FENG SHUI IN LIFE AND DESIGN

FENG SHUI IN LIFE AND DESIGN

World, Metaphysics/Design –

World famous feng shui master JOEY YAP and LEADING DESIGNERS share their views about metaphysics during these challenging times 

FREE Work From Home Feng Shui Guide to help you make working from home more inspirational, impactful and intentional

Joey Yap on the coronavirus Pandemic:

“There is always a silver lining. There is always something you can do. Wisdom allows us to break free the limitations and fear that hold us back.”

RENOWNED METAPHYSICS/FENG SHUI MASTER , and founder of the Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics Joey Yap shares his feng shui views with us. Joey Yap is the founder of the Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics – an education institution for Feng shui, BaZi, Qi Men Dun Jia, Mian Xiang, Yi Jing, Date Selection and Face Reading. He is the best-selling author of over 182 book titles published in 7 different languages worldwide and engages with students in more than 37 countries. He has conducted professional consultations for a wide range of clientele from the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany and all of South East Asia.

1 What life lessons from the master metaphysics teachers stay with you till today? 

Learning to filter fact from fiction. I have gained indispensable knowledge from them. However, there are times when I had to be discerning and do research for myself to figure out if what I was being told was true. I learned the most from trial and error. Do not believe everything taught by people. Instead, try it out yourself and conduct a bit of research. 

2 What was the most difficult part about starting out as a young geomancer or advisor? 

The misconceptions that people had towards Chinese Metaphysics was even more pronounced and entrenched in superstition when I started 20 years ago. More so than it is today.

Most people thought I was peculiar for trying to make a living by essentially being a ‘fortune teller’ in their minds. I was an oddity, a young adult with a proper education and upbringing playing with ‘luck’ instead of doing what every other sane person my age would do. 

I didn’t give much thought to the critics. As far as I was concerned, Chinese Metaphysics was a life-changing practice that provided tangible, far-reaching benefits. People didn’t have to believe the idea behind the art. I just needed to show them that it worked. So, I did.

3 Can you tell us what the outlook is for Singapore in 2020 The Year of the Rat? If it is negative what can we do to avoid negative energy?

The strongest element in 2020 — the Year of the Metal Rat — is Earth. The presence of this non-moving and safe element suggests that this will generally be a stable year. There is still concern that a recession might occur. In Singapore’s BaZi chart, Wood is the strongest element present. Wood combined with the Yang Metal element of the year forms Metal, which is representative of Wealth. If you look at it conservatively, I think economic growth will be sluggish but still noticeable. This would be a good year to focus on fundamentals, build up financial immunity and look out for opportunities to utilise.

4 How do you relax after a hard day at work?

As an entrepreneur, every day is a work day. It’s a cycle of business meetings, work-related travel, internal management and lots of planning and strategy in between. To make up for this, I would always set aside some time to take my whole family for a holiday. We would travel to one of my favourite snowboarding spots, Zermatt, Switzerland, for a week of snowboarding. It really helps to reduce work related stress and bring joy to my beautiful family. This is the most important thing to me. 

5 What Singapore food do you enjoy?

Chicken Rice! My lovely team in Singapore will always buy me chicken rice when I’m there. 

6 If a young student wants to find success in geomancy and metaphysics the way you have what advice can you give? 

Never give up. You need a thirst for success that isn’t easil quashed by failure. If you DO have the required level of perseverance, this path can be incredibly meaningful and worth the time, effort and energy you put in. Don’t falter because of what others say and believe in yourself. Remember that Chinese Metaphysics acts as a guide to your goals and not as a quick fix. 

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THE DESIGNERS

Jean-Michel Gathy

Principal architect and interior designer 

Denniston (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) 

Infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands Singapore
St Regis Lhasa, Golden Pool

1 Do you believe in feng shui?

I have lived in Asia for almost 40 years now including 11 years in Hong Kong, and if you have lived in the region for as long as that, you will definitely be influenced by feng shui every day.  I believe that every culture has its own beliefs and we all have beliefs. Feng shui is a cultural belief of Chinese people and acts according to their philosophy of life. For example they believe in energy and what blocks or generates this energy.

2 Do you incorporate its principles in your architectural/interior designs?

Of course. When you are designing a project, you are ultimately serving your client. So if your client is sensitive to the values of the feng shui, you would most definitely respect that.  You would also integrate those values and its interpretations of lifestyles in your design.  Sometimes it is Chinese, sometime it is others but it does not matter. I think as an architect, one should always integrate the various philosophical and the cultural language of the country that they built for.

Feng shui is a set of beliefs based on various elements and for the Chinese, it is mostly energy yet very often it is also common sense. For example, when it is said that one cannot sleep under a beam, it is just a natural thought and nobody would like that. Feng shui explains why that is wrong but fundamentally it is a respect of a certain number of cultural components of any culture and therefore we integrate those into our designs. Sometimes we integrate ‘feng shui-like’ elements but it is not seen as feng shui in our other projects. In the Pacific, where nature worship is practiced, believers pay respect to the trees, rocks, the sea, mountains and the related energy surrounding them – we integrate all these elements into our designs.

3 What are your hopes for 2020 The Year of the Rat?

My hopes for 2020 would be that the world will become a better and more peaceful place and that we are able to resolve the COVID-19  situation as soon as possible together.

“I think as an architect, one should always integrate the various philosophical and the cultural language of the country that they built for.”


Evgeniya Lazareva

Founder/lead designer 

HOT DESIGN FOLKS based in Singapore

El Tardeo Singapore
Raffles Hotel Singapore

1 Do you believe in feng shui?

I believe that it is important to feel comfortable and at ease with any interior.  We spend on average 80% of our lifetime indoors. This really highlights the importance of mental and physical wellness when it comes to architecture and interior design. Feng shui practice aims to achieve exactly that – creating harmonious relationships between humans and the environment.  Whilst, I take some teachings with a filter of modern rationality, I believe we can learn a lot from this ancient practice.

2 Do you incorporate its principles in your architectural/interior designs?

Having lived and worked in Asia for nearly 7 years now, some fundamental no-nos of Feng shui have become deeply ingrained in my design approach. For example, I feel quite strongly about sharp design elements, especially when it comes to ceiling features. A chandelier with a pointy design would rarely make its way into my projects. Feng shui interprets sharp elements as negative energy. For me sharp objects represent danger and hostility associated with feelings of discomfort and distress, the opposite effect to the welcoming ambience I aim to create in my work. 

3 What are your hopes for 2020 The Year of the Rat?

So far the year of the Rat has proven to be easily the most challenging of the past decade, however I believe that any crisis comes hand in hand with opportunities.  The way we respond to the challenges today will shape our future for many years ahead.  My hopes for all of us is to weather this storm and emerge as better versions of ourselves when the dust settles.  

“For me sharp objects represent danger and hostility associated with feelings of discomfort and distress, the opposite effect to the welcoming ambience I aim to create in my work.” 


Celia Chu

Founder/designer 

Celia Chu Design & Associates (Taiwan)

Rosewood Hotel Bangkok
A CUT Steakhouse, Ambassador Hotel Taipei

1 Do you believe in feng shui?

Yes, I do. There is a long history of Chinese wisdom that aligns with today’s modern world and technology, they coexist. For instance, a Chinese belief would be not wanting to have a mirror in front of your bed as you may scare yourself when you wake up. Another example is not sleeping underneath a beam as you will feel a sense of pressure from it. Chinese wisdom involves logical explanation and is highly relevant on a day-to-day basis.

2 Do you incorporate its principles in your architectural/interior designs?

Of course, though our projects are international, our clients have guests who care deeply about this. We want to make sure that whoever comes into our designed spaces will feel comfortable. By infusing the basic feng shui elements into our design, we ensure that they are being “taken care of” as we create a harmonised environment that helps them feel at ease.

3 What are your hopes for 2020 The Year of the Rat?

We hope that the design trends for 2020 continues to evolve towards a more eco-friendly approach. We would want to incorporate more eco-friendly implementations into our designs and hope to encourage others to do the same.

“By infusing the basic feng shui elements into our design, we ensure that they are being “taken care of” as we create a harmonised environment that helps them feel at ease.”


Bruce Wright

Senior vice president/principal

Harris Christiaansen

Senior designer

SB Architects (New York, USA)

Miami Design District Hotel
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

1 Do you believe in feng shui?

Yes – in the same way that feng shui uses energy to harmonise individuals with the surrounding environment, we as designers believe that creating a sense of place requires communicating the unique story of the locale. Each of our architectural designs utilize the energy of the place to create spaces that celebrate the beauty and natural richness of the area, establish strong connection to the nature and create destinations that are a contemporary twist on historical architecture. 

2 How do you incorporate the elements of feng shui into your designs?

All of our designs are an authentic expression of the region and we constantly look to the local history and culture for inspiration. 

For example, Crescent Hills in Shenzhen, China, draws inspiration from the ancient Chinese architectural style of Si He Yuan, found in traditional Chinese courtyard houses. Comprised of a main residence flanked on two sides by walls and smaller rooms to form an enclosed courtyard. The authentic style reflects the traditions of China, following the rules of feng shui. Inspired by traditional Chinese symbolism, the gardens in Crescent Hills have been designed to be the ‘Yin’ and the houses are the ‘Yang’, creating balance and harmony for residents.

Hakka architecture, a building style unique to southern China, dictated the round shape and led to the curved nature of the buildings at Mission Hills Haikou. The iconic main spa structure is comprised of soaring, semi-circular bamboo, rising from a massive lava stone base that is slightly canted to increase its sense of grandeur. The elegantly simple form is well-ventilated and allows an abundance of natural light. The soaring sense of verticality imposed by the sustainable bamboo makes a powerful design statement, while the use of locally-abundant lava stone and bamboo firmly ground the design in the nature and topography of Hainan Island.

3 What are your hopes and dreams for 2020 The Year of the Rat?

The Year of the Rat marks our 60th Anniversary. As we prepare for this milestone and reflect on our history and the legacy we have established, we hope to continue our work creating reimaged spaces that establish a sense of place and community. We hope that our work continues to be celebrated and continue to redefine architecture through creative designs that draw upon the history and natural beauty of the place.

“Hakka architecture, a building style unique to southern China, dictated the round shape and led to the curved nature of the buildings at Mission Hills Haikou. The iconic main spa structure is comprised of soaring, semi-circular bamboo, rising from a massive lava stone base…”

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Story By Carol Kraal. Respective photographs courtesy of Joey Yap; Denniston; Evgeniya Lazareva; Celia Chu and SB Architects