Founder of J. Candice Interior Architects Candice Chan on Finding Balance in Her Busy Life

Candice Chao

What is the one app you cannot live without?

I’m not a very high-tech person. Does YouTube count as an app?

What is the coolest fashion item you own?

A pearl and gold necklace my mother-in-law bought in Jerusalem.

When were you the happiest?

When I had my first child; I was the most content then.

What is your favourite restaurant for its decor?

I’d say Amber, for food and decor.

How would you describe your style in three words?

Timeless, elegant and a bit of surprise.

Japanese restaurant Kishoku is one of Chao's designs

Which artist’s work would you collect, if you could?

I actually have a painting at home, so I just want to keep adding to it. My mother-in-law gave it to us and it’s by Zhang Daqian. It’s a Chinese painting, but he uses a lot of vibrant colours like turquoise and lime green. If I had the budget, that’s what I’d collect.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Being stuck in traffic.

Where is the most inspirational place in the world for you?

Machu Picchu, because my husband made me hike three hours from the bottom of the hill to the top. When we were there, everything was so peaceful and still. It’s like travelling back in time. It was so peaceful and tranquil.

What is the best advice your father ever gave you?

Be at the right place at the right time. Always equip yourself, so whenever the opportunities come, you are prepared.

What would you say is your greatest achievement?

To be able to balance my life, work and my son, Logan. To be able to find a balance, that’s something I can celebrate. I feel like a lot of people struggle with their personal life, family and work. It’s quite tough, particularly for women in Hong Kong.

What’s the secret to a balanced life?

To be able to prioritise what you really want in life or at this moment. For me, family is  most important and everything falls into line after that.

What is your favourite hotel?

The Park Hyatt Seoul.

Chao designed the Luxury Bed Studio

Who is your legend?

My parents. My dad taught me a lot about leadership and how to run a business, and my mum taught me how to be a better person. Through the years she’s been a great inspiration.

What is a luxury to you that money cannot buy?

I think a lot of people get lost. It is a luxury to be able to have a clear direction of where you want to go, and not a lot of people have that vision. People struggle after college, or after working for 10 years they feel lost. My luxury was to be able to have that vision, have that direction. The future was always right there. I guess that’s a luxury money can’t buy. 

What’s the most challenging but also your favourite part of having your own interior design company?

Working with deadlines. All the restaurants say, “We have to open in 30 days.” So you only have three to four weeks to design. To renovate and fit out the whole space, you have another three to four weeks. You don’t have the time to think through a lot of things, but I also enjoy a lot of that pace. Every two or three months, we finish a project and we move on to another one. It’s fun.

In this Story: #culture / #art & design