She has over four decades of experience to her name, along with celebrity clients such as Elton John, Madonna and Victoria Beckham. Now, for the first time, British interior designer Kelly Hoppen’s flair for design will be felt in Kuala Lumpur, specifically at 8 Conlay.
The mixed-use development comprises the five-star Kempinski luxury hotel – the first from Europe’s oldest luxury hotelier to open in Malaysia – retail space and two towers of residences serviced by the Kempinski Hotels group known as YOO8.
The 8 Conlay development is the maiden project of KSK Land, which collaborated with design powerhouse YOO for the design of its two residential towers – Steve Leung & YOO for Tower A and Kelly Hoppen For YOO for Tower B.
In a press release, Hoppen, 59, shares her excitement over her KL debut.
“8 Conlay is truly a marvel. What KSK believes is in crafting personal spaces for residents to carve their personalities. And herein, my designs echo the accent on living – crafting living places that you could share with family and people around you. Just like the project’s tagline ‘Your Place. Your Story,’” says Hoppen.
She adds that she only takes on projects that excite her.
“In designing Tower B of YOO8, we have to understand the culture and how people are going to interprete the space.
“Design is all about living and it should allow people to put their own print on it when they actually live in the space.
“There’s an art to that, which I actually believe I have the ability to do and it’s something I have been doing for over four decades,” adds Hoppen, who has done various projects in Asia.
Hoppen explains that her design for Tower B “will bring together an exciting and eclectic fusion of East meets West infused with a sense of international feel in terms of the language of design”.
In designing the space, Hoppen balanced a sense of completeness with giving room and breathing space for future residents to make it their very own.
“So we take it to a certain level, enough that we know that people know that’s the experience that they want and what they can integrate into the space.
“I feel that with 42 years (of experience), I kind of know what people want now, and my interiors are all about textures and layering of textures, and that’s very important.
“It is important that whether we are designing for the first-class British Airways cabins, the beautiful restaurant in One Shenzhen Bay or a luxury hotel in Barcelona, all our projects are about allowing people to live their desired way of life,” Hoppen says.
Inherent Designer Spirit
Hoppen says that she has been obsessed with the way people lived and felt in their living spaces from a young age.
“I was very fortunate to have travelled a lot as a child and to see many countries in the world. I was surrounded by great people, different cultures and ways of thinking, exposed to various foods and music and was able to go to the theatres,” she enthuses.
Nurturing a love for buildings even then, she knew she wanted to be an interior designer from the start. And with an entrepreneurial spirit, she started her first business at the age of 16-and-a-half!
“I’ve always been around artists, and my family is very artistic, from fashion, design to art,” says the British design icon, who was born in South Africa but has lived in London since the age of two.
Hoppen, who is also an author and educator, shares her design mantra:
“A home should be where you feel joy and happiness. It should feel like your own space, reflective of the spirit, life and loves of the people who live there.
“I’m very spiritual in my own way, and I think that I’m very motivated by positivity. I’m very lucky to be able to do what I do and I love it.
“I wake up every morning and feel blessed that I’m able to do what I do and I have an incredible team of interior designers who all love what they do.
“And I think that shows in the work that we produce,” says Hoppen.
On top of her design work, Hoppen is involved in the Prince’s Trust charity (founded by Britain’s Prince Charles to help young people), mentoring work, and has also appeared on television.
Having designed the interiors of everything from yachts, top restaurants and hotels to celebrities’ houses, what else is on her wish list?
“There are two things that I want to do. I want to design more boutique hotels around the world, and I would like to design a train, because I’ve done everything else.
“I was on a Belmont train the other day for The Prince’s Trust charity and it was one of the old-fashioned trains, the Orient Express, that was beautifully done. And I thought how amazing it would be to be able to do a train – but (in) my style – that could travel somewhere to a country!”