The stylish interior designer shares her proudest achievements and inspiration

Candice Chan-Chao knows a thing or two about beauty, and not just because she’s a regular on the social circuit who’s used to being in front of a camera. As the interior designer behind her eponymous firm J. Candice Interior Architects, Chan applied her style and taste to beautifying projects such as The Grand Cinema, Kishoku restaurant, Lady M and more.

As part of a series of interviews brought to you in collaboration with La Mer, we talk to ladies who represent Women of Excellence—and Chan’s dedication to craftsmanship dovetails perfectly with that of La Mer’s, in particular in the creation of its premium Genaissance de la Mer line, which is powered by its life-infusing anti-ageing Crystal Miracle Broth.

Here, we investigate the dedication inherent in creations both timeless and beguiling, whether it is the concept for a stunning interior or the secret recipe for a complexion-changing miracle product.

What is your philosophy as an interior designer?

When designing a space, I tend to pursue something timeless and elegant with a hint of surprise. Being classic and elegant is predictable, but it’s the fine balance of adding something unexpected, that creates a memorable experience and ambience.

What is your personal definition of the term craftsmanship?

For me, craftsmanship is the time and sweat that goes into perfecting a particular item or project—something that has taken effort and alterations to make it what it is. It is a term that goes beyond quality and practicality, but includes wisdom, patience and persistence. It’s something that is becoming quite rare in today’s world of speed and efficiency.

What are some of your favourite buildings/designed spaces around the world, and why?

The Zeitz MOCAA, the Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town designed by Thomas Heatherwick is one of my favourite buildings at the moment. The harmonious blend of the old and new is impeccable and surreal. Then, understanding the complexity of the project and the countless hours it must have taken to make it a reality makes it even more amazing.

Which architectural project that you've completed makes you most proud, and why?

It is very difficult to say which one I am the proudest of, because every project that our team completes takes so much time and consideration, that naturally, by completion, we are already proud of it. However, as a designer, I feel that my team and I are constantly growing and improving with every project we complete; so naturally, our latest completion would at this time, be my proudest accomplishment.

This summer we finally completed the three floors of the public betting halls at the Happy Valley Racecourse for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The whole project took about three years because of the size and schedule of the racing seasons and I believe it will bring a fresh and timeless experience to the community for years to come.

What do you see as the similarities between Genaissance de la Mer—a product forged of art as well as science—and what you do in your everyday career?

Many people only see the end product—a beautiful interior—but behind the glamorous facade of sketches and selecting fabrics and finishes is the majority of our daily and extremely time-consuming work. Research, site analysis, technical detailing and calculations, and months and sometimes years of coordination.

Likewise, behind the beautiful package of Genaissance de la Mer lies countless hours of scientific research and the careful and time-consuming cultivation of Crystal Miracle Broth that makes it what it is—a beautiful and sensational experience enhancing our own beauty.

I love how smooth and silky Genaissance de la Mer is, and how youthful it makes my skin feel.

Genaissance de la Mer is a product that hopes to give timeless beauty to women. What do you consider to be elements of timeless beauty?

Elegance, inner strength, balance and wisdom.

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Photography: Moses Ng | Styling: Spencer Leung | Stylist's assistant: Sam Fung | Hair & Makeup: Iris Li and Vincy Lee

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