What's In My Portfolio: Matthew Shang

Interview by Marc Almagro
Photo and videography by Chino Sardea
Art direction by VC Chong
21 Nov 2018

Mr. Matthew Shang is a principal at multidisciplinary international design practice, Hassell

The two defining projects in my portfolio to date are Malmaison by The Hour Glass and Manhattan Bar at Regent Hotel. At Malmaison, we developed a narrative that was a very much a departure from the style we had previously. We explored the idea of storytelling and historical styles, and of bringing them together in a very theatrical way to present a product.

With the Manhattan Bar, we enhanced this style of development even more with an in-depth way of looking into the history of the craft and its historical precedents, and of trying to bring that richness into the crafted interior. We defined and extended the working methodology in terms of our process; we worked closely with the owners and ‘co-authored’ the product that way. We believe that's the best way to get a rich environment.

Our favorite project to date has been Proof Flat. In this project, everyone brought something – a physical artifact from our travels – that helped in the storytelling. Again, it’s a co-authorship of space that resulted into a rich environment that evolves and matures, and continues to be enjoyed by everyone.

Our vision is one of co-authorship and of creating something together with the client, and taking pieces of their inspiration and brief to create something interesting, enriched and surprising.

It is crucial that each of our projects has its own unique and inspired narrative, a point of view or story that takes a customer on a journey.

To get those moments of inspiration you do need time to pause and absorb. It is absolutely crucial because that's where you get those sparks of originality and newness.