For anyone who has followed Hong Kong-born architect and designer André Fu’s career, Louise may be a little bit of a surprise, at least aesthetically. This new restaurant is part of the Hong-Kong-based JIA Group, which operates many high end restaurants including Duddell’s, which counts an outpost in London. Louise is a serious destination restaurant with Asia’s Best Chef, Julien Royer (formerly of Odette’s)‚ serving up French cuisine.
For this two-storey Grade II-listed heritage property, André Fu and his studio AFSO – best known in the UK for their interiors at The Berkeley Hotel – decided to tell a vivid story of a fanciful French expatriate called Louise. So forget Fu’s signature layering of neutrals and natural timbers, this restaurant follows the flamboyant, colourful style of Louise’s colonial house in the midst of Hong Kong.
Fu’s transformation captures the splendour and passion of this fictional character and hostess, through nostalgic design touches such as metal screens, velvet drapes, antique lighting and authentic rattan furniture.
With two different menus on offer, each floor has been granted its own distinct personality. On the ground floor the ‘Parlour’ has exotic, exuberant feel with rich green accents and an abundance of greenery. The adjoining cosier ‘Drawing Room’, available for private dining and events, is alive with tropical scenes on the walls and carpet.
A vibrantly carpeted stairway, lined with botanical wallpaper and featuring an artwork by Markus Lüpertz, leads up to the ‘Dining Room’. Here Louise’s well-travelled persona is channelled into the art on display which includes 1950s and 60s, plus pieces by Chinese painters Luis Chan, Zhang Daqian, Guan Liang and XU Beihong.
This lighter, more refreshing space is lined by large French windows, which look onto a lush, plant-filled terrace and garden. Custom-designed wooden parquet flooring, decorative molded ceilings, and rattan lend a vintage feel, while mango velvet yellow sofas, dusty pink curtains add warmth. It may be a departure in style for Fu but Louise proves that change can be a wonderful thing.
Louise, 35 Aberdeen St, Central, Hong Kong. afso.net