JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio

Submitted for: Emerging Designer of the Year

About the Designer

Launched in 2015, JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio is a multi-disciplinary interiors and architectural practice based in Hong Kong and Manila. The studio's considered and humanistic approach creates high-quality bespoke interiors and environments for hotels, restaurants, work spaces and homes.
They design for people who enjoy living well, seeing the world and experiencing different cultures.

A graduate of Cornell and Columbia University Architecture programmes, for more than a decade Acuna has worked on a wide range of lifestyle and workplace projects in Hong Kong, China, and the Asian region at large for a roster of select blue chip clients, such as Swire, Sun Hung Kai, and Hong Kong Land under well established Hong Kong-based Architecture firms, RLPHK, Woods Bagot, and LWK. With the establishment of his Hong Kong and Manila based studio, Acuna's aim is to help formulate bespoke design solutions for lifestyle-oriented clients via his lens and insight as not only a skilled designer, but as a thought leader on current global trends in relation to design, service, and operation.

Within the year, the studio has already achieved a "Silver Award" Delegation with the Hong Kong Design Awards for his work on the Elephant Grounds Restaurant on Star Street. In 2017, Acuna was awarded the "40 Under 40 2017" for Interior Design by Hong Kong's leading Design publication, Perspective Magazine.

Why they’ve been nominated

Manila-born JJ Acuna moved to Hong Kong in 2005 after graduating in New York City. For ten years after, Acuna built his career in Hong Kong. What started out as a two year internship for a large corporate firm turned into a lifelong romance with one of the world's top financial and cultural capitals. Hong Kong helped Acuna build a creative Design career through his Pan-Asian lifestyle projects, which eventually segued into the establishment of a small Architecture-Interior's based design studio in 2015-2016 now based in Hong Kong and Manila. This new office, named JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio, has within its less than three years of operation, designed about 14 lifestyle projects in total, with about 10 more projects undergoing various stages of completion.

In addition to the practice, Acuna is also a prolific writer, having written on the topic of Design and hospitality for various publications, like Design Anthology, SURFACE Asia, INDESIGN Magazine, and Sotheby's, and most importantly his own design-based blog, Wanderlister.com, covering design trends in Asia for the past 7 years. Acuna also teaches design part-time for Insight School of Design in Hong Kong- teaching design and lifestyle hospitality on a guest lecturer basis. His frequent travels, writing, and teaching opportunities feed into his passion for hospitality, and its relationship to form, functionality and craftsmanship- giving each of his clients a bespoke relationship and product they are happy with in the end.

Project Name: Tate Dining Room and Bar, Butler Catering Services, and Poem Cake and Pastry ShopArchitecture & Interior Design: James JJ Acuna of JJA / Bespoke Architecture, Designed in Collaboration With Chef Vicky LauDate of Completion: February 2017Location: Hong KongArea: Approx. 2,200 sq.ft. (front of house) + 1,160 sq.ft. (back of house)Client: Design Department (HK) LTD.Artist Collaborations: Elsa Jeandedieu and Calico WallpaperSite Photography: James John Jetel and JJA / Bespoke Architecture

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Project Name: Elephant Grounds Coffee Mid Levels
Architecture & Interior Design: James JJ Acuna of JJA / Bespoke Architecture - Designed in Collaboration with Kevin PoonDate of
Completion: March 2017
Location: Hong KongArea
Size: 1,900 sq.ft.
Client: Elephant Grounds Mid Levels Limited
On-Site Carpentry & Furniture: Start From Zero Hong Kong
Living Room Furniture: H.D. Buttercup Los Angeles
Signage: Sunnynap Japan
Retail Wall: VITSOESite
Photography: Grischa Rueschendorf and JJA / Bespoke Architecture

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Project Name: Nha Trang Vietnamese Canteen
Architecture & Interior Design: James JJ Acuna of JJA / Bespoke Architecture
Date of Completion: September 2017
Location: Hong Kong
Area: Approx. 1900 sq.ft. (front of house + back of house)
Client: Nha Trang Catering Service Limited
Artist Collaborations: Elsa Jeandedieu
Studio budget: 6 Million HKD (Inclusive of Front and Back of House)
Site Photography: Adam Kuehl

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Project Name: Pinot Duck
Architecture & Interior Design: JJA / Bespoke Architecture
Design Team: James JJ Acuna and Dominic Cheung
Date of Completion: April 2018
Location: Hong Kong
Area: Approx. 3600 sq.ft. (front of house + back of house + outdoor spaces)
Artist Collaboration: Katol of Start From Zero
Budget: Estimated 10 Million HKD
Site Photography: Adam Kuehl Photography and What The Fox Studio Hong Kong

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Project Name: Apartment TKO
Architecture & Interior Design: JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio
Design Team: James JJ Acuna and Dominic Cheung
Date of Completion: March 2018
Location: Hong Kong
Area: Approx. 947 sq.ft.
Budget: Estimated 2 Million HKD
Site Photography: Adam Kuehl Photography

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