Known as international design stars whose portfiolio runs the gamut of private residences and retail spaces, luxury hotels and resorts to the finest restaurants in the world, it’s outright refreshing to see the founders of AB Concept, Ed Ng and Terence Ngan relaxing in their Karuizawa retreat.

The expansive deck looks out to mountainous vistas of Karuizawa

While this is by no means a holiday – the dynamic duo are juggling several large projects and in-between an office move to Victoria Dockside – the pristine, magical setting of this alpine resort town certainly makes it more enjoyable to multi-task. “It’s very convenient, as we are only an hour away from Tokyo by Shinkanzen,” Ed says, as he recounts how he and Terence decided on a whim to book a red eye flight to Haneda in early May. “At 8pm we were eating dinner in Hong Kong, and by 8am the next morning, we were already under the spring blossom trees in Karuizawa,” he recalls fondly. 

The designers changed little on the infrastructure apart from extending the ceiling heights to maximise the vantage point for this home's spectacular setting
BoConcept co-founders Ed Ng and Terence Ngan

Known as international design stars whose portfiolio runs the gamut of private residences and retail spaces, luxury hotels and resorts to the finest restaurants in the world, it’s outright refreshing to see the founders of AB Concept, Ed Ng and Terence Ngan relaxing in their Karuizawa retreat.

The dining area features exposed brick and wood panelled walls
The desk in the living room is Terence's favourite spot to work and contemplate while Ed can often be found in his den downstairs

While this is by no means a holiday – the dynamic duo are juggling several large projects and in-between an office move to Victoria Dockside – the pristine, magical setting of this alpine resort town certainly makes it more enjoyable to multi-task. “It’s very convenient, as we are only an hour away from Tokyo by Shinkanzen,” Ed says, as he recounts how he and Terence decided on a whim to book a red eye flight to Haneda in early May. “At 8pm we were eating dinner in Hong Kong, and by 8am the next morning, we were already under the spring blossom trees in Karuizawa,” he recalls fondly. 

Natural materials imbue the interiors, from the walls to furnishings, harking to the home’s surrounding landscapes

With several home bases around the world, Ed and Terence were looking for a holiday home in Japan when they set eyes on this property. They were immediately lovestruck. Set amidst the layered mountains, the home is surrounded by miles beyond miles of surreal beauty - a sea of blue sky stretches high and wide beyond the horizon while the canopies of lush fir trees and larches is quite simply majestic.

Expansive windows allow for lush scenery and ample natural light to stream through

Among the dazzling green and lakes, there are also quaint cottages, bakeries and eateries, artisanal retail stores and shopping streets that all co-exist in harmony with the natural surroundings. Indeed, this is a paradise for anyone seeking to escape the city and find their peace. 

Different textures, colours and personal accessories juxtapose magically in the home

AB Concept are often trusted to herald the next refined interior, so Ed and Terence have long mastered the art of understanding their client’s needs and translating them succinctly, personalising their approach to each project and executing outstanding quality. Creating this home together was a labour of love, but much easier to execute as there were no rules – “the whole process was very organic and we went with how we felt,” Terence shares. “We didn’t change much in the wood and stone structure apart from extend the ceiling heights, and the decor within is an accumulation of our likes and passions.”

You step into this home and still feel like you’re outside. There’s a pleasurable solitude that feels in complete balance with the surrounding nature

Knowing exactly what they wanted, they were able to source all of their main furniture within a few days – sculptural pieces by George Nakashima and Frank Lloyd Wright fuse enigmatically with their personal art and accessories including delicate Astier de Villatte ceramics and cultural relics they have picked up locally. The result is a haven that breathes light and atmosphere, a home that you don’t want to leave as soon as you step through the front doors.

Karuizawa is fillled with international lifestyle. From a huge fashion outlet mall, an Olympic stadium sports facility, onsens, bookstores to world class museums, this is where the homeowners can enjoy life to the fullest. When they can tear themselves away from home, that is

 The talented design duo share that they are currently planning phase two of their renovations, which is to further build an extension for their staff at AB Concept for retreats and company bonding experiences. “Achieving the right work life balance for the new generation is very important and we are constantly learning ourselves,” Ed explains. “When you realise your work is an inspiration, you think to yourself, what’s next and how do I make it better? Over the past 20 years we have not stopped evolving and we feel that it’s through the design experience that you truly discover yourself.” 

Photography: Reylia Slaby

Read also: Queen of Hearts: Bonnae Gokson On The Metamorphosis of Sevva

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