An Insider's Macau
Alberto Chan, owner of a new concept store in Macau, is bringing the art of subtlety to the city's budding creative scene, but he's got an appetite for more than just great design. By JULIANA LOH.
Published on Mar 21, 2016
IT TOOK 15 YEARS FOR INTERIOR DESIGNER Alberto Chan to return home to Macau, and less than 12 months for him to make a mark on the gaming center. His understated creative voice is rising above the bellow of the mega casinos, the whisper everyone leans in to hear.
Interior designer and owner of Quarter Square Alberto Chan. Courtesy of Alberto Chan.
Chan spent almost two decades in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong, and he's bringing some of the low-key cool of the urban centers to Macau with his brand-new concept store Quarter Square (89 Largo Maia de Magalhães, Taipa; +853 2857 6914). The store is shaking up Taipa's village scene, blooming in the middle of decades-old local diners and shops selling overpriced tourist knickknacks.
Soft-spoken and cheerful Chan says he is striving to "bring delightful, well-crafted design to everyone in Macau, one step at a time." He curates a selection of contemporary home décor from Europe, the U.S., Japan and Scandinavia and he's also developing his own collection of cushion covers. Customers can leisurely browse or sip Quarter Square's custom coffee blend at the espresso bar, part of Chan's vision of offering Macau locals "a platform for exchanging designs and ideas."
Window-shopping at Quarter Square concept store. Courtesy of Quarter Square.
The New York Parsons's Golden Portfolio Award–winner goes for timeless elegance in every project by combining craftsmanship, comfort and functionality. Chan's past work at renowned design firms like Jonathan Adler and Tony Chi shines through in tasteful looks that reflect his love of nature, art and technology. You can also spot his signature style at restaurants across Macau like Papermoon, where he was commissioned to lead the interior design.
Chan is a strong supporter of local businesses and here he shares his favorite spots to eat, drink and hang out, choices influenced by both his upbringing in Macau and his international education in design.
+ Chan gets his coffee at Beans Aloud. "They are a small homegrown business and really put their heart into what they do." Pick from a variety of fresh coffee beans and they'll custom roast them on site. If you aren't sure what to choose, join one of their tastings or workshops to coax out your inner coffee aficionado. 6F Edifício Industrial Man Kei, 48 Av. do Coronel Mesquita; +853 6326 2625.
+ For fresh juices, hearty salads and wraps, Chan frequents Blissful Carrot, just around the corner from his store. Need a healthy sweet fix? Try the carrot cake and the Blueberry Coconut Bliss smoothie.
A veggie-packed pita at Blissful Carrot. Courtesy of Blissful Carrot.
+ Hit up Chan's favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Cho Lon, for "some of the best pho noodles and curry beef brisket in town." Magnificent Court, 419 Av. Xian Xinghai; +853 2850 9200.
+ Chan laments that there aren't that many great places to dine outside of the casino hotels, but when he needs a break from baccarat, he ducks into Taipa Café, where they serve European food that doesn't disappoint (even if the service still needs work). You can't go wrong with the meatballs. Shop B, The Manhattan, R. de Nam Keng, Taipa; +853 2884 4075.
+ Also outside of the confines of casino row is Café Litoral, a Macanese institution "definitely not celebrated enough for authentic classics" like minchi, a minced pork and beef dish with diced deep-fried potatoes; tacho, a winter Macanese meat stew; and African Chicken dressed in a thick peanut curry.
+ For an after-work cocktail, Chan recommends Heart Bar at Ascott for its beautiful interiors and cocktail selection. "The look is both modern and classic," he says. There's also an outdoor terrace where guests can enjoy a breezy sunset tipple.
+ Or if you'd like a view as dizzying as the drinks, The Ritz-Carlton Bar & Lounge on the 51st floor, offering a panoramic vista of the Cotai Strip, will have you reeling. Sample from the bar's very own gin trolley, serving one of the best gin and tonics in town, to cast a rosy glow upon the city's nightscape.
Carefully crafted cocktails at Heart Bar. Courtesy of Heart Bar at Ascott.
+ When he's in the mood for a high-end hangout, Chan suits up for two-Michelin-starred The Tasting Room. "It is a fully immersive experience that brings pleasure to the five senses, from the interiors to the choice of tableware, plating and music, and, of course, the food."
+ "I love the Peking duck at Beijing Kitchen. Their open kitchen where diners can see all the action is brilliant. Although if you sit for too long, the smoked fruit tree wood aroma gets on your hair and clothes."
Peking duck at Beijing Kitchen. Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Macau.