The Aesthete: Adrian Cheng talks personal taste

The collector, patron and cultural entrepreneur launched the K11 Art Foundation, which promotes contemporary Chinese artists around the globe, and this year released a limited collection of furniture co-designed with the late architect Shigeru Uchida

Adrian Cheng at home in Hong Kong
Adrian Cheng at home in Hong Kong | Image: Ken Wu

My personal style signifier is my limited edition Yeezy Boost 350 V2 trainers. I have pairs in White, Oreo and Zebra. They’re comfortable and chic and I wear them with a suit to meetings, openings and site visits.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Tel Aviv Museum of Art

The last thing I bought and loved was a painting called Pub 5 by Zhang Enli. When I saw his show at the ICA in 2013, I was overwhelmed. His work, in muted tones, is based on objects and figures from his memories. For me, it’s like experiencing his emotions in a time warp he has created. hauserwirth.com.

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The thing I’m eyeing next is a 1932 Bergère chair by Kaare Klint – his take on traditional English furniture. It’s not the chair that defined his career, but a remarkable piece nonetheless. The first edition with brass castors and Niger leather is extremely rare, but it would make an excellent addition to my vintage Scandinavian furniture collection.

Cheng’s bottle of 2010 Chairman’s Reserve from Grace Vineyard in Shanxi
Cheng’s bottle of 2010 Chairman’s Reserve from Grace Vineyard in Shanxi

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Tel Aviv, where I met with President Rivlin to talk about innovation in art development, culture and business. Tel Aviv was eye-opening: at every corner you can feel the energy of the city and its rising tech scene; every conversation you hear is about new businesses and the next disruptive ideas.

The Brando resort on Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
The Brando resort on Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a bottle of 2010 Chairman’s Reserve from Grace Vineyard in Shanxi. This fine vintage is the best red wine in China, but not a lot of people outside the country are aware of it. As a result, the vineyard only makes 3,000 bottles a year. 102 Provincial Rd, Taigu Xian Jinzhong Shi, Shanxi (+86354-644 9198; en.grace-vineyard.com).

Malin+Goetz mojito lip balm, £10 for 10ml
Malin+Goetz mojito lip balm, £10 for 10ml

Next on my travel bucket list is The Brando resort on the private island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia. It’s a self‑contained paradise made up of a dozen breathtaking small islands, with reefs cocooning the pristine beaches. I find its commitment to preserving the atoll intriguing: even in a setting like this, it employs a wastewater recycling programme and a seawater air-conditioning system. thebrando.com.

Choux à la crème from Popelini in Paris
Choux à la crème from Popelini in Paris

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Cobo House, a design-driven restaurant in Sai Ying Pun, in the west end of Hong Kong Island. Janice Wong, twice voted Asia’s best pastry chef, makes the desserts, inspired by art – recently she created chocolate shaped and coloured like Lego – and the Singaporean chef’s savoury dishes are just as inventive. 8/12 South Lane, Hong Kong (+852-2656 3088; cobohouse.com).

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My carry-on essentials are a scarf to guard against unpredictable air con, a tablet and a duffel bag of notes; the best time to read up is when you’re on a long haul, undisturbed. I always have lip balm too, as it’s miserable to travel with chapped lips – especially in the winter: currently it’s the mojito flavour balm by Malin+ Goetz. £10 for 10ml; malinandgoetz.co.uk.

My fail-safe jet lag cure is usually just working through it; I’m lucky that I don’t need a lot of sleep. But I’m a fan of Fivelements, which came to Hong Kong this year. The treatments, from sports massages to aquatic therapies, never fail to restore and balance my body, physically and spiritually. 81 Tai Chung Hau Rd, Hong Kong (+852-3959 0000; fivelements.org).

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Le Marais in Paris. I buy choux à la crème from Popelini, where the sweet mouthfuls twinkle like coloured diamonds – it’s like walking into Graff. I go to Fleux, a brilliant design store, to discover the latest decor and lifestyle trends and cool gadgets. I also like Sentou, which sells lights by Isamu Noguchi. Fleux, 39 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie (+331-4278 2720; fleux.com). Popelini, 29 Rue Debelleyme (+331-4461 3144; popelini.com). Sentou, 29 Rue François Miron (+331-4278 5060; sentou.fr).

My favourite website is JD Finance’s jd.com, – an idea powerhouse with a Kickstarter-like page, where I get a sense of what young Chinese consumers are interested in.

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