Since 2004 Novus Penetralis’s founder and design director Tenniel CY Tsang has been marrying function and beauty with innovation and professional efficiency to create interiors for practically every kind of space Hong Kong has. An active member of three industry bodies, Tsang talks with Square Foot about how he matches his philosophy with current trends.
Have you always worked in interiors or did you come from another industry?
I’ve been in the industry for more than 15 years. My hobbies since I was a child have been painting and drawing and I always had a strong interest in design. So I studied interior design at the [formerly] Lee Wai Lee Technical Institute and continued at Polytechnic University. Then I moved to the Rhode Island School of Design, where I got BAs in fine arts, interior architecture and architecture. I worked at several prominent firms for few years before opening my own interior design firm in 1999.
Is there a style that really inspires you?
I don’t follow a specific design style and don’t want to be limited by any type of design, especially working with various kinds of clients. Everyone has a different living style and unique opinion. And clients are the end-users and one of my philosophies is to match up their thoughts and needs with my design. So I prefer more to offer professional opinion and design concepts to accomplish win-win situations instead of imposing my own style onto their house. But I love to mix Chinese and Western aesthetics, and mix colour and minimalism comparatively. Minimal style can enhance the sense of space that’s appropriate for Hong Kong.
Which of your projects stands out for being so challenging or exciting?
Star Dental: Its curves and non-edged designs are the best way to express continuity between different areas and functions. And fortunately, I was awarded the FX International Interior Design Award and Perspective Award in 2010 for this design … in recognition of my design and effort. Some residential projects — Seaview Villa, Sai Kung House — were memorable because they needed architectural coordination. They changed the existing structural elevation to match client needs and design to upgrade the quality of living and usability.
Any interiors trends that are really sticking out to you these days?
The extremely avant-garde style of Zaha Hadid and Shin Takamatsu’s curves and glass and stainless steel — with the industrial flavour and experiments with colour and materials — will continue to be an influence. And I believe minimalism will continue to be popular. The acceptance of new things has improved, and so there are opportunities to transform existing ideas. I also think mixing and matching Chinese, Western and even Thai design will be a trend in residences. Simple designs of the past will become more innovative.
What would you like to try designing that you haven’t yet?
Luckily I’ve tried many different of projects: showflats, residences, offices, retail spaces, restaurants, kindergartens and so on. I designed project shopping arcade that’s coming soon and I hope I get an opportunity to work on a clubhouse and a hotel project.