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Ten minutes with… Mike Stiff

Formed in 1981, London based practice Stiff + Trevillion ( has developed into one of the UK’s leading architecture firms. Director and founding partner Mike Stiff talks to LOFT about his latest project; a 10,000 square meter temporary structure that will host Art Central, Hong Kong’s inaugural satellite art fair.

What factors were taken into consideration when designing a structure so vast?

It’s the largest structure that has ever been erected in Hong Kong, so it was all very logistical. I think what’s most important is the area you decide to build in, especially in a crowded city like Hong Kong where you still want the structure to be quite central.

Have you undertaken any other projects like this before?

We’ve done fairs in London and Australia before. We actually did the first ever Sydney Contemporary Art Fair in 2013… our ambition was to have 16,000 people come through over the space of four days, but on the opening night alone 13,000 people turned up. It was insane. So there is always a huge interest in art projects.

What was the inspiration behind the design?

We wanted the design to feel quite young and contemporary, so we’ve worked closely with a graphic design team called The Plant, who have developed a vibrant colour scheme for us to play on. We’ve used materials that we can re-use and recycle, like ply wood, so it all feels quite urban and industrial. We’re hoping to make a bar out of old beer crates… it’s very sustainable.

What do you think of Hong Kong in terms of its architecture?

To me what is interesting is that the architecture works at so many levels…you can walk into a building and find yourself in a restaurant on the 10th floor. I really like that density.

What’s your favourite building in Hong Kong?

There’s so much iconic architecture to choose from. I think the Hong Kong Club designed by Harry Seidler is probably one of the best buildings in Hong Kong.

If you could undertake any architecture project anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

The thing with architecture is it would be as enjoyable to do a little beach house in Sydney as it would to do a headquarters building in New York. I think I’d choose a beautiful but simple house immersed in nature.

Art Central will take place on 14-18 March 2015 at the Central Harbourfront



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