Enter the world of feng shui – a practice of arranging elements in a space to promote the maximum possible flow of positive energy, otherwise known as Qi, to improve a person’s well-being and create a harmonious environment.
Some may look upon this ancient Chinese art as a superstition but it plays a huge part in Chinese culture, with the entire Hong Kong skyline built with feng shui principles in mind, and most residential and office spaces in the city laid out in consultation with professional feng shui experts.
We speak with feng shui consultant Thierry Chow, who has carved out a successful business for herself incorporating art, fashion and design into feng shui, modernizing this ancient Chinese practice for the millennial generation.
Nana Asia: What led to your inspiration behind infusing feng shui into office & home decor placements as well as fashion?
Thierry Chow: I grew up surrounded in the practice of feng shui because of my father, and I focused a lot on arts and design until I was in uni. When I got back to Hong Kong after some years in Canada, I worked a few jobs that really didn’t do it for me. So, one day I decided to start learning from my father; I guess I needed a challenge, and this took me out of my comfort zone. What really stood out to me is the relevance of feng shui and design; the connections between ourselves and our environments to interior design, fashion and art is undeniable. After learning that, I swore to bring all of them together.
Nana Asia: You apprenticed under your father, Chow Hon Ming, one of Hong Kong’s most revered feng shui masters.What are some of his feng shui principles that you’ve held onto or adapted in your modern makeover?
Thierry Chow: Definitely the importance of balance through integrating the five elements into our environment, as well as the orientation of building, layouts and furniture. It’s important to understand the meaning and effects of everything in our surroundings, including an awareness of how they affect us mentally and spiritually (e.g. shapes, texture, colours , numbers, directions, positioning etc). I’ve taken these elements and principles into consideration in my modern make over, such as designing feng shui home décor inspired by traditional feng shui homewares, or using these principles in contemporary interior design.
Nana Asia: For clients who enlist Go Lucky consultations with you, what helps you narrow down a style that best fits them?
Thierry Chow: I like to get to know my clients through meeting them in person to get a sense of who they are; their personalities, habits, lifestyle and even their outfits can tell me a lot about them. And knowing these things can help me narrow down a style. I also work with interior designers who are a big help with finding the right style.
Nana Asia: Any lucky feng shui tips on how to place furniture to enhance qi?
Thierry Chow: Watch for qi blockage! These are things we commonly encounter in households and offices:
- clutter at front entrance, hallway, paths
- furniture that you keep banging your foot into
- room with poor air circulation
The best way to go about this is to imagine a river going through your home or office. Position furniture to allow for a smooth flow to all areas, keeping qi moving freely through and letting it flow.
Nana Asia: What’s a common misconception about feng shui?
Thierry Chow: Common misconceptions include that feng shui is magic, superstition, it has nothing to do with common understanding of our surroundings and that it is something separate on its own.
Nana Asia: You are also admired for incorporating contemporary style in your home & office decor placements. With your expertise, how do you make this possible?
Thierry Chow: I had to understand the history, culture and origin of the practice first. I asked many questions about how the home and office décor work traditionally, and with this understanding, I’m able to bring it to the contemporary level. For example, in our practice, we focus a lot on the five elements, so we look for modern, stylish décors, colours and textures made from them.
- Metal: copper, gold statues
- Water: fountains, fish tanks
- Wood: plants
- Fire: lamps, lighting
- Earth: crystals, stones
Another aspect is understanding the power of positive message, so feng shui also focuses largely on the positive message of each object. While these are ancient ideas, they are all still relevant to this day with interior design and home décor.
Nana Asia: Can you share a recent exciting project in which you aligned a client’s feng shui in the right direction?
Thierry Chow: The past year in Hong Kong has been dominated by heightened emotions so everyone is looking to focus on restoring that positivity – be it at home or with personal wellbeing. Recently, I went to a client’s office space, where collectively the staff felt the energy of the office space had been quite negative, with each expressing similar reasons to why the space felt very heavy. After they took my suggestions, they all felt an uplifting boost to their space, with everyone being more at ease and more productive. Here were a couple of my suggestions:
- Declutter and purge the space: Our space can reflect our past, present and future! This action helps not only to clean out the space, but also negative thoughts in our mind, and opens up room for new opportunities.
- Add life into the space: I’m sure you’ve been to a space that’s just felt lifeless and cold. The best way to add life to a space is to bring in the five elements such as incorporating the vital essence of nature – by adding some plants and warm lighting (using colours such as yellow, pink , orange) to help add a sense of life energy into the space.
- Fix the little problems: I always encourage people to focus on the little things because after all your home reflects your wellbeing, your life, your habits and even your emotions. For example, fix all the small things (e.g. a leaky pipe, a leaky wall, wall paint peeling off, light bulbs not working, etc.) that you’ve been holding off on fixing. They could reflect some blockages within the space and the people occupying it.
- Feng Shui directional placement method: I suggested utilising the areas that have good energy. According to the yearly placement method, the best area in 2020 is north west and west corners, therefore spending more time working here will bring about greater benefits.
Nana Asia: How does fashion play a role in feng shui & home décor placements?
Thierry Chow: There’s a method called birth chart reading; in Chinese it’s called ‘bazi’, which translates to eight characters. These characters are five elemental symbols pulled from the Chinese calendar. And so, with each person we have a unique combination of ‘bazi’. It heavily focuses on the balance of five elements shown in each person’s birth chart, so therefore we can bring awareness to what we wear, as we aren’t separate from our environment. How we choose our clothing can largely influence our mood and energy, as well as the energy of our space.
Thierry Chow: Is it possible for you to help me get rid of a love rival?
Thierry Chow: Is it possible for you to help me get rid of a love rival?
Nana Asia: You’ve launched your very own brand, Go Lucky by Thierry Chow! Any recommended decorative home or jewellery pieces you’d like to share with your readers to end 2020 with better luck?
Thierry Chow: Yes! I launched a homeware décor line with three objects: golden ox, wooden dovetail and marble dog. They each can help bring in good energy for different areas:
- Golden ox: health and career
- Wooden dovetail: relationship and creativity
- Marble Dog: friendship and protection