At the opulent Opus

Updated: 2012-05-30 11:05

By Wang Ru (China Daily)

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At the opulent Opus
At the opulent Opus

Glenn Pushelberg (left) and George Yabu, interior designers of the Opus Hong Kong's show apartment (Top). Photos Provided to China Daily

Hong Kong boasts of its very own Frank Gehry creation, with the recently unveiled Opus Hong Kong. Wang Ru takes a look at why people would pay huge sums to rent space in the landmark.

Property watchers have had their first glimpse of Opus Hong Kong, the first residential project in Asia by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, which unveiled its show apartment to the public recently. "I thought the building in such a beautiful spot should have an organic feel to it," says Gehry, who is also one of four finalists who competed to design the new National Art Museum of China. Thus, he has incorporated finely tuned glass-enclosed columns to form the structure, twisting up around the building like reeds swaying in the breeze. "It gives a delicacy to the facade," Gehry adds.

"In Opus Hong Kong, Frank Gehry has created one of the most significant new works of domestic architecture in Asia," says Martin Cubbon, chief executive of Swire Properties.

The show apartment was designed by Yabu Pushelberg, the design studio co-founded by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg. The company won the Platinum Circle Award for their exceptional achievement in the hospitality industry, and the James Beard Foundation Award for excellence in restaurant design.

"Gehry's breathtaking design and the building's exceptional location demanded the very best in interiors. We are therefore delighted to collaborate with renowned North American design firm Yabu Pushelberg, whose award-winning work has attracted wide praise in the design world," adds Cubbon.

The exclusive project, which has only 12 luxury residential units, was completed in March.

Opus sits on 53 Stubbs Road and is developed by Swire Properties, a major player in the Hong Kong real estate market, known for its high-end residential, retail and commercial properties.

Perched on the sublime hillside of The Peak, Opus draws its inspiration from the breathtaking scenery surrounding the site.

There are two double-level garden apartments with private swimming pools on the lower levels, and one apartment on each of the succeeding 10 floors, with access to rooftop swimming pools. The size of each unit ranges from 560 to 640 square meters, palatial by Hong Kong standards.

Another of Opus' unique selling points is, the units are only for rent and not for sale, unless Swire receives an exceptional offer.

Potential tenants will pay the price for the lifestyle. Each apartment has a distinct floor plan and its own spectacular view of the city and surrounding hills. The units are tastefully furnished with balconies in the form of boat decks that are carefully oriented to make the most of the scenic panorama.

Views of the building from the city are equally striking, as the tower's distinctive silhouette stands out against the lush green landscape of The Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong.

The building's helical external structure also reduces the need for load-bearing walls, which allows the open-plan apartments to flow around a central core and the sinuous facade of the building to be composed almost entirely of glass. As a result the interiors are bright and airy with minimal interruptions of the view of the surroundings.

"This building represents such an exceptional union of nature and modern design that we wanted to continue that sense of balance into our interior," Glenn Pushelberg says.

"Our approach combines natural materials and bespoke modern furnishings in an organic scheme that flows through the apartment and makes the most of the light-filled space. Residents of an exceptional building such as this are looking for an interior that is unique and yet recognizes and responds to its context. We are confident we have achieved that balance at Opus."

Yabu and Pushelberg's portfolio boasts of private residential projects in New York, Toronto and Hollywood, hotels like W Hotel in Times Square in New York and St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco and retails like Louis Vuitton Hong Kong and Lane Crawford in Beijing.

"This is a very high-end luxury and special project for us. It is Frank Gehry's only one in Asia, so the interior design is custom-designed and handmade," George Yabu says.

"We designed and traveled around the world in a year to select materials for almost every piece of furniture and art panels. Everything in this flat is unique," Pushelberg says.

Coming up using the elevator, the block enjoys different views at every angle. From one side are the high rises and harbor of Hong Kong Island, and from another side, a peaceful and green mountain landscape.

The postmodern-style hallway and traditional screens divide the apartment into different spaces with surprises at every corner.

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