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5 MINS WITH… MARCUS FOLEY

With more than 15-years working towards success in the Chinese market, we meet with Group Managing Director of PDM International, Marcus Foley to find out how he has geared his business in the right direction.



BY Janice Seow

November 28th, 2013


Your top three influences:

I don’t have specific influences. I admire great design in general and love following what’s happening globally as well as take cue from the masters of old. There is so much great design it’s hard to follow any specific designers. I think if you look at a broad spectrum you are influenced by so much and it’s how to make it all work in a great interior that counts.

Summarise your design style:

As I work on very multi-disciplined projects my style varies greatly. I love to work with space and how this creates the design style. I like simple and clean lines, I love mid-century design and blending iconic design pieces – also, lighting with honest use of materials is something I do well. All projects that I work on have a unique style, which is what I try to achieve in a commission.

How did you enter the design and architecture industry:

I started as a horticulturist and worked on a golf course from inception which included housing developments. I started working on the principal architects house to build parts of the project and knew this was my passion.

Favourite building in Hong Kong:

HSBC Building designed by Norman Foster. Very pure architecture and great spaces within – the fact that it was designed to be taken down in any event is remarkable.

Biggest career accomplishment:

Moving to Shanghai in 1999 to start the PDM Shanghai office and seeing today that we are one of the top firms currently operating there. We were ahead of time and the city was moving at such a fast pace and to succeed with all the issues China had back in the day was a great accomplishment.

A material you love to work with:

Stone. I love the richness that stone can bring to a project if used in the right way. Position, placement and treatments can create great effects and lift the entire space.

Favourite decade of design:

Hard question to pin point only a decade but the  1960’s if I had to pick one. From architecture, product and interiors the work done in that decade greatly influences me in my work today. I love personally collecting original pieces from that era and to place them in interiors today is something special.

 A designer you admire:

Gio Ponti – an Italian architect from 1891 – 1979 who did architecture, industrial and furniture design as well as art and interiors. His furniture pieces are sought after today. Gio Ponti’s interior work which combined creating furniture pieces specific for the commission are surfacing at auctions and are amazing in todays context.

Your view on the architecture and design expansion in Hong Kong:

Hong Kong has always been a vibrant market for architecture and design. For architecture, it has become more commercialised and played safer these days due to high cost which is a shame as it used be the international trend setter for great architecture – now China probably holds that mantle.

Interior design is still very international, fast-paced and forward thinking due to fluctuating rentals and short lease terms. There is lots of movement which creates this fast paced style of work. Sometimes the pace is to quick which effects the design development but the industry has adapted to the climate. If you cut it in Hong Kong you can work anywhere in the world.

PDM International

www.pdmdesign.com