Elliott Hambrook says Chinese have started appreciating simplicity a bit more and functional ideas relating to how they live, rather than loading everything down with gaudy details. Photos provided to China Daily
Simplicity, naturalness and functionality are the hallmarks of interior architect Elliott Hambrook's blueprints, writes Matt Hodges.
Elliott Hambrook has spent much of the past decade designing the interiors of hotels, residential estates and private villas in Shanghai, making him witness to the changing tastes of China's famously exhibitionist nouveau riche.
"I think people have started appreciating simplicity a bit more and functional ideas relating to how they live, rather than loading everything down with gaudy details," says Hambrook, who hails from Ascot - an uppercrust village just west of London that serves as the home of England's most famous racecourse.
"A few years ago they wanted to see all the money they had spent everywhere - classical moldings, gold trim, opulence - otherwise they felt they were not getting their money's worth. Now there is also better craftsmanship."
Cultural differences have narrowed, he said, but some are entrenched.
"We like to see bright and open interiors that increase the sense of space and encourage a sense of congregation, such as an open-plan kitchen," he said.
"But our Chinese clients would always ask for a fully enclosed kitchen, because of all the smoke and spices involved in Chinese cooking, and as many rooms as possible, based on the idea that the more rooms you have, the richer you are.
"However our biggest challenge is taking all these new and brutally built concrete apartments, which are lacking in any kind of furnishing, plumbing or electricity, and making them look different from the state we receive them in."