Busy Kiwi with a passion, drive for all things creative

Hannah Churchill is an interior designer with a passion for all things creative. 
Courtesy of Hannah Churchill / Ti Gong

Hannah Churchill

Who is she?

Hannah Churchill is an interior designer with a passion for all things creative. She grew up in the South Island of New Zealand but always wanted to see the world. After completing a Bachelor of Architecture at Victoria University in Wellington, Churchill went on to work at one of New Zealand’s top architecture firms. She moved to Shanghai in 2009 to broaden her horizons and now wherever she travels, different cultures and communities expand and influence her design ideas.

Please share with us some of your works.

Italian restaurant D.O.C on Dongping Road was the first project I created in Shanghai, so I will always have a soft spot for it. It was one of the first places in Shanghai to create a cozy atmosphere in a rustic industrial interior.  

Liquid Laundry was another great project as it brought a style that China hadn’t really had before and successfully combines cocktail lounge, brewery and dining. Its sister restaurant Cobra Lily in Xintandi was also a lot of fun to create. 

The Clinic catapulted my design practice when it won the AD100 (Architectural Digest) best choice award for Best Commercial Interior.

Recently I just opened a 900- square-meter co-working and events space in Xintandi for the New Zealand Government called New Zealand Central. And in time for summer, Gelato Dal Cuore on Shaanxi Road and Lunuers in Xingfu Li, both were great clients and we are really pleased with the design. 

Are you currently involved in any project?

We currently have about 10 projects under construction, so, some busy weeks ahead. Look out for a modern Gentleman’s Barbershop, a day spa, a few large commercial spaces, a Spanish restaurant, a Country showcase pavilion and a few boutique dessert shops.

What’s your design style?

My design philosophy comes from an ingrained sense of Kiwi ingenuity, innovation and practicality. Design should be simple, clever and fun, creating spaces for people to collaborate and connect as they work, eat and play. I have a fairly fluid and varied style as I adapt to each project and client’s ideas and direction. In the beginning I let the natural fabric and heart of the space dictate the design and then take it from there. 

Where are you most creative?

I like to travel and do a lot of research into design, which means I can take inspiration from almost anywhere. 

What does your home mean to you?

My home is my own little slice of Shanghai. It was originally my escape filled with custom -made furniture and items collected from my travels and time in Asia, but also plenty of reminders of New Zealand. Now, the aesthetic is someone hijacked with play mats, and a mountain of kid’s toys. It’s a sanctuary I share with my whole family now. 

What do you collect?

I’m not a big fan of gathering things as our apartment is about as full as it can be. The only thing we do now is fill our fridge door with magnets of the places we have gone. I would also say wine, but we tend to drink it with friends as fast as we acquire it.

Where would you like to go most in Shanghai?

My favorite spot to connect with Shanghai and be reminded of its size is a rooftop bar on the Bund. I love to stare at the lights and muse about the history of this city looking at the historic and contemporary buildings along the Huangpu River. I am also often found at any one of the 40 F&B projects we have done in Shanghai because each project has its own story and I am in some way proud of them all. 

What will be the next big design trend?

Shanghai continues to open places in every style imaginable and there is no end to this. In China we will start to see other cities trying to catch-up to Shanghai. I do see an increasingly willingness now for people to invest in good design and push the boundaries.

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