Why We Exist

Conceived as a Space to Inspire

Natalie and Lawrence Chu

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whywe exist

We exist to help people thrive through education, and to cultivate artists on the frontiers of human expression.

Chu Foundation was founded by Natalie and Lawrence Chu, who strive to advance humanity by partnering with visionaries in transformative fields.

As an independent not-for-profit entity, Chu Foundation supports a number of charities and organisations that bring a positive impact to society, including Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, University of Chicago, and Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children. Beyond our charitable endowments, our contribution revolves around active participation – Natalie and Lawrence help advance organisations as board members and through continued volunteering.

In the world of art, Chu Foundation supports renowned institutions including Pompidou, Tate and Smart Museums. Chu Foundation takes a holistic approach to empowering human potential. How we work today reflects the breadth of Natalie and Lawrence’s interests and their conviction that education and art can spark meaning and innovation to enrich lives.

Opening a new chapter in the history of our patronage, our latest project is to establish a unique artist residency in Tateyama, Japan.

Natalie & Lawrence Chu


Conceived as aspace to inspire

Chu Residency at Tateyama will launch in 2021, inviting national and/or international artists each year. The residency will offer an environment of purity that gives artists an opportunity to transcend — stepping outside the routines and intrusions of daily life, to focus on creating profound work. Conceived as a space to inspire, Chu Residency at Tateyama will welcome artists to an immersive experience unbound from the constraints of traditional institutions.

Beginning in 2022, studios will provide Japanese and international artists from all disciplines with an engaging environment to explore their craft — participants will be offered valuable insights and one-on-one mentorship from leading art professionals, as well as open access to museums and collections.

A community structure will foster a deeper understanding of artists’ relationship with their work, evolve their knowledge of the art world and elevate their creative endeavours. Chu Residency at Tateyama will open its doors once a year for the public to meet with resident artists, encouraging integration with the local community. The residency will be dynamic and continually expand as a digital space showcasing artists’ work, to actively attract new audiences around the world.


Why Tateyama& ‘IWA’

The unique characteristics of Tateyama led Chu Foundation to select it as the site of its first artist residency. Artists participating in the program will be met with the serene beauty of a place that speaks in idyllic, emotive landscapes carved by time, harmoniously entwined with a rich cultural heritage and a thoroughly forward-thinking outlook.

The Chu family was introduced to Tateyama through its partnership with ‘IWA’, a new sake brand by Richard Geoffroy and a constellation of creative minds – which is launching with the aim of bringing one of Japan’s finest art forms to a global audience.

IWA’s Shiraiwa brewery will open in January 2021. It will rest between mountain foothills, with access to the purest local water straight from the crest of Japan, amidst some of the heaviest snowfall in the world. There, it’s not rare to meet groups of red-faced monkeys crossing the paddy fields.

Richard Geoffroy

The fifth chef de cave for Dom Pérignon Champagne, Richard expressed the creative ambition of the iconic wine for 28 years. His new vision is to launch IWA sake, hoping to contribute to a story started in Japan a thousand years ago.

Marc Newson

The storied industrial designer carved IWA into glass — designing a sake vessel finished with a distinctively dark, velvety luster. The brand mark, full of drama, was drawn by calligrapher Mariko Kinoshita in collaboration with designer Hideki Nakajima.

Ryuichiro Masuda

CEO of Masuda Shuzo, a family-owned sake company established in 1893 is another pillar of the project. His native region of Toyama became IWA’s hometown.

Kengo Kuma

As one of Japan’s pre-eminent architects, Kuma seeks to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and reinterpret them. Tateyama became the site where Kuma would build his first sake brewery, a rare opportunity, even for an architect of Kuma’s stature.


Natalie andLawrence Chu

Chu Foundation was founded by Natalie and Lawrence Chu, who strive to advance humanity by partnering with visionaries in transformative fields.

Lawrence Chu is an entrepreneur, patron of the arts & education, and the Founder of BlackPine Group. He is also Co-Founder of Oriente and Co-Founder of VSFG where he serves as Executive Chairman.

Before embarking on his entrepreneurial career, Lawrence previously worked as a portfolio manager at UBS O’Connor in Hong Kong focusing on Asian investments. Prior to UBS O’Connor, he was a strategy executive in the Chairman’s office of EMI Music in London. He began his career at UBS Warburg in the technology and M&A investment banking groups in London and Hong Kong. Lawrence graduated from University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Lawrence is a member of the Tate’s Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee,  a governor of the Smart Museum Board of Governors and served as a governor of the Alumni Board of Governors at the University of Chicago in Chicago. He also serves on the board of governors of the Chinese International School as the Chairman of the Finance and Development Committee, and was a member of the board of directors of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in Hong Kong.

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A glimpse ofthe collection