Fengshui practitioner Wilfred Leu uses his apartment to illustrate how fengshui principles can complement a home's interiors and enhance our living space.
WHO: A fengshui practitioner in his 40s
HOME: A dual key condo at Flora Drive
A former banker, Wilfred Leu found his calling as a fengshui practitioner after a debilitating financial crisis in 2008. What started out as a means to overcome his predicament became a second career.
Since then, Wilfred has gained recognition through word-of-mouth from clients ranging from homeowners, to bankers and multinational corporations. He recently had the opportunity to apply his expertise of the Chinese philosophical system to his own home.
At the beginning of the project, Wilfred provided Miki Shi, design consultant at Copper Design Associates, with a detailed catalogue containing photographs and dimensions of all the precious stones, antique vases, paintings, wooden furniture and other auspicious artefacts in his extensive collection, which he wanted to incorporate into his home.
Miki admits that it is the first time she has worked on such a fengshui-driven home.
"It was challenging and exciting at the same time. A lot of research and analysis were undertaken before the actual execution. But after understanding Wilfred's lifestyle and requirements, I had the freedom to propose my design ideas," she says.
The close working relationship and good communication between Wilfred and the designer resulted in a unique apartment that harmonises fengshui and interior design principles seamlessly.
WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL STRATEGY IN TERMS OF INCORPORATING FENGSHUI INTO YOUR APARTMENT?
As a professional in this field, I was very clear as to where I wanted certain elements to be and when to erect them, the type of lighting I required, and the exact placement of all the auspicious objects in my collection.
For example, I determined the precise positions of the sofa, television and even speakers, so that I have a view of the sky when I look out of the window.
HOW DID YOU BALANCE THE FENGSHUI AND INTERIOR DESIGN OF YOUR HOME?
There are many misconceptions and myths about fengshui and it is shrouded in mystery and secrecy. The fengshui that I practise was established by the Chinese Imperial Palace in both the Qing and Ming dynasties, largely from publications such as The Imperial Complete Books of the Four Repositories and The Yongle Encyclopaedia.
I consider these systems methodical and logical, complete with case studies, which are very applicable to practical, modern-day living environments.
Hence, I see no conflict between fengshui and interior design. It is about utilising fengshui requirements, but in a macro way - harnessing the environment for optimal air flow, lighting, colours, and even scent.
WHAT ARE A FEW FUNDAMENTAL FENGSHUI PRINCIPLES FOR THE HOME?
The home must be bright and breezy. We should try and reduce the home's humidity, especially in Singapore. This means that the abode must have openings such as doors or windows that are aligned with the monsoon winds.
In Beijing, for example, you will notice that houses usually have main doors and windows facing south to avoid the extremely cold northern wind and sandstorms from the north-west.
In Singapore, we need the natural breeze because humidity is bad for your health and causes the condition of items in the house to deteriorate.
HOW DOES FENGSHUI IMPROVE OUR HOME ENVIRONMENT?
Items, colours, placement of kitchen stove, beds, and even home entertainment systems can be customised based on the occupants' birthdays, in order to make the home more conducive to resting and recuperating from daily stress.
DO YOU CONSIDER FENGSHUI MORE OF AN ART OR SCIENCE?
My understanding is that fengshui is a science. There is nothing spiritual or religious about it. It is based on thousands of years of observations and assessments, involving careful study of the environment, climate and time.
These are then methodically recorded over a long time, resulting in the encyclopaedias. It is a science because, today, these would be considered statistically significant observations.
Fengshui involves a myriad of elements such as aromatherapy, colours, paintings, ornaments andlighting, and there is an increasing number of modern studies that indicate the positive effects that these have on people within their living and working environments.
This article was first published in the AUGUST 2017 print edition of Home & Decor.