written by:
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.
1 / 13
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.
2 / 13
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.
3 / 13
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.
4 / 13
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."
5 / 13
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.
6 / 13
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.
7 / 13
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.
8 / 13
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.
9 / 13
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.
10 / 13
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.
11 / 13
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.
12 / 13
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.
13 / 13
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.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016
modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses taste products
Ambience is a key ingredient to any meal—materials, textures, and mood all impart a certain flavor.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016