-the-go, their inclination towards using neutral colours are for its calming and relaxing effect. “We’re here to fill a void, to add different elements into existing designs”.
有關他們喜歡的白色和他們在設計上運用到的顏色,他們笑言實際上這不是極簡主義,但他們利用白色作為選擇是為了製造呼吸的空間,她指出窗外說香港已經顏色氾濫,這城市是如此的多方面,他們傾向使用中性的顏色是因為顏色鎮靜和放鬆的效果。 他們在這裡填補空間,添加不同的元素融入在現有的設計。

23/03/2018 01:03:34 +08:00