by Mickey Nelson
If you ask Fu-Tung Cheng what a favorite snapshot of one of the homes he has designed on the Peninsula might look like, he’d say one that captures the elements of time and balance that go into his work, one that shows the influence of art in his design and also, one taken at dusk.
What is so fascinating about Cheng’s work is that he does not have an architectural background, but an art background. For this reason, he sees things in their materiality and space, rather than in terms of an orientation based solely on function. “Form follows function” is a common architectural adage, and while Cheng respects that, he doesn’t always follow it.
As an artist, Cheng comes from the school of thought that says you make and do things for yourself, and his current staff at Cheng Design reflects that. They are a tiny but mighty team of just four talented people—Cheng, his right-hand architects Ann Kim and John Chan, and architectural designer Frank Lee. Cheng has found that with a small group, they can maintain the intimacy of their work on projects, hiring outside engineers and builders depending on the specific needs of a project.