Roland Lam has always been a fan of architecture and interior design, but the management consultant has decidedly taken his time to pursue his true passion.
Consulting for a telecommunications company by day, Roland moonlights as a designer, working on projects that include friends’ residences, the office of the company he consults for – “we moved into a new office, and I designed the whole space” – and his most personal project yet, his Golden Beach home.
“We spend a lot of time at home, with friends,” says Roland, who grew up in Canada and now resides in Hong Kong with his wife, Iris, a florist and architectural model maker. “Especially in Hong Kong, it’s nice to have your own space to invite friends over for wine and dinner. So I think it’s also very important that a home reflects your lifestyle and your personality.”
For their 1,500sqft apartment by the sea, lifestyle and personality are reflected in the works of art that adorn the walls, the figurines of iconic chairs that dot the shelving unit, and the collection of books, complete with a ladder, that occupy a full wall. “Objet d’art are very important in giving personality to a home,” notes Roland.
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It also helps to share some of the things they hold closest to heart. By the entrance, for example, a reflective surface greets both the homeowners and their visitors with lyrics from Dalida’s ‘Histoire d’un Amour’. “It’s my favourite song – the words are very nice,” he enthuses, humming the tune in demonstration. “It gives me inspiration, so I just drew it.” Part personal retreat, part friendly gathering place, and part personal galleria: this is how Roland describes his home, and what he proposes makes an ideal one, too.
The consultant-designer also likes to work here, and cites the study as his favourite spot. “I love reading by the window, overlooking the sea and faraway mountains.” Having retired from working full-time two years ago, Roland looks forward to bringing his true passion to life – and taking his past experiences in management and consultancy along for the ride. “I said, finally, I wanted to find time to do what I really like,” says Roland.
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He continues, “I think my experience in the commercial world has shown me what people want, what they can afford, and how they see value. At the end of the day, you cannot design a house you cannot build, or something that is not secure or sustainable. So I help my customers go deeper – I share with them my experiences, what’s good and not good, the pros and cons, everything. Honestly, authenticity is very important.” The business world taught him that, says Roland, inspired and energised, and ready to go.
This article originally appears in our December 2018 issue as ‘Galleria by the Sea’, available on newsstands now.
Photography: Moses Ng