When Asia meets Europe… a lifestyle love story.

 

When Asia meets Europe… a lifestyle love story.

The ongoing love relationship between Asia and Europe isn’t new. In London especially, hub of multiculturalism and innovation, the integration of Asian culture slowly became omnipresent, in so many different areas and on so many levels.

The introduction of traditional Asian luxury however wasn’t quite on the agenda until more recently. A group of entrepreneurs in London is slowly starting to challenge this, and offer a range of luxury services and goods strongly inspired by Oriental grandeur.

Mr. Alan Yau is one of them, and represents a very inspirational figure in the world of hospitality, business and entrepreneurship. Mr. Yau started in 1992, with the launch of the first Wagamama restaurant in Bloomsbury. With this, he introduced hungry Londoners to healthy Asian food in a minimalist canteen-like atmosphere. From then followed a series of successes and projects suffused with his creative flair – from high end Chinese restaurant Hakkasan at the heart of Soho, Asian gastro-pub Duck and Rice and now top of the range venue Park Chinois.

Park Chinois opened its heavy, ornamented doors late last year, and has since become THE new restaurant everyone is talking about. Mr Yau himself agrees that Park Chinois is his most challenging, hardest project to date, as he attempted to recreate some of Shanghai’s 1930’s glamour, elegantly mixed with 18th century French chinoiserie. Yau surrounded himself with la crème de la crème to create a lavish and opulent yet incredibly tasteful venue at the heart of one of London’s most sought after areas.

At Park Chinois, it isn’t just the delicious, unexpectedly surprising food that is memorable. Everything from the astonishingly beautiful décor, to the live music performed by delightful artists every evening and down to the waiters’ sophisticated white jackets. Yau continues to create a conversation between East and West, through a new type of ideology. More than a restaurant, Park Chinois is an “entertainment lifestyle project”, aiming to truly recreate a specific atmosphere, dear to Mr Yau’s heart.

Three years ago, I founded my eponymous lifestyle label MENG, and personal labour of love. This was fueled by my desire to draw, paint and create art pieces – a passion of mine since I was a small child growing up in China. At MENG, we didn’t want to limit this pursuit to anything too restricting as we wanted to explore the full scope of what we could create, together with my team.

Ensued collections of silk loungewear, beachwear, accessories, homeware and more recently menswear, now stocked in department stores such as Selfridges, Harrods and Neiman Marcus. Our elaborate prints seamlessly lend themselves to the wide canvas that are square cushions, scarves, kimonos and kaftans – we were able to create bold, daring designs that were original enough to be their own art pieces, imbued with our own emotions, perceptions, passions.

Mr Yau’s incredible journey from Wagamama to Park Chinois and his motivations very much resonate with us and our story. It ties in with what we attempt to achieve through MENG and various other projects here in London. Having spent most of my life in London and the US to study and work, I feel like this is my home away from home. However, my Chinese roots are always present, in everything that I set out to do. Our brand and collections are a true representation of the ongoing dialogue between my oriental heritage and European legacy. They are an inherent part of me, that we use as mediums to tell this very important story that is and has always been so close to our heart.

MENG is about a certain authenticity of the heart, staying true to traditions and values whilst evolving in accordance with what and who surrounds us. It is about creating something that we can share with people around us. Something with a soul.

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