Jason Caroline Design mixes clean lines with a keen sense of contemporary elegance
Architects by training, Jason Yung and Caroline Ma, the husband/wife founders of Jason Caroline Design studied in Washington, Hong Kong and at Cornell, and after meeting realised their common goals could for the foundations of a studio. Today, they concentrate on delivering sophisticated residential interior projects through their boutique Central practice.
Why did you begin devoting your time to residential interiors?
JY: If you focus on one thing, then clients really believe in you and give you more control over how the project is handled. This is the case particularly with clients who have more of a budget to work with. So we became known as residential specialists.
CM: When we first started, we were still learning a lot of things. We are now more confident with our abilities and in steering a client towards a certain design direction. We are also more open-minded than 10 years ago.
How would you describe your design style?
JY: Our residential style has changed a lot over the years. We are always trying new things in every project and we like to push the boundaries beyond a client’s comfort zone. Caroline is like the composer of a symphony and I am like the conductor. Caroline can read clients very well and intuitively know what they want, even before they know themselves.
CM: Our style is derived from the client’s needs and personality. You can say that we design interiors that are contemporary modern, but we also have projects that are quite Chinese.
Discuss one of the more unusual homes that you have designed.
JY: Well, every project has a lot of interesting stories. Hong Kong people are not homogenous at all! One of our earliest clients was a couple in their 70s. They were empty nesters and wanted a very modern home. But they also had a Chinese altar that we had to incorporate, as well as a feng shui master with very set ideas. The project ended up being a total feng shui-directed one, and it was our job to make that not so obvious. For example, there are very few corners in the home for the best chi, and we incorporated a spiral staircase. The result looks like a residence for people in their 30s. The experience taught us to never refuse any client — and it was one of our most challenging and successful projects.
What would be your dream project?
JY: I have always wanted to do a public building, such as a police station. And I really enjoyed working on an installation, Save the Wet Market, that was part of the High and Dry Exhibition in 2007. I like working on small objects for people to explore. And we would like to get more involved in cultural projects.
CM: We don’t just want to do one type or one style of project. We are not businessmen!
JY: We had a lot of opportunity to expand but it is hard for us to leave our young son at home if we need to travel for work. I guess we enjoy Hong Kong’s efficiency too much.