Meet the Minds – ARTTADecember 8, 2017
Arthur Tang, director of ARTTA in Hong Kong, draws from his experiences both at home and abroad in Australia for concepts that fuse Eastern and Western sensibilities—creating a signature style in projects ranging from movie theaters to restaurants. Here, Tang discusses why he loves a good challenge, launching a studio in his hometown, and his passion for food.
What are some of your first memories of design?
I used to be a software designer up until I finished secondary school. I got the chance to help my friend design a restaurant, and then I was inspired to follow the path to study interior architecture in university.
Give us a bit of your background: college, first jobs, early lessons learned?
I was brought up in Hong Kong—a very compact place in this world but also a very exciting place that holds all the latest trends from all over the world. I went to Sydney from high school up until university. I graduated from the University of New South Wales with a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture. From living in these two different places, it allowed me to grasp an understanding of the cultural differences, thus leading me to bring the best of both Asia and Western design elements into my portfolio.
Why and how did you start your own firm?
After finishing my interior architecture degree in Australia, I had an opportunity to help design a boutique hotel with a friend in Hong Kong. I really enjoyed that, and then I started up my own company—ARTTA Concept Studio.
Is there a challenging project that you are especially proud of?
An industrial building conversion hotel project because there were many regulations and architectural manners that needed to be fulfilled. We came across a lot of challenges but pulled through it and created a seamless design.
What are you looking forward to at your office?
I am looking forward to more challenging projects, growing our company with new designers joining us, and working with clients all over the world.
What do you find are the most challenging and exciting aspects of your job?
Challenging and exciting are equally the same. To be able to turn the impossible into something interesting, like solving puzzles. Hong Kong is a compact place. It has always been a challenge to bring in new elements into such compact spaces.
What is the most important thing to remember when designing a restaurant—both in terms of branding and interiors?
When designing a restaurant, you have to keep in mind that the chef and designers have the same mindset, to create a seamless environment with an exquisite food experience. We design the space and the chef designs the food. The spatial environment, atmosphere, and lighting are synchronized with the food. So ultimately, what makes a restaurant different from other projects is you need both of these things to work seamlessly together to give the customers a unique experience.
What would be your dream project and why?
A theme park for kids and adults because it’s like a microscopic world—a place with a mixture of emotions, a variety of restaurants and food stalls, a place with small retail shops that sell souvenirs. It literally has everything! It’ll be like creating a new world and that fascinates me.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Where would you eat and what would you be having?
At his best restaurant, so that he can explain the whole dining experience and the reasons behind every dish that he creates.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A chef. I enjoy food, cooking, and plating dishes