For creating the Hong Kong headquarters of Forms high-jewelry, In Situ & Partners did what it typically does — carefully tailor the design to reflect the brand’s aesthetic, philosophy and requirements.
“Before moving into these offices, the sales, production and design departments of Forms were in three different locations. The main idea was to move them to one well-connected space where the people working in these three entities could interact,” said Yacine Bensalem, founder and principle of In Situ & Partners, the architectural and interior design firm based in Hong Kong.
According to Bensalem, for the design of the 4,000-square-foot space, located in the Diamond Exchange building on Ice House Street in the heart of Hong Kong’s Central neighborhood, his team took inspiration from Forms’ “innovative use of precious raw materials in its collections.”
“We discovered Yacine Bensalem and In Situ & Partners when we were searching for someone to help us with the design of the headquarters in Hong Kong, a complex project where the atelier, design studio and showroom could coexist independently within one space, and with individual areas to encourage a creative work environment,” said Tzvika Janover, the creative director of Forms, which designs one-of-a-kind pieces in rare natural gemstones including emeralds, rubies and colored diamonds, and metals such as titanium.
“In Situ & Partners’ work and versatile use of colors, metals, lighting and exploration of materials correlated with Forms’ design philosophy, an expression of our vision in terms of interior design. After designing the new headquarters in Hong Kong, we felt an understanding and deep creative connection, and we were confident that In Situ & Partners could create a booth as a microcosm of our design studio in Hong Kong, at the recent TEFAF Maastricht Art Fair.”
Last May, In Situ completed the House of Jewels inside the T Galleria By DFS at the Shoppes at the Four Seasons in Macau, and is currently creating the watches and wines & spirits departments at the T Galleria.
In the following Q&A email exchange, Bensalem discusses his firm and its projects, including most recently, the Form headquarters launched two years ago. Like T Galleria, Forms is also a work in progress, with a window project expected to be completed by In Situ later this year.
WWD: What was the challenge in designing the Forms space in Hong Kong?
Yacine Bensalem: To satisfy the needs of three different but complementary departments and create a fluid environment where they are connected but can work independently. The headquarters also features two entrances, one accessing the office area and workshop through a lift lobby and the other at street level directly servicing both guest area and workshop. Another challenge was to design a highly secure space without sacrificing the aesthetic. Particularly, to build the walk-in safe at the center of the space, we had to reinforce the building’s structure and have it partially suspended to divide its weight.
WWD: What are some of the key features, materials, architectural and decorative features of the Forms headquarters?
Y.B.: Each of the departments has different design codes. The clients’ area has a central lounge in warm tones that connects to five open semi-circular offices enclosed in curved white oak walls. The interior walls are lacquered in glossy gem-inspired emerald green and ruby red hues, with the jewelry collections displayed on high leather desks with overhead high jewelry lights. The design department features an open space with a decorative brass wall giving access to the stock room and private offices with sliding glass doors with encased fine metal mesh. In the workshop, we repurposed vintage wood jewelry desks and exposed large ventilation tubes to give an industrial look. Another highlight is the pitch-black metal facade with a curved surface that gives an idea of a modern fortress.
WWD: What is the jewelry department at the T Galleria in Macau like?
Y.B.: The new House of Jewels at the T Galleria by DFS in the arcades at the Four Seasons in Macau was just unveiled. It’s a semi-open and modular luxury space of 2,500 square feet hosting nine international jewelry brands — Damiani, Dinh Van, Fred, Garrard, Ginette NY, Persée Paris, RedLine, Stephen Webster and Vanrycke, alongside the experience bar and a VIP room. For the feminine and lavish interiors, we used polished materials such as dust pink marble floors and polished brash displays, softened by fabric-padded walls and modern alabaster lamps. Close to the main octagonal room is a triangle-shaped private area featuring circular glass VIP lounges with wood-paneled walls that can be left open or closed for privacy.
WWD: What is In Situ best known for?
Y.B.: We are a global architectural and interior design firm based in Hong Kong specializing in luxury interiors for hospitality and commercial spaces in the Asia Pacific, and high-profile residences internationally.
WWD: What are some other recent projects by In Situ?
Y.B.: Other highlights include the Clarence restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Olivier Elzer and the Hong Kong Bankers Club. We are also currently completing the prestigious and historic Hong Kong Club, the first in the city, founded 1846.
WWD: Any fashion or retail projects that can be cited?
Y.B.: In addition to the T Galleria by DFS, we recently created the worldwide boutique design concept for the new Atelier Cologne which is a L’Oréal luxury brand.
WWD: What’s distinctive about In Situ & Partners compared to other design firms?
Y.B.: The firm has a multicultural team dedicated to delivering unique projects through a tailored approach reflecting the client’s needs and aspirations. We listen and try to understand who the client is and what his needs are. We contribute with ideas and design aesthetics within a collaborative approach and absolute respect from our clients’ history and values.