SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2022
FEELING SPORTY? JOIN A CLUB!
Let me get hypothetical for a second. If I happened to be turning a certain milestone age this September – you know, that nasty one with an 0 at the end and a number at the front that you need all the fingers on one hand to calculate … If that were me, then, as an Aussie, I’d be receiving a birthday gift from the Australian government in honour of my big day. That gift? A free screening kit for bowel cancer. That’s right, the powers that-be in Oz send everyone who is turning a half-century a simple home testing kit in the post. Personally, I’d rather a cake. Or, if we can be choosy, maybe a mixed dozen of craft beers from selected Australian breweries; or a bobblehead figure of Marlon Brando from The Godfather for my desk. Still, it’s a great initiative to help beat bowel cancer – particularly in Australia, where a “she’ll be right” attitude sees plenty of people avoiding the conversation when it comes to their health. We’re covering a number of serious health matters in this issue of Expat Living, with expert advice andmedical updates on everything from cancer to cholesterol, and insights into mental health too. While I’m very glad we can bring you these important discussions, I have to admit that on a personal level, I struggle with this kind of thing. I’m a wimp when it comes to anything medical. Maybe it’s because my dad was a doctor, and the only conversations at the dinner table growing up were about procedures he’d undertaken that day. Getting a blow by-blow description of an operation from a urological surgeon over the evening meal wasn’t easy – especially on bangers-and-mash night. If you’re like me and you’re keen to stave off any future visits to the doctor for as long as possible, then you’ll need to keep fit! There are plenty of ways to do that in Hong Kong – you can read our story on HK’s cycling, running and badminton clubs as a starter. The new school year has kicked off, too, which is keeping people very active: teachers, tutors, parents – and, of course, kids. We hear from all of them in this issue, as they talk early learning, pastoral care, grades, graduation and more. Finally, on the home front, we take a look inside readers’ pads in Central andMid-Levels, chat with some interior designers, and bring you a bunch of décor ideas for the bedroom– plus the chance towin some deluxe bedding. Enjoy the autumn. And happy birthday to anyone celebrating a big milestone soon! (That’s not me, by the way. I’m only turning 49 and four quarters.)
Keep fit, join a HK club! (See page 90)
Editor-in-Chief REBECCA BISSET Group Editor SHAMUS SILLAR Digital Content JULIET KEYS MICHAELA BISSET Client Services & Production JUDIT GÁL NUR HANANI KAMAL LUDDIN Senior Graphic Designers MICHAEL BERNABE JEANNE WONG Circulation & Marketing ANNA TSERLINGAS Business Development & Partnerships KATE WOODBURY Chief Operations Officer COLIN PURCHASE Contributing Writers LENKA MERANI Contributing Photographers MICHAEL PERINI (MICHAELPERINIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM) Printed by MIRACLE PRINTING CO. LTD.
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Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 36 Carpenter Street, #02-01 Carpenter Haus, Singapore 059915
Marianne Obena’s home in Soho Photography: Michael Perini
Discover our digital content and guides 10 WIN! Three great
competitions and prizes
12 What’s new and
noteworthy in HK?
Home & Life 18 A Mid-Levels apartment with lots of stories to tell! 26 Meet the interior designers with a striking aesthetic 28 See the Soho home of a certified professional organiser 35 What’s the ideal bedroom setup for autumn? 38 Buying Guide: Beautiful bedroom décor and more 40 Five handy home renovation hacks 42 Street Talk: What it’s like living in Yuen Long 44 Ten great books to read right now 45 Recommended movies, series and podcasts 46 Got a child who’s keen for the catwalk? 48 15 minutes with The Learning Coach 50 Why phonics is important for kids’ reading abilities 52 Getting help to ace the IB
of treasures 18
64 The Hong Kong Pages: history, trivia and more! 66 This fashion brand lets you dress more with less 68 A mum-and-daughter duo and their swimwear start-up 70 The online shopping service provider that delivers the goods From the Schools 54 Campus happenings, open days and other news 56 How Malvern seeks to maximise potential 58 Readying students for the future 60 The school that prioritises primary education 62 A graduate looks back at 10 years at HKA
Handmade swimwear 68
Wellness & Leisure 78 Getting tailored teeth through cosmetic dentistry 80 How new technology is aiding our heart health 82 Busting some of the myths around lung cancer 84 Experts answer readers’ questions on cholesterol 88 Health Help: A focus on recurrent miscarriage 90 Keen on running, cycling or badminton? Join a club! 94 How our attention spans are waning – and what we can do 96 The counsellors who can help you gain momentum again
98 Let’s talk about high functioning anxiety 100 New-look ideas for your next salon visit 102 Our overnight stay at a Hong Kong wellness retreat 104 All the latest news from HK’s restaurants and bars 106 Taste Test: We try some of the best tapas in town 110 See how you go in this month’s Puzzle Pages 112 Parting Shot: The Accidental Chef
Time for tapas? 106
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expatliving.hk/subscribe Scan or visit AUTUMN 2022 Issue 61 BEDROOMS • CLUBS • COMPETITIONS • COUNSELLING HK$48 FEELING SPORTY? JOIN A CLUB! BLISSFUL BEDROOMS TASTY BACK! UPDATES Health Tapas Soho Serenity AUTUMN 2022 Issue 61 BEDROOMS • CLUBS • COMPETITIONS • COUNSELLING HK$48 Soho Serenity
FEELING SPORTY? JOIN A CLUB!
… beautiful bedding
Enter our competition and you’ll stand the chance to win a queen-size Heveya Organic Latex Mattress I I (worth $26,500) plus two organic latex pillows (worth $3,000)! About the company Heveya is a one-stop bedding store that carries natural organic latex mattresses, pillows, mattress protectors, duvets, sheets and more, as well as adjustable slatted bed bases and accessories, all made of natural and sustainable materials. Find out more about their offerings on page 35!
About the mattress and pillows Heveya uses only 100 percent certified natural organic latex in its mattress – no pesticides, fertilisers, heavy metals, VOCs or other chemicals. The mattress is naturally anti-mould and dust mite-resistant, and comes with a removable and cleanable cover of luxurious and soft bamboo fibre. The organic latex pillows, meanwhile, are hypoallergenic and naturally breathable and responsive, delivering comfort and optimal head and neck support.
13/F, The Plaza LKF 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central 6286 1132 | heveya.hk
... simply go to expatliving.hk/competitions and let us know why you think an organic latex mattress will help you sleep and live better. TO ENTER...
… and you could walk away with beautiful baby products, or a fish-and-chip feast for four people! (Who says we don’t cater to absolutely everyone?!)
Iconic British fish and chips, courtesy of The Chippy We’re giving away four serves of fish and chips at The Chippy – located at Granville Food Square in the heart of TST – along with sauces, bread rolls and drinks, valued at $1,054. Treat your family or a group of friends for some honest British grub! About the restaurant The Chippy not only has a true British family heritage, but all the food served is prepared exclusively by Zanfish in Derby and shipped directly from the UK. The fresh Icelandic cod is caught from the cleanwaters of theNorthAtlantic
Gorgeous goodies for infants, courtesy of IVAU We have two newborn gift sets from new brand IVAU up for grabs, worth $1,026 each. Each set comprises two items, a baby wrap and a baby onesie for 0-3 months, available in two different patterns, Lagoon Butterfly and Moonrise on Black Beach. About the brand IVAU creates the best bonding experience fromDay 1 with multi-functional baby wraps and matching baby/womenswear using sustainable fabrics. Its original hand-painted designs celebrate the beauty
in a responsible and sustainable way, and the store features other classic British dishes such as sausages and saveloys. FB @ thechippyhongkong IG @ thechippyhk
of nature. The lifestyle brand is inspired by the founders’ family vacation to Fiji, which culminated in them being stranded in the island paradise for a year! ivaufiji.com
... simply go to expatliving.hk/competitions and follow the instructions. TO ENTER...
Trendy Trails Put your best foot forward with The North Face’s newWinter/ Fall collection of outdoor exploration products, featuring high-tech trail shoes and apparel. The VECTIV Built For The Trail series of shoes in four designs offer multi-directional stability, long-lasting forward propulsion, rugged grip and enhanced breathability. Creative apparel for the season includes the new Flight Lightriser Futurelight Jacket that is breathable and waterproof to cope with sudden weather changes, Stridelight Shorts and a breathable Flight Race Day Vest. Find the collection in-store at North Face outlets around HK or online at thenorthface.com.cn .
After a few years’ hiatus, the popular Altfield fabric sale returns this October with up to 80 percent off textiles from top interior design brands. Find colourful show lengths, fabric remnants and one-off pieces – ideal for refreshing cushions, headboards and curtains in the home. The sale will also include large quantity rolls of Altfield stock silks and commercial/hospitality project upholstery and curtain fabric. Brands include Pierre Frey, Jane Churchill, Jim Thompson, Rubelli, Manuel Canovas, Colefax & Fowler, Brochier and more. Open from 17 to 29 October (excluding Sunday 23 October). Call 2525 2738 for enquiries. 7/F, Gee Chang Hong Centre, 65 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen. altfield.com.hk
Savvy Sideboard Just arrived in store, the Stika Sideboard is a new addition to the TRIBE by IndigoNatural Oak Stika collection. The stylish space-saving cabinet is designed with “tambour” doors (sliding doors made with slats) that move along a curved groove inside the cabinet so you don’t need the room required to open traditional hinged doors. It’s the perfect design solution for Hong Kong’s small spaces. Find it at Indigo Living’s flagship store at 6/F, Horizon Plaza or online at indigo-living.com .
Singapore Campus Tours Considering a move to Singapore? Tanglin Trust School invites prospective parents to attend individualised tours of the campus and facilities. Tours will be hosted by members of the admissions team who will be happy to personalise your visit and assist you with any questions you may have about the school. If you’re unable to visit in person, the school is happy to arrange a personalised virtual consultation. Find out more and book a tour at tts.edu.sg .
On the Move
Asian Tigers Group provides international relocation solutions for more than 16,000 families each year, with offices in 14 different territories. In this regular column, they look at some of the benefits that comewithmoving to a newcountry.
for Love Bonito
Southeast Asian womenswear brand Love Bonito has opened its first bricks-and-mortar store in Hong Kong (and first physical store outside of Southeast Asia!) at 30Queen’s Road Central. After three years of shopping the brand’s international e-commerce site, customers can now enjoy physically browsing and trying before purchasing (a new electronic queue system has been implemented to shorten wait times at fitting rooms). There are also style ambassadors on hand to offer styling tips and recommendations for the perfect fit. Designed with the everyday modern Asian woman in mind, the collections range from workwear and casual wear, to festive parties and weddings. Look out for the Kids range in store now, too! lovebonito.com/hk
Need assistance with relocation or shipping support? Visit asiantigersgroup.com. So, treat relocation as a stimulant of your personal growth. You may be grateful someday that you have had this experience! Dramatic changes like relocation can bring plenty of heightened anxiety and nervous tension. Yet, challenges are opportunities to knowmore about yourself and get your skill set to the next level. If you feel dragged down by your current work environment andwant to start a new adventure, a relocation can be a very positive thing! Increase your bargaining power If you relocate to a new country and a new environment, your horizons will likely expand beyond those of your contemporaries. If your relocation is international, the global experience you gain can teach you new and exciting things. Your experience in different cultures can help you stand out in a crowd. If your relocation involves a new language, even better; this is a unique skill that enhances your bargaining power and gives you a competitive edge in the job market. Benefit your personal growth Facing uncertainties in a new place can force you to grow your independence and achieve a more mature mindset. Unlike life in your home country where friends and family provide ready support, you must rely on yourself in a new place, and deal with any daily problems. You’ll discover new qualities about yourself and be able to identify your unique strengths and weaknesses. Moving to a new environment improves problem-solving skills and makes you cherish people around you without taking their support for granted. How relocation can shape a better you
Tales of India Bhakti Mathur, author of the
bestselling Amma, Tell Me series of children’s picture books, has released her
fifth book in the series: Amma, Take Me to the Taj Mahal . This time, Amma, Shiv and Veer take the reader on a historical tour of the Mughal empire that led to the creation of the renowned Taj Mahal. Through questions and anecdotes, Amma tells her boys the stories of Babur’s invasion, Akbar’s great reign, and Shah Jahan’s undying love for Mumtaz, while peppering them with interesting titbits about what it took to create the architectural marvel. Available at Bookazine HK from October. bhaktimathur.com .
Easier Testing for Kids AquilaVIE has launched a new COVID-19 rapid test kit for children that offers a more comfortable alternative to standard nasal RATs. The AQ Lollipop features a two-in-one oral and nasal swab that gives two options for sample collection with equal reliability. Aimed at children aged one and up, the oral test is simple to administer: just swab the inside of the mouth and cheeks for a total of 15 seconds. The dual test can also be used for standard nasal collection and results are provided in 15 minutes for both options. The AquilaVIE Kids line also includes children’s face masks in a butterfly design (in four fun colours!) that provide a better fit for little ones’ faces, and all-day comfort and protection. Special offer: The brand is offering a Back-to-School Bundle containing 20 AQ Lollipop Tests and a box of 20 Butterfly Masks at a special launch price of $498 (worth $868), including a free backpack (while stocks last). Shop online at shop.aquilavie.com .
Save the Date The GlamFest shopping fair (formerly Kowloon Bazaar) comes to Hong Kong Island for the first time this September. The special edition of the fair will be held on Thursday 1 September at the JW Marriott in Admiralty, with an exciting range of products and services on offer from local businesses and artisans. Prepare to shop couture and designer wear, fine jewellery, lifestyle products and services, fashion accessories, gift items, authentic handicrafts andmore. It promises a great day out – lucky draws, quality food and beverages, freebies and testers are all part of the fun. With Halloween, Diwali and Christmas around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pick up gifts. Look out for the upcoming fairs on 13 October and 1 December, too! kowloonbazaar.com
Inspired by Nature Born out of a family’s year-long lockdown in Fiji, IVAU is a new baby and womenswear brand focused on sustainable, durable and multi-functional designs in beautiful natural fabrics. IVAUmeans “bonding” in Fijian and this is a theme central to the brand’s products – the importance of connection at every stage of our life – with loved ones and nature. The recent launch focuses on the initial stage of life and the most important connection of all – bonding between newborn and parents – and includes four products: BabyWrap, Baby Romper, Women’s Seas The Day Lounge Set and the Goddess Galatea Dress. All designs are original and hand-painted and can be used in multiple ways, from home to resort. We’re loving the baby wrap, which works as a carrier, swaddle, stroller blanket, nursing cover and a chic woman’s top! Psst! For a chance to win a gorgeous newborn giftset from IVAU, head to our competition on page 11. ivaufiji.com
The Sevens is Back! Rugby fans rejoice, the Hong Kong Sevens will finally return to the HK Stadium this year after a three-year hiatus. The November 2022 edition (4 to 6 November) has been added as an additional 11th tournament at the start of the 2023 World Rugby Sevens, with another tournament taking place in its usual slot in April next year. This year’s event will see men’s teams only compete in themain competition, with all core Sevens Season teams playing, including Hong Kong. There will be no Challenger Series, women’s competition or mini-rugby (these will take place at the April 2023 HK Sevens). For info and updates on COVID restrictions, check the website. hksevens.com
Kiztopia comes to HK! Looking for weekend or holiday activities f o r t he k i d s ? We h a v e e x c i t i n g news . S i ngapo r e ’s mega- indoor kids ’ edutainment centre K i z t o p i a w i l l b e landing in Hong Kong this September with the opening of its first
After-school Fun To kick off the new school year, ActiveKids is offering a variety of fun and educational after-school programmes for children aged three to 17. Unlock the inner Picasso in your child with ArtCrafters or discover the next top designer in Mission Runway. Other programmes include The Chess Academy, RoboCode, Science Adventures and Stormy Chefs. ActiveKids offer in-person and online classes at their ActiveKids Learning Center in Kennedy Town and at over 60 schools and clubs. Find out more at activekidshk.com/afterschool-programmes .
overseas flagship outlet in New Town Plaza Play Park. Spanning over 12,000 square feet, the massive indoor playground features 15 play areas, including a giant climbing and slides area with a four-metre-high slide and Occupational Experience Zones themed around cartoon characters. Perfect for a family day out, the centre will keep kids (and parents) happy and entertained while helping them develop new skills. Starting 29 August, enjoy a 10 percent early bird discount on three ticket offers – Single Admission Ticket, 10x Admission Pass and Annual Pass – when you book on the Kiztopia website and Klook online platform. kiztopia.com.hk
6 Steps to Beauty Baesix is a vegan, organic beauty brand formulated in Korea that aims to reset your skincare regime back to basics with its fuss-free six-step ritual (say goodbye to complex, lengthy beauty routines!). All about real results that make a difference to skin without harming the planet, there are no lofty promises or miracle claims with this brand. What you see is what you get: organic, vegan ingredients that work their magic to give users happy skin every day. In addition to the six core skincare products, the brand also offers a range of gadgets, merchandise and gift sets. All packaging is either 100 percent recyclable or biodegradable. Shop online at baesix.com .
Holistic Fitness Renowned founder of Cookie DPT and CARBON, Wil Fang, has joined forces with three leading figures in the local fitness industry (Jess Shih, Soojin Leu, and Dan Yeung) to open holistic wellness destination Renation. Far from a regular gym, the expansive studio on the third floor at H Code in Pottinger Street, features four distinct areas, all designed to provide holistic offerings catered to different facets of wellness and health. At one end of the space, “Recycle” is dedicated to rhythmic cycling, and at the other, “Recondition” offers strength and conditioning classes. “Recover” offers an area to rest and stretch with the help of physiotherapists and sports masseuses and “Recharge” is a juice and smoothie bar where you can enjoy a signature Spirulina Colada and other healthy treats. Find out more at renation.com .
Dinghy Day! Hebe Haven Yacht Club is holding its annual 24-Hour Charity Dinghy Race on the weekend of 22 and 23 October. The event raises funds of over HK$10 million for local charities, Ideal, Treats, Sailability, Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Sai Kung District Community Centre. This year’s Hawaiian-themed event will be bigger than ever, with the race village featuring over 30 stalls, plus food and drinks, music, bouncy castles, face painting and more. Head along for a fun day out for all the family. hebehaven24hour.com
38 A buying guide to beautiful bedroom décor 46 Keen to strut your stuff on the catwalk? 52 How to help your child ace the IB
HOME & LIFE
PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL PERINI
Everything in SUSANNA VALERIO’s Mid-Levels apartment tells a story – and it’s a tale with travel at its heart, from her home country of Italy, to New York, Brazil, Egypt and Asia.
With all of this travel, I kept my roots in Rome. Rome is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, elegant and rich in history like no other. I always look forward to seeing my old friends there, and I love visiting the country’s diverse locations. How did you feel when you moved here? I have to admit that Hong Kong totally changed me. Brazil and Egypt were decadent, flamboyant and chaotically passionate and hectic places – life there was more about the joie de vivre than business. The contrast with Hong Kong couldn’t be starker, but it was this change that gave me the motivation to start building my career. The only thing I knew how to do well, and which came naturally to me, was designing homeware and styling houses, so that was it. I started to work for Joyce Ma taking care of the Home and Lifestyle department at JOYCE, and after four years I moved to Lane Crawford where I spent over 12 years designing and bringing to life new products and collections as well as buying and sourcing upcoming brands from every corner of the globe; I loved it!
Tell us about your expat “trail”; where are you from and where have you been? My nomadic life began at 21 when I went to New York to work for an art gallery; it was an exciting opportunity, and a stint of three months became three years. After returning to Rome, I met my husband, and we were soon posted to Rio de Janeiro with his company ENI (Italy’s largest energy company); my two childrenwere born there, andwe had a wonderful life by the sea. I was designing knitwear at the time, manufacturing it in Tuscany and exporting it to the US. This made it possible for me to travel back and forth to Rome, where we still have our family home. After seven years in Rio, we moved to Cairo, where I had the most exciting eight years of my life, riding my horses with the backdrop of the pyramids, exploring exotic markets and working with local artisans. The people made us feel so welcome.
HOME & LIFE
Tell us a bit about SV CASA. There are two key parts of the business: hospitality accessories and styling, and our retail line, SV CASA. To keep it simple, everything is branded SV CASA. We started over a decade ago designing products for luxury hotels, mainly for the F&B and spas, but over time we moved into our own manufacturing and acquired our own factories, further expanding the business into hotel guestrooms and public area accessories. To date, we have completed over 320 projects including some of the world’s most iconic properties, from the Rosewood in Hong Kong to the Four Seasons in Florence, ParkHyatt Beijing, Peninsula in Tokyo and so on. We have exciting projects in production, too, including the Regent Hong Kong, Peninsula London and more. SV CASA was born when guests who stayed in hotels that had our accessories started to contact us wanting to buy our products, so we decided to launch our own luxury retail line, which now sells internationally. The most recent development has been the rollout of major collaborations with celebrity designers Kelly Hoppen, Martyn Lawrance Bullard and, coming up, Yabu Pushelberg. Where’s your home in Hong Kong? When did you move there and what attracted you to it? When my family arrived in Hong Kong, we lived in Estoril Court, Mid-Levels, but when my husband moved back to Rome, I decided to stay to continue my business and found the perfect home in Western Mid-Levels where I still live today. It was love at first sight – a building old enough not to be impersonal yet still retaining some Hong Kong character. What I loved most was the double rooftop with a guesthouse; it makes me feel like I’m on holiday, even in the middle of Hong Kong. I spend a lot of time on my rooftop, reading, designing and, weather permitting, sunbathing.
What’s notable about the location? I live on Lyttleton Road, which is a wonderful spot in Mid-Levels. Most of the buildings are low-rises and this gives it a very neighbourly feel. Within a few minutes’ walk, you’re either in the hustle and bustle of the city or on the Morning Trail amidst thick trees and lush green canopies, or on the Pik Shan Trail with its hidden waterfalls. I don’t knowmany places where you can find such contrast in such a short distance. What are some of the key features of the home? There are a few things I especially love about this apartment but the one I love the most is the roof, where I have the main rooftop divided by a guesthouse in the middle with sliding glass panels that can completely open and act as a living room and bar when I have dinner parties. Interestingly, there is also a second roof on top, above the guesthouse.
HOME & LIFE
Have you renovated or made any changes? The apartment was in a state of disrepair and falling apart when I bought it, so I set about renovating the whole thing with the resources I had at the time. Today, I would do a few things differently, however there are a few features that still stand out for me, such as my solid-wood bookshelf that divides the living room and the TV room and which I designed myself. In the hallway is an archway designed by my late mother; it connects two walls that aren’t in a traditional straight alignment but instead diagonal, creating a beautiful twisted effect. Do you have a particular home décor style? I don’t have a particular style; the spaces I decorate tell me their story, and I work around that. My flat in Hong Kong is totally different frommy home in Rome – it’s bohemian and eclectic, with pieces from my travels and buying trips in Asia over the past 30 years. Over this time, I went through many different phases – so, some aspects come from indulging and having fun with vibrant colours; others are more traditional styles specific to different places or cultures.
HOME & LIFE
I don’t have a particular style – the spaces I decorate tell me their story and I work around that.
HOME & LIFE
My apartment is like a photo album of snapshots of my time in Asia, with small hints of my life in Egypt and Europe – everything tells a story. My style in Rome is completely different. It’s a classical and traditional Italian approach with family antiques and collections. In many ways, Hong Kong reflects my true character and personality while my home in Rome reflects my heritage and roots. What are a few things you like to do in Hong Kong when you’re not working? I love the sun, so if I’m not on my roof enjoying it, I’ll be at one of Hong Kong’s many beaches with a good book! I also love to throw dinner parties and create whimsical tablescapes to match new recipes or a theme that I create for the evening.
Where’s the first place you’d like to go for leisure travel when borders are fully open, and why? The idea of quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong deterred me from travelling for a long time. But there came a time when enough was enough, and last summer I took the plunge – when quarantine was still at its peak of three weeks – and travelled to Rome. From there, I went to Marrakech, Paris and London. Marrakech is one of my favourite places, still full of artisans and novelties, little stores where you can lose yourself in a wondering daydream. It’s a place where you can see your ideas transformed to reality in a few hours by artisans, which is what I really love; above all, it’s about searching for new ideas, products and designs that make this type of creativity food for the soul. My next trip will be to Puglia in Southern Italy with my family, and then Tuscany.
HOME & LIFE
Susanna’s Recommendations When it comes to shopping, I’ve always loved markets of all sorts, from the flower market to textiles and collectables in Sham Shui Po, and everything in between. I’m not one for shopping malls and home-related products from a store. Maybe it’s because I have been in the industry for so long but for me the three best sources of homeware are from a market; from a trade show such as Maison & Objet in Paris, where I can discover new trends and designs; or, if I really want something, I will design and manufacture it myself.
HOME & LIFE
composition are all lively and organic. Similarly, we hope our designs can help people to free up their minds so they can find that space has no visible boundary; they can always explore a space with different feelings. What kind of services do you offer, and what kind of projects do you work on? We offer interior design and project management services. For our residential project, we also partner closely with selected contractors to do the construction work.
UDO LAM and FRANKIE CHAO are the founders of design studio O t h e r w h e r e . Since launching in 2016, they’ve received a stack of high-profi le awards, including a t t h e A s i a Pacific Interior Design Awards. We asked them for insights into their distinctive aesthetic.
Tell us about Otherwhere: who started it, when, and with what aim in mind? We founded the studio in 2016. Our aim was to bring a new perspective of spatial design to people through our work. We believe that space should be able to bring together human emotion and lifestyle, and we hope our designs can provide the right kind of atmosphere for people living a hectic and fast-paced lifestyle to explore the inner side of life. Our company name actually started with the Chinese words “shan wai”, which means “place beyond the mountain and forest”. It’s an abstract idea from traditional landscape painting. Imagine when you’re looking at a painting; you act like an observer sitting in a place that is “otherwhere”, beyond the artistic scene. You’ll find the layers and patterns in the painting’s What is the significance of the company name?
HOME & LIFE
The element of serenity in our work reflects a lifestyle that we like and crave
For the past few years, our focus has been more on residential projects, with some retail and F&B projects in Hong Kong and mainland China too. How does your design philosophy differ from other firms? We always start a design by considering the emotional and psychological comfort of the user. We want to emphasise that no matter whether a space is for living or for a commercial purpose, it should also be a refuge for emotion and soul. We’re not saying we ignore the functionality of the space. However, building technology and skills nowadays are so very advanced that they can take care of most of the practical issues; we try to position ourselves as designers who pull everything together with an emotional touch. We think this is how our firm differs from others.
How has COVID informed your approach to design? The pandemic has obviously shifted people from an outdoor and public lifestyle into a more physically inward one. As people are spending much more time indoors, we find our clients are seeking more personalised spaces that can offer more on both a functional and spiritual level compared to a pre-COVID time. With this in mind, how to introduce a personalised element – greenery, leisure spaces or hobby-related features, for example – into a design has become one of the key approaches in our recent projects. On a practical level, we’re also more concerned about the air quality within a space. So, questions that are often on our design checklist include, “How can we enhance the air-flow for a better layout?” and “How could greenery help improve the air composition here?” There seems to be a strong element of serenity in much of your work; is this a response to COVID-19 or has it always been part of your design aesthetic? The element of serenity in our work is reflective of a lifestyle that we like and crave – it’s always been part of our design aesthetic. Having said that, we’re finding more and more people are seeking to achieve serenity in their lives through our designs, due to the massive impact of the pandemic on everyone. What is Otherwhere planning for the future? We’d like to involve ourselves more in projects that resonate with our design philosophy; beauty salons, yoga and meditation centres, businesses that are about people’s health and wellness – these will be key focuses. Also, we would like to start building our corporate social responsibility by helping disadvantaged groups in society, including the elderly. During the pandemic, the poor condition of care homes and centres for the elderly is said to have contributed to the COVID situation. As designers, we feel like we could contribute more to help improve this. So, getting involved in projects like care homes and rehabilitation centres and clinics is another direction we’re hoping to develop at Otherwhere in the coming years.
Findoutmoreaboutthecompanyanditsprojectsatotherwhere.hk, and contact them at 2152 1050 or email@example.com.
Where are you from originally? What do you miss about it? I was born and raised in the Philippines. Apart from some of the best beaches best in the world, I miss the pancit peking from the family-owned restaurant where my grandma used to take me whenever I visited her in the school break. I think Filipino food is underrated in Hong Kong, so allowme to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to give it a try! What brought you to Hong Kong? I lived in Canada for a time, where I worked as a flight attendant – Hong Kong was a frequent layover destination. Even before I met my partner, who lives here, I’ve always been fascinated by the city’s vibrant vibe. Of all the places I’ve travelled, HK captured my heart the most because of its impressive hodgepodge of Eastern and Western cultures. What do you do here? I’m an English teacher for children aged two to six, and a certified professional organiser – and I’m passionate about both professions. The latter was spawned by my desire to inspire and motivate people to achieve sustainable home organisation efforts that are relative to maintaining a good sense of emotional and mental wellbeing. BelyingthebusynatureofStaunton Street below, the home of Filipino Canadianandcertifiedprofessional organiser MARIANNE OBENA is a calm, clutter-free retreat.
PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL PERINI
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had outgrown the space and felt we needed more latitude for our lifestyle. Since the neighbourhood worked perfectly for us and because our friends lived nearby, we made an effort to find something close at hand. The character is what first drewme in. Do you know the feeling you get, as though something dormant in you has been reignited? That’s how it felt the moment we entered the house. The high ceiling kind of gives us a sense of liberty and power. Since we love entertaining guests, an open-floor plan makes socialising while attending to individual activities feasible. The large windows allow in lots of natural light, which not only saves energy but gives you a happy mood when the sun’s rays tap your face. What do you like about the location? We’re right in the heart of everything – there are restaurants, bars, supermarkets, a sports ground, hiking, shopping, and it’s also within walking distance from the harbour if you suddenly feel like a relaxing walk. Being right in front of PMQ lets us enjoy occasional events and pop-up shops with local vendors showcasing their products. What attracted you to this particular place?
Tell us a bit about HomeMakeover HK. It’s my quarantine brainchild! The idea dawned on me after I organised my mom’s home while on a holiday vacation in Toronto. When I came back, I got my certification and business plan sorted out while in quarantine. Home Makeover HK was launched in April 2022. Living in a cluttered space, let alone a small one, can be overwhelming. Old habits die hard. Procrastinating around home organisation efforts is a habit that needs attention and practice before it can be rectified. But taking easy baby steps won’t hurt – especially when they can lead you to achieve emotional and mental benefits of a clutter-free environment, at home or in the office. At Home Makeover HK, we introduce systems that are tailored to fit your decluttering situation and ultimate goals. Tell us a bit about your home: how long have you lived here, and where were you previously? My partner had been living in our older apartment – just two blocks fromwhere we are now – for over six years before the cats and I moved in. It’s located in a high-rise building on Elgin Street where the views are nothing short of amazing. As much as we loved keeping the place, though, we
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Is there a spot in the home that you enjoy the most? My piano area by the window. I started taking lessons last year as a form of stress release. At night, I plug in my earphones and blast the volume, draw the curtains and enjoy the peace and serenity of being alone with the music! The apartment was completely empty. We furnished it with every piece we previously owned and added multipurpose furniture where we can stow things. Everything we have right now was carefully selected based on our personal style, where functionality and good taste aren’t mutually exclusive. Our home is a safe haven that’s perfect for our relaxation – we didn’t want to add any unnecessary items to compromise the feeling of serenity. Run us through any changes you’ve made to your home.
for living a more clutter-free life
Problem: A messy home Solution: Clutter is just delayed decisions! #1 Ask yourself if you tend to delay actions in other aspects of your life and understand why that’s so. #2 Only handle everything once, and do 1 Minute Daily Micro Cleaning. #3 Make 1 Minute Daily Micro Cleaning a habit. Problem: Too much stuff Solution: Don’t just organise, minimise #1 Be aware of your shopping habits, and stop accepting castoffs just because they look nice and “you might need it later”. #2 Always shop with a list. #3 Buy for who you are now, not for who you want to be later. #4 If it isn’t a need, you’re not saving money, no matter how good the sale is. #5 Keep one bin in your home where you can put stuff you don’t need. When you fill the bin, drop the items off for donation. A lot more people will benefit from things you don’t need than keeping them in storage. Hacks for small spaces #1 Utilise vertical space. If you don’t have space, build it! #2 Large Styrene Dividers by MUJI are one of my favourite organising products. They can be used for organising bakeware, books, bags, towels, files – pretty much anything you can think of. #3 Designate a command centre in your home where you keep your family calendar, school slips, mail, memo board, grocery list, cleaning, decluttering schedule and so on, plus a landing zone where you keep your keys, wallets, bags, shoes, jackets and sporting equipment at the end of each day so you don’t waste time looking for them in the morning. #4 Most importantly, bins and baskets alone won’t make you organised. You have to create easy-to-maintain and sustainable systems based on your lifestyle and your family’s needs. Be patient; once you clear out your space, your visual field is no longer overwhelming and all the effort is worth it!
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One necessity was an upgrade of the walk in closet in the bedroom. The apartment was so bare that it didn’t even come with closets. While this would be a turn-off for many, we saw it as an opportunity to create a functional walk-in closet. Now we have a storage space that fully serves its function along with aesthetics. We also created a small bar area that works for serving drinks and as a coffee station. Whenever we have friends over, my partner mixes Aperol Spritzes (our favoured aperitivo – he’s from Venice!) while food is prepared on the other side of the room. That way, we don’t overcrowd one area, and our guests can have a good time. What are a few things you like to do in Hong Kong when you’re not working? I enjoy peaceful solo activities like yoga, walking on Bowen Trail, and calligraphy. Sometimes, the more I socialise, the more I get distracted; so whenever I see a pocket of time, I summon positivity through these activities. But I don’t bar myself from hanging around with good friends, doing karaoke on rainy nights or wake-surfing!
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DINING & DRINKS The Chinese Library for the one of the best ducks and dim sum Man Mo Dim Sum for a quality fusion of Eastern and Western cuisine Giando for an intimate full Italian experience AMA Ristorante for Roman and Italian dishes with the freshest ingredients Marianne’s Recommendations SHOPPING & SERVICES Tablo for Italian lifestyle items such as tableware, kitchenware and home décor Plantin Kaviari for online delivery of fresh truffles, caviar, and fine foods Lilly and Co Shop for handmade Canadian jewellery @White for one-of-a-kind sustainable fashion, accessories, crystals and shoes LaMy Dragonfly for garments and kimonos, towels, tea towels lovingly crafted by hand Jack Of All Trades for the best handyman in the area Silvia Ye Photography for family-friendly event shoots and portraits Junels Restobar for Filipino food cravings The Brunch Club for easy Sunday brunches The Old Man for unique and creative cocktails Stazione Novella for a casual aperitivo
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The latex pillows at Heveya are made from the same sustainable material as the mattresses. They have an open cell structure and a design that incorporates ventilation holes; together, this means good brea thabi l i ty and moi s ture regulation. The brand’s bamboo bedsheets are made with 100 percent bamboo lyocell, which has a soft, feathery texture similar to silk, but isn’t as shiny or slippery. Bamboo’s porous microstructure makes it an incredible material for regulating temperature; it wicks away moisture on hot nights and keeps you cosy when things cool down. The fibres are also naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. Linen sheets are another option; Heveya’s have a beautiful texture and natural look, and they’re incredibly breathable. Flax linen has a molecular structure that allows for a looser weave, which provides proper ventilation and means dust and particles don’t get trapped, so it’s a great choice for those with sensitive skin. Both the bamboo and linen sheets are Oekotex Class 1 certified, so they’re suitable even for babies. Finally, Heveya’s organic duvet solves the dilemma of feeling too hot or too cold depending on the changeable conditions at this time of year. It’s lightweight and breathable, with quality organic cotton and bamboo lyocell fibre; it’s also naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, easily washable (no wet and lumpy feathers here…), and available in different sizes to suit your bed. While nobody can predict what the weather might hold over the Hong Kong autumn, there’s plenty we can do to set ourselves up for a better quality sleep each night. Heveya is at 13/F, The Plaza LKF, 21 D’Aguilar Street, Central. Call 6286 1132 or visit heveya.hk to find out more.
Did you know, for example, that September last year was the hottest on record in HK? There were not only 15 days that were classified as “very hot”, but 11 nights that were considered “hot”. On 22 September, the maximum reached a scorching 34 degrees! With the heat came plenty of rain and storms too. While humans generally aren’t keen on these kinds of humid conditions, bacteria, mould and dust mites all thrive in them. And this is something to keep in mind when it comes to the sleep setup Autumn in Hong Kong d o e s n ’ t n e c e s s a r i l y mean consistently cool temperatures – theweather can vary dramatically.
in our bedrooms. Bedding expert Heveya has products that combine temperature regulating comfort and hypoallergenic properties to keep nasties at bay in autumn and all year round. Heveya mattresses , for example, consist of layers of organic latex that is naturally dust mite and mould resistant, so they’re the ideal choice for anyone prone to allergies. They’re solely made of GOLS organic certified latex rubber foam, harvested from only sustainable sources – nothing else. That means no pesticides, heavy metals, VOCs or glues that can put your health in harm's way. They also come with a bamboo cover with organic cotton padding; the cover is fully removable and cleanable, allowing for the most hygienic sleeping environment.
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Create a sleep-worthy haven inyour homewithour inspiring selection of furniture, bedding and accessories.
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1 Linen sheets, heat-regulating, hypoallergenic and made from 100 percent ethically sourced and certified organically grown flax, Heveya 2 Emma original mattress with breathable, temperature-regulating technology and Emma signature box bed, premium materials and fabric, classic Scandinavian design, easy assembly, Emma 3 Luxury weighted blanket with bamboo duvet cover, available in three different colours, Dormu 4 Organic duvet, 100 percent organic cotton cover with bamboo lyocell padding, breathable, naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, Heveya 5 Nude three-drawer dresser in plywood and oak veneer, featuring a soft grey inset leather top, Indigo Living 6 Puro chest-of-ten-drawers, in lacquered carved solid wood, Tequila Kola 7 Circa17 bed, designed with compact homes in mind, with a clean design that aligns against vertical surfaces to maximise floor space, TREE
8 Manuel Canova fabric and wallpaper collection, Altfield Interiors 9 Nude bedroom range, created by renowned Hong Kong designer Natasha O Usher in collaboration with Indigo Living 10 Spindle bed, bedside table and bench, crafted from sustainably sourced European white oak, with clean-lined spokes and gently tapered legs, TREE 11 Gold vein slim chest-of-drawers, in solid wood and brass-plated steel, Tequila Kola 12 Super-soft fleece flannel blanket, perfect for indoor and outdoor use, with 100 percent microfibre polyester fabric providing fade resistance and long use, LV Luxury Bedding 13 Osaka one-drawer bedside table in brass finish and stainless steel frame, and Verde table lamp, in green glass base with green fabric shade, Tequila Kola 14 Emma memory-foam pillow, provides support and perfect posture throughout the night, with adjustable height and firmness, Emma 15 Colefax & Fowler spring-summer 2022 fabric and trimming collection, Altfield Interiors
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Altfield Interiors 1101, Nine Queen’s Road, Central 2525 2738 | altfield.com.hk Dormu 9735 9006 | dormusleep.com Emma 5808 0220 | emma-mattress.hk Heveya 13/F, The Plaza LKF, 21 D'Aguilar Street, Central 6286 1132 | heveya.hk Indigo Living 6/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau 2555 0540 | indigo-living.com LV Luxury Bedding 9634 6563 | lvluxurybedding.com Tequila Kola 1/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau 2877 3295 | tequilakola.com TREE 28/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau 2870 1582 | tree.com.hk
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