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July 14, 2010

In Hong Kong, we had the opportunity to check out the new Upper House hotel. Every bit of the hotel was designed by Andre Fu, the 35-year-old founder of the burgeoning Hong Kong firm AFSO— from the architecture, interior design and furniture to tiny details like the books in the rooms and the restaurant's soundtrack. Fu designed the property around the idea of an "upward journey"— both literally (it's located on the top 11 floors of a glass-and-steel high-rise) and figuratively, as a serene oasis amid one of the densest cities in the world. Here's a peek.

Since the hotel starts higher up in the hotel, the approach at street-level is understated, with just a small entry lobby tucked into a corner of the highrise footprint. Fu's inspiration for the hotel was a "modern-Oriental residence, designed with respec
Since the hotel starts higher up in the hotel, the approach at street-level is understated, with just a small entry lobby tucked into a corner of the highrise footprint. Fu's inspiration for the hotel was a "modern-Oriental residence, designed with respect to balanced geometry and symmetry." Thirteen-foot-high textured nickel doors, bracketed by reflecting pools, swing open to reveal a circular bamboo screen that Fu calls "the Lantern."; It encloses a silent, dimly lit escalator that zips guests up to the hotel lobby on level six.
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Located on the sixth floor, just off the small lobby, is a limestone stairway that steps its way up to a lush grass lawn, where guests can relax on bean bag chairs and sip cocktails amid sculpted topiary box-hedges.
Located on the sixth floor, just off the small lobby, is a limestone stairway that steps its way up to a lush grass lawn, where guests can relax on bean bag chairs and sip cocktails amid sculpted topiary box-hedges.
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Since private outdoor space is a rarity in Hong Kong, Fu considers this manicured, postage-stamp lawn one of the hotel's biggest luxuries.
Since private outdoor space is a rarity in Hong Kong, Fu considers this manicured, postage-stamp lawn one of the hotel's biggest luxuries.
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As the cherubic and charming Fu demonstrates, the spindly structure of a traditional Chinese parasol inspired several design moments throughout the hotel, including "the Lantern" at the entryway.
As the cherubic and charming Fu demonstrates, the spindly structure of a traditional Chinese parasol inspired several design moments throughout the hotel, including "the Lantern" at the entryway.
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A walkway cantilevered over a ten-story light well and atrium connects the elevators with the 49th floor restaurant, Café Grey Deluxe, which has an open kitchen and amazing views of Victoria Harbor. Above the bridge is "the Halo," a floating cei
A walkway cantilevered over a ten-story light well and atrium connects the elevators with the 49th floor restaurant, Café Grey Deluxe, which has an open kitchen and amazing views of Victoria Harbor. Above the bridge is "the Halo," a floating ceiling crafted from timber poles whose arrangement was, too, inspired by wood-and-paper umbrellas. According to Fu, this halo marks the "high point of the aspirational upward journey."
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An installation of crimped stainless steel sheets drift up the limestone walls of the elevator banks, a ten-story installation by the Japanese artist Hiroshiwata Sawada that mimics the light patterns and ripples of the water in the reflecting pools below.
An installation of crimped stainless steel sheets drift up the limestone walls of the elevator banks, a ten-story installation by the Japanese artist Hiroshiwata Sawada that mimics the light patterns and ripples of the water in the reflecting pools below. Overhead, the Halo shows how it got that name.
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A private dining room in the restaurant is all golden hues, with brushed bronze walls and silk-upholstered chairs set atop a tweedy rug. The chandelier is assembled from bronze rods that resemble bamboo stalks. On the left, a screen made of banana-shaped
A private dining room in the restaurant is all golden hues, with brushed bronze walls and silk-upholstered chairs set atop a tweedy rug. The chandelier is assembled from bronze rods that resemble bamboo stalks. On the left, a screen made of banana-shaped fins separate the room from the rest of the restaurant.
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The 117 guestrooms are minimalist and uncluttered, with oak and ash floors, custom furniture and fixtures designed by Fu, and walls lined in bamboo, limestone and lacquered paper. The long, low furnishings provide a counterbalancing sense of horizontality
The 117 guestrooms are minimalist and uncluttered, with oak and ash floors, custom furniture and fixtures designed by Fu, and walls lined in bamboo, limestone and lacquered paper. The long, low furnishings provide a counterbalancing sense of horizontality—and a visual contrast—to the vertical sea of high-rises that press in close around the building.
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The wooden parasol motif continues in the guestrooms, as evidenced in the interlocking wooden screen behind the bed. Cool in-room perks include bottomless jars of M&Ms and Mentos, organic bath amenities by REN of London, and an iPod Touch that you can use
The wooden parasol motif continues in the guestrooms, as evidenced in the interlocking wooden screen behind the bed. Cool in-room perks include bottomless jars of M&Ms and Mentos, organic bath amenities by REN of London, and an iPod Touch that you can use for everything from ordering room service to navigating the city streets.
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Fu uses bamboo, a traditional Asian material, in creative ways throughout the hotel. Here, a detail of a closet door, clad in a complex radial pattern.
Fu uses bamboo, a traditional Asian material, in creative ways throughout the hotel. Here, a detail of a closet door, clad in a complex radial pattern.
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Outside each guestroom, an identifying number glows through a paper-thin sheet of bamboo veneer.
Outside each guestroom, an identifying number glows through a paper-thin sheet of bamboo veneer.
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Sliding pocket doors disappear into the bathroom wall, revealing a soaring view of the harbor from the capacious soaking tub. A wood-grain sandstone sculpture by Taiwanese sculptor Marvin Minto Fang anchors the space and draws the eye forward and out.
Sliding pocket doors disappear into the bathroom wall, revealing a soaring view of the harbor from the capacious soaking tub. A wood-grain sandstone sculpture by Taiwanese sculptor Marvin Minto Fang anchors the space and draws the eye forward and out.
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Since the hotel doesn't have a typical lobby, a public 'living room' on the 49th floor serves as a communal gathering place—and, with views of the lush hills nearby, a reminder that notoriously dense and skyscrapered Hong Kong has many faces.
Since the hotel doesn't have a typical lobby, a public 'living room' on the 49th floor serves as a communal gathering place—and, with views of the lush hills nearby, a reminder that notoriously dense and skyscrapered Hong Kong has many faces.
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Since the hotel starts higher up in the hotel, the approach at street-level is understated, with just a small entry lobby tucked into a corner of the highrise footprint. Fu's inspiration for the hotel was a "modern-Oriental residence, designed with respec
Since the hotel starts higher up in the hotel, the approach at street-level is understated, with just a small entry lobby tucked into a corner of the highrise footprint. Fu's inspiration for the hotel was a "modern-Oriental residence, designed with respect to balanced geometry and symmetry." Thirteen-foot-high textured nickel doors, bracketed by reflecting pools, swing open to reveal a circular bamboo screen that Fu calls "the Lantern."; It encloses a silent, dimly lit escalator that zips guests up to the hotel lobby on level six.

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