While the design industry may not pay as much heed to star architects – or starchitects – as it once did, on a consumer level, they clearly still pack a punch.
This is exemplified by the sale of an apartment in the Frank Gehry-designed Opus Building in Hong Kong which, according to William Lau of Midland Realty, reached a record-breaking sale price of nearly $60 million due to its ‘unique’ architectural design.
The apartment, which is 6,683 square metres and is located on the ninth floor of the Opus development, is the highest-priced apartment ever sold in the southern Chinese financial centre.
It features stunning glass enclosed columns, striking marble interiors designed by interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg, and a breathtaking view across the city.
Not only did the residential space reach record heights in terms a sale price, the sale itself comes at a time when the property market is expected to cool. A burgeoning middle class in China and other such Asian countries has meant that luxury housing and other such means have been in high demand, but now with a government industry overhaul, the market is in a major slow down.
Lau explains that while the market for luxury apartments has doubled since the end of the Global Financial Crisis, new taxes on foreign buyers and overall change of policy by the Hong Kong government means the sector faces challenging times ahead.
“These policies will narrow down the supply of the second hand market,” Lau says. “For the coming months, we forecast the transactions will keep in a very low level.”
Even in the midst of a market cool down, starchitect design still holds major pull. While industry professionals may no longer feel a need for starchitects, in an industry that is often unknown to the lay consumer, confidence is garnered through the knowledge of famous and iconic faces.
The recent apartment sale set a new record for the Hong Kong residential market and a marked what could be a quick turnaround from anti-starchitect industry sentiments.