Wave of the Future: Ajax Law and Virginia LungJune 9, 2018
Growing up in Hong Kong, a “hotel was an elegant and grand place where we would dress up for special occasions. It was very different from other places we used to go,” explains Virginia Lung, co-director of One Plus Partnership with Ajax Law. Both hale from Hong Kong, where Law was immediately drawn to the design world. “Since I was small, I was a person who couldn’t stand the boredom,” he says. “I always wanted to change the interior of my room to feel refreshed.” Being good at drawing helped, and he decided to stay local to earn his design degree, while Lung headed to the University of Oregon to study interior design before working in Singapore renovating computer rooms for local schools, where “the tasks were basic and did not involve much designing,” she says.
The pair worked at various reputable firms, but met at Steve Leung Designers, launching One Plus Partnership in 2004, where they imbue each project with their cutting-edge, bold style. It’s a “no pain, no gain,” don’t-be-boring mentality that drives the firm, Law says. “We always have to pay the most effort to get the greatest result.” Adds Lung: “We want to create designs that overthrow your original impression of space.” But it’s their partnership that she credits for their success: “We learned and grew together, improving ourselves to who we are today.”
For instance, they are the masterminds behind multiple innovative movie theaters—a staple in their portfolio—including the Wuhan Wushang Mall Cinema 9/F in China (they designed the downstairs cinema seven years prior), which adopted “the rotating motion of film reels as the design theme” by layering wood plates, some almost 10 feet in diameter, in a dramatic ceiling installation. It contrasts the lower level’s design, which explores the “high-tech and modernistic theme of pixels,” Lung explains.
Jewelry stores are next. They recently completed the Chow Tai Fook jewelry store in Hong Kong, awash in deep fuchsia and purple tones, and other concepts are in the works for the jewelry brand—the largest in Hong Kong and mainland China, with hopes to one day craft “a museum that houses design projects of all kinds,” Lung explains, a nod to their meta design philosophy. “Just the display method can already be a fun element to design.”