Statement 060/365

1st March 2015 Critique ( Alan Yau )

“Three projects in one: is this really interior design? This question, for me, evaporates instantly when I enter this strange, visually skewed, parallel world. I seem to be drawn to beautiful shops selling clothes I will never wear! Ominous, atavistic beauty and otherworldly gothic drama are deeply embalmed within this work of art’s every thread of fabric.
Entering at street level requires a degree of courage; the presence of a heavy, imposing door signals the theatrical drama about to unfold. As the rough luxe, salvage aesthetic becomes the high- street staple we become blasé about another trend. It is immediately apparent that Hostem is something infinitely more significant and complex: a permanently crepuscular place where everything appears to be formed from retreating shadows and what William Burroughs might call the silver smoke of dreams. Dark, subtle surprise is everywhere. The exquisite and dramatic garments become the subject of an intriguing and curious study.
The Chalk Room is a descent into the reserve of bespoke tailoring. Appropriately, it is darker, more sacred and almost overwhelmingly intimate: the tailoring studio as Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory – as imagined by Jean Cocteau.
From the dark, funereal stages of the ground and lower ground floors there is a further delightful shock when ascending to the upper floors. Housing an uncompromisingly brave curation of women’s clothing, these two floors are a bracing contrast to what lies below.
Downstairs covets the dark, the shadowed and the worn.
Here, light floods biblically into a pristine, pale space. Verticality is emphasized by a dramatic gallery. The sharp score of silhouette is spilt ink on the vellum of the space. It powerfully dictates behaviour. There is a worshipful reverence in the exquisitely fragrant air.
JAMESPLUMB clearly know that shock, provocation and intrigue are powerful elements, and that they must be factored with a central core of sheer, fundamental beauty. Hostem is a case study in this alchemy.”


An extract from:
Room: Inside Contemporary Interiors
Phaidon – 2014