Joyce Wang had a nomadic upbringing. Born to Shanghainese parents in Honolulu, she was raised in Hong Kong, sent to boarding school in the UK and attended university in Boston, London and the Dutch city of Delft. On holidays she would accompany her father on trips to Switzerland, Thailand and India—not to the well-trodden centres, but to obscure, industrial towns where he had business with manufacturers.
“I would tag along and we would stay in really strange places but it was a kind of deep-dive into different cultures and communities, which was always really exciting,” she says. From time to time a factory owner would invite the two of them home for a meal. On these occasions Joyce would relish the opportunity to observe the finer details of domestic life in a foreign context; the way the table was set, the rituals of dinner, the atmosphere of their home. Every nuance fascinated her.
See also: Behind The Scenes With Joyce Wang
A design journey
This cosmopolitan upbringing had a lasting impact, imbuing Joyce with a thirst for adventure and colouring her approach to interior design. If there’s one recurring theme in her work, it’s that she loves taking people on journeys, whether into the past, the future or alternative realities. Mott 32, the restaurant project that launched her career, invites diners into Hong Kong’s hidden past, while Spiga in LHT Tower transports guests to 1950s Italy.
Contemporary wall mouldings and abstracted garden motifs in the suites at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, spell Joyce’s modern take on the traditional English home. At the E by Equinox St James health club in Mayfair, bold black slate and polished metals transform the historic structure into something out of a science fiction film.
See also: Art Insider: Mimi Chun