Natasha Usher has been quietly shaping the city for years. Even those who have not heard of the designer will have certainly seen her work around Hong Kong in the numerous hotel and restaurant interiors she has designed.
The Hong Kong-born interior architecture graduate has designed for many prominent companies in the region, including the Sino and Swire groups and New World Development, and she also led the interior design department at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts before founding her own design consultancy, Natasha Usher Design Enterprise (Nude), in 2001.
Creativity is a lifelong pursuit for Usher, who says she loved drawing and making things as a child. While studying psychology, she spent her summers interning at advertising companies. “I loved the creative process of advertising and although I enjoyed studying psychology, I couldn’t imagine a career dealing with people’s troubled emotions,” she says.
At the start of her career in Hong Kong, she was the only female designer at a firm that designed karaoke clubs, hotels and institutional and municipal projects in mainland China. She enjoyed the work but it did not allow her the artistic freedom she now enjoys. “Back then, we had to follow a standard of what the company expected from us, so there was no independent creative outlet,” she says.
Over the years, she has won many design awards, including the American Architecture Award and International Design Award for her work creating clever interiors for all kinds of industries, from hospitality to homes to schools. Hers is the name behind hip Hong Kong hangouts Posto Pubblico on Elgin Street, The Pawn in Wan Chai and Solas on Wyndham Street.
As a designer, you’re only as good as your last project. It all boils down to trust. Thankfully, experience can get you through most obstacles— Natasha Usher