April-May 2017





Fairs & Festivals

Love & Relationships

Inspiring People MenOn TheMove 3 Beautiful HOMES

Finland Stopover Desert Hiking


Whenever I tell people that I’m an editor for a magazine, they get a bit excited, and I usually spend several minutes trying to dispel the myth that it’s a glamorous gig. Most of my working hours are spent hunched over a keyboard, quietly tapping away, reading and sending sometimes hundreds of emails a day, or proofreading until late at night until my eyes are square. And I’m almost always in comfy pants and slippers – definitely no glamour there! This month, though, I’m writing the editor’s note as I sit in a business class seat, 30,000 feet over Indonesia on my way back to Hong Kong after seeing Adele live in concert in Brisbane (and yes, it was amazing!). Between movies and three-course meals I’m working on features for this issue, and so far I’ve written about diamonds and champagne, and finished my review of one of HK’s hottest new restaurants. So, there goes my argument! The truth is, whether it’s glamorous or not, I love all aspects of this job – from writing at the kitchen table between school runs, to representing the mag at an event, to working with our amazing team to get the issue just right. This happens to be my 20th issue of Expat Living , and after all this time my favourite part of the job, the highlight of the cycle for me, is the day the brand new issue arrives on my doorstep. I still get a kick out of it, and I really hope you’re all just as excited to get your copies! Until next time.

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PS: I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our parent mag in Singapore on its 15th anniversary. What an achievement!



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Cover: Teresa’s Turkish Towels (hkturkish.com)




UPFRONT 14 What’s New 16 What’s On 18 Follow Us! HOME & PROPERTY 22 News 26 * Showcase:

Calendar of upcoming events

Maria Bizri’s Southside family home

33 Focus on Furnishings: Chinoiserie at Altfield Gallery 36 * Showcase: Justine Campbell’s Chung Hom Kok home 47 Choose the Right Rug 48 Buying Guide: Fabulous floor coverings 50 * Showcase: Mawgan Batt’s Happy Valley apartment 56 Buying Guide: Asian furniture finds 58 On the Market: Properties for sale and lease

26 Inside a mid-

century Repulse Bay pad

LIFE & FAMILY 64 News 65 Rated PG: Our regular parenting column 68 New Books 70 Shopping Spotlight:

Oriental items for the home 56


Summer swimwear for kids

We preview the upcoming Prestige Fair

72 Wall Candy:

A guide to the Affordable Art Fair

75 Dazzling Diamonds:

Buyers explain how they found their stones

77 Insurance Update:

The importance of an international policy

78 Making a Difference:

Scott Neeson and the Cambodian Children’s Fund 81 Summer Activities for Kids 83 Relocating with Pets 84 Social Pages: Photos from recent parties and openings

Showcase Features: Each issue, our home showcase features provide a through-the-keyhole look into some of our readers’ lifestyles and their interior design decisions. If you’d like us to profile your own home – whether it’s beautiful, quirky, historic or modern – and you’re willing to be interviewed and photographed, drop us a line at info@expatliving.hk.




BODY & MIND 92 News 93 Skincare Review: The Strand 94 Our Guide to Hair Removal 97 Healthy Hair: Tips from the team at Jean Louis David 98 Double Act: Expat couples and the importance of support 100 Investing in Love 102 People Profile: Max Woodward, captain of the HK Sevens side 104 Buying Guide: Super swimwear for spring and summer 106 Light & Relaxed The new vibe in menswear for 2017 WINE & DINE 112 News 113 Taste Test: New restaurants reviewed 116 Beautiful Bubbly: 10 facts about champagne

128 Make your

TRAVEL 120 News 122 5 Eco-chic Destinations 124 Europe Stopover: Discovering Finland 128 Adventure Escapes: From SE Asia to the South Pole 130 Crossing Iran’s Fiercest Desert REGULARS 134 Important Numbers to Keep Handy 135 Our Advertisers 136 Parting Shot: My Hong Kong love affair


Anyone for Italian?

next holiday an adventure




Discount Deal Planning an overseas move with children? There’s so much to plan and take into consideration when kids are involved. Expat health insurance specialists Cigna Global understand this and are trying to make things easier for those on the move by offering a 10 percent discount when families of four or more take up a policy (including all optional modules). Cigna offers three levels of cover and four optional additional benefits to choose from, so you can create an international health plan tailored to your needs. Cigna Global Customer Service, 15/F, 28 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. 2539 9374 | cignaglobal.com

Cruise Control Norwegian Star, a flagship vessel of the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has returned to Hong Kong – its first time in Asian waters in 15 years. The move comes as NCL ramps up its presence in the region, after opening offices in HK, Singapore, Japan, India and mainland China last year. A new vessel, Norwegian Joy , is set to service the China market from July, and the Norwegian Jewel will be coming to the Asia-Pacific region in November, homeporting in Australia for an array of domestic and trans-Tasman sailings. NCL’s premium cruise brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, are also operating Asian itineraries this year. 2165 6000 | ncl.com

Design Insights Insight School of Interior Design has courses for everyone. You can get an overview of interior design in an eight-day Introduction to Interior Design course, which begins in October 2017; or, if you’re looking for something more in-depth, try the Residential Interiors Certificate. It starts in September and you can choose to study full-time for three months or part-time for one year. Insight School also offers over 15 short courses, and the first five EL readers to email info@ insightschoolhk.com will win a one-day short course worth HK$2,600. In your email, explain which short course you’d like to win and why. 2114 2021 | insightschoolhk.com

FRENCH CONNECTION Luxury properties on a working wine estate at Château Capitoul in the South of France are being released by developers Domaine & Demeure . Located in the Languedoc region, just four kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, Château Capitoul is on the edge of the Massif de la Clape nature reserve. The45properties for sale range from 80 to 200 square metres in size, with two to four bedrooms. All are furnished and have outside space for cooking and dining, while the larger houses have gardens with private swimming pools. The Château building has a restaurant and a spa, and owners will also get an annual allocation from the vineyard’s yield. 9539 1329 | domainedemeure.com



SPORT Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens (7-9 APRIL)

Tourists from around the world descend on the city to catch the action at the Hong Kong Sevens, considered the premier tournament in the World Rugby Sevens Series. The three-day tournament takes place at Hong Kong Stadium at Causeway Bay, and features top teams playing lightning-fast 15-minute matches. Tickets are hard to come by due to demand, but a party atmosphere permeates the whole city, so you can still be part of the fun at one of the many satellite events. A highlight on the city’s sporting calendar. hksevens.com 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships (12-16 APRIL) More than 300 of the world’s top cyclists will compete in Hong Kong when the city plays host to the 2017 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Track Cycling World Championships in April. The competition will be held at the Hong Kong Velodrome, and is just the second time in track cycling history that Asia has hosted the event. It marks the growing popularity of the sport here, following HK’s first ever Olympic medal in cycling (Lee Wai Sze at the 2012 London Games). uci.ch

FAMILY Songkran Hong Kong 2017 (9 APRIL)

The Thai community celebrates Thai New Year with the Songkran Festival, centred around activities and celebrations that pay tribute to the role of water in society. It has a boisterous and light- hearted side involving fun and water fights, while also acknowledging the importance of family and community. Celebrations will be held in and around the Carpenter Road playground in Kowloon. Expect Thai dance and cultural performances, boxing demonstrations and a parade. waterfest.hk Pediatrics & Parenting Conference 2017: From Birth to Teens (22 APRIL) The city’s first Pediatrics & Parenting Conference will see health and parenting institutions, practitioners and organisations all under one roof. The conference will showcase products and services from 23 kid- focused organisations, including healthcare clinics and baby and children product providers. There will also be a range of panel discussions to inform and educate parents on topics relevant from birth to teens. Panel discussions will include key physical and emotional milestones, navigating the parent- helper-child triangle and handling sibling rivalry. pediatricsparenting.com

Country of Origin 30km Trail Run (22 APRIL)

This event brings together teams from different nationalities for a great day out on the trails of Lantau Island. The route is a 30km clockwise loop starting and finishing in Mui Wo, outside the China Bear pub next to the ferry terminal. Teams must have three members from the same nationality (any gender and age combination); male, female or mixed teams are welcome and teams must start, run and finish together. Fancy dress in national costume or colours is encouraged. countryoforigin.asia





Geronimo Stilton Live in the Kingdom of Fantasy (4-7 MAY) Talking mouse Geronimo Stilton is a mild-mannered journalist who finds himself constantly caught up in adventures. In this stage production of the popular children’s book series, he sets off to save the Queen of the Fairies. To succeed, he must walk through seven doors which transport him through different kingdoms, where he encounters witches, mermaids, pixies and a giant. Suitable for six- to 12-year-olds. hkticketing.com Russell Howard (27 MAY)

Le French GourMay (1-31 MAY)

Michelin-starred chefs and restaurants, along with wine importers and distributors, are joining forces for the ninth edition of Francophile festival Le French GourMay. The festival is dedicated to the promotion of French wine culture and culinary arts in Hong Kong and Macau, and honours a different wine and gastronomy region each year; Champagne will be in the spotlight this year. The event is part of Le French May, which celebrates all forms of French culture. frenchgourmay.com 25th Great Chefs of Hong Kong (27 APRIL)

The Great Chefs of Hong Kong is back to delight foodies at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. This unique dining experience brings together top chefs from nearly 50 of HK’s favourite dining destinations including the Grand Hyatt, the InterContinental, VEA Restaurant and Lounge, Wynn Palace and The Peninsula

One of the UK’s most popular comedians, Russell Howard is bringing his Round The World tour to Hong Kong. Howard is the star of BBC Three’s most popular entertainment show, Russell

SHOPPING Summer Sparkles: A Grand Shopping Affair (19 MAY) The annual Kowloon Bazaar is back and better than ever. A huge range of unique local and international vendors will be showcasing products and services, from authentic handicrafts, couture and designer wear to household items, gifts, fashion accessories, jewellery and more. There will also be samples and lucky draw giveaways on the day. Don’t miss the fun of the fair! kowloonbazaar.com Howard’s Good News , and he has hosted two series of Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central on Comedy Central. He has millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers and is taking this tour across 11 countries and three continents, including 10 nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London. hkticketing.com

Boutique. Patrons will savour the best of the world’s cuisines and meet the chefs, with proceeds going to Heep Hong Society’s Parents Resource Centres, which support special needs children, youths and their families. heephong. org/greatchefs


West Side Story (18 MAY – 11 JUNE)

Considered the greatest Broadway musical of all time, West Side Story tells the tale of two rival immigrant gangs in New York’s Upper West Side, the Jets and the Sharks. Combining a love story, action thriller and social study, it’s choreographed by the legendary Jerome Robbins, with a memorable score by Leonard Bernstein that combines jazz, classical and Latin American music and timeless song lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. westsidestoryhk.com

KEY DATES 4 April – Ching Ming Festival 14 April – Good Friday 17 April – Easter Monday 1 May – Labour Day 3 May – Buddha’s birthday 30 May – Tuen Ng Festival

17 APR-MAY2017

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19 APR-MAY 17


56 Buying Guide:

Asian and Oriental finds

TREE Antique Lanterns Variety

26 Southside Showcase: A Repulse Bay home that's ideal for entertaining

47 Magic Carpets: Tips for choosing the right rug

58 Property Watch: Apartments and houses for lease and sale


Crown Jewel Looking to rent a well-located apartment with a stunning view and state-of-the-art gym and spa facilities? Queen’s Garden in Mid-Levels offers all this in its spacious one- to four-bedroom multi-storey apartments, which have floor-to-ceiling windows for breathtaking vistas. The property has an open-air sky garden on the 23rd floor, ideal for outdoor entertaining, and the gym and spa complex includes a spa, sauna, aerobics room, golf simulator, outdoor heated swimming pool, children’s playgrounds, cigar divan and squash courts. 9338 7380 | queensgarden.com

Eco-chic furniture store TREE has introduced new items to its range of sustainable furniture and homewares. The expanded Elevate and Soul furniture collections, made from recycled teak wrapped around an albasia wood core, now include desks, multi-racks, TV cabinets, wine cabinets and console tables. TREE has also extended its range of upholstered dining table seats and is stocking a new sofa, the Mona, with a low-level frame and chic raised legs. The store’s terracotta ceramics have been given a reboot, too, with vibrant turquoise blues and gun-metal greys. Find TREE at Horizon Plaza, Sha Tin and Sai Kung. tree.com.hk Home is Where the Art is Eight Kwai Fong has raised the bar when it comes to serviced apartments. Forget the feel of a soul-less hotel, this New World Group award-winning property offers a blend of design and aesthetics, including a unique collection of furniture, artefacts and display art from around the world. Conveniences for guests include a fully equipped dining room, barbecue facilities, a gym with multi-fitness devices and a picturesque rooftop terrace. Eight Kwai Fong has 156 fully furnished and serviced studios and one-bedroom apartments. 8 Kwai Fong Street, Happy Valley. 2929 1228 | 8kf.com.hk NewLooks toLove

Style to Suit all Tastes Home f u r n i s h i n g r e t a i l e r I n d i g o L i v i n g ’s s p r i n g / summer collections feature more than 1,000 new products, from furnishings and accessories to lighting and artwork. Choose from the on-trend coastal-inspired Beach Class, the demure Pretty in Pink, the

contemporary Urban Chic or the tropical Caribbean Easy ranges. Indigo is now also the exclusive HK retailer for celebrated British interior designer and style influencer Kelly Hoppen’s new Retrospective furniture collection. Free delivery for those ordering online and registering an account for the first time. Find store locations at indigo-living.com .




Rethink Renting New tax rules for UK residential property are coming into effect in April, US and UK tax advisory firm Buzzacott warns, with the aim to discourage buy- to-let investment. Tighter restrictions on offsetting mortgage interest and other costs are being phased in. This could mean increased taxes and disallowance of rental expenses incurred. Companies that let properties can continue to offset most costs in full, though Buzzacott urges people who have been using a company to protect themselves from inheritance tax to assess their situation. From April, UK residential property will move into the inheritance tax net, even if it’s held in a company. Find out how the changes might affect you at buzzacott.hk/ukproperty . Cult Australian bedding brand SackMe! has arrived in Hong Kong. The fun, funky designs are the brainchild of Li-Ann Scott, a former commercial architect who had a career change after having twin boys. She started a graphic design business but inspiration struck when she was searching for affordable but stylish bedding for her sons. The mix-and-match pieces are 100 percent Oeko-Tex certified (the international standard for textile products), and the collection is being stocked at the iDecorate stores in Times Square and Queensway Plaza. idecorateshop.com Sweet Dreams

Carpet Classics Rug and carpet specialist CarpetBuyer has acquired a rare collection of antique fine Persian carpets and is showcasing these works of master-weavers from a bygone era to its HK clients for the first time. Pieces include an antique Isfahan extra-fine wool carpet on a silk base from the 1930s, a 1950s Nain wool rug with silk highlights and a garden and birds design, and a 1970s Qum rug that is 100 percent silk on a silk base. Weakened international currencies mean these masterpieces come at very competitive prices. Horizon Plaza, 26/F, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau. 2850 5508 | carpetbuyer.com

Easy Living The living room is the focus of the 2017 collection of British furniture and interiors company Timothy Oulton . In recognition that people use this key space in different ways, the company has included two distinct design concepts in its vintage-inspired style. The Ultralounge concept provides a new level of comfort, with slouchy sofas with wide armrests, perfect for chilling out. Meanwhile, the Hosted Living range is ideal for entertaining, with elegant and refined conversation pieces, featuring rich, contrasting textures in velvets, leathers and brass.Visit the Timothy Oulton store in Gough Street, Central, or the gallery in HD Buttercup in Horizon Plaza. timothyoulton.com

Image: www.timothyoulton.com




Amid-20th-centuryhouse with expansive views and space to party dishes up the ideal Southside family home for Pomegranate Kitchen founder MARIA BIZRI and her family.





C hatting to Maria Bizri, founder of Southside private dining venue Pomegranate Kitchen, it becomes clear that her family has achieved a seemingly impossible feat in this most cutthroat of real estate markets. Not only did they identify the perfect 3,500-square-foot family home in beautiful Repulse Bay, but, unusually for Hong Kong, they have remained there for seven years – and counting.

Maria explains: “We moved to Hong Kong from Jakarta in 2010 with my husband’s work and we’ve been living in the same house on Headland Road ever since, in a building built in the late 40s to early 50s. It has a mid-century modern feel, and is laid out beautifully, with all the rooms overlooking an 800-square-foot covered terrace, which means that we can use it year-round.” Maria particularly loves that all the rooms are interconnected, and that they “flow perfectly”.

27 APR-MAY2017

The family – Maria, husband Rehan, daughters Leia and Maya, and family dogs Caspar (a Bichon Frise) and Ginger (an Australian Cavoodle) – all appreciate the rare outdoor space. “It’s built with entertaining in mind, and it lends itself to parties. We host lots of brunches, barbecues, long lunches and dinners, a few of which turn into impromptu dance parties!” With its built-in seating, the terrace offers breathtaking views of the sea and stunning sunsets. Maria says, “The 50s were a great time for design, and the architect obviously had the same image that I did when I first stepped out on the balcony: women in long, flowing dresses, holding martinis with incredibly coiffed hair and painted nails!”

It’s clear that hosting and entertaining are among Maria’s main motivators, both in her career and also at home. “I’m not sure I can call it a ‘style’,” she says, when asked about her approach to décor, “but the one thing I always consider when I move into a new home is making sure it’s comfortable, warm and welcoming. I hope that’s what our guests feel when they visit!” Meaningful memories With an eclectic mix of home furnishings and striking art pieces, Maria has certainly achieved her goal of creating a cosy, comfortable haven. “Our home is filled with things we picked up along our travels. Some are sentimental and some are just things we like.” Maria freely




29 APR-MAY2017

admits that many items have strong emotional attachments, and when asked how she sourced the key pieces in her home, explains the strong values that continue to guide her. “As a young couple, my husband and I bought what we could afford. Our first home had a dining table top with no base, as we couldn’t afford the one that we wanted! Throughout our life, we’ve retained that need to fall in love with things.” At this, she ponders: “I call them ‘things’, but maybe I shouldn’t; we live with the vision, beliefs, sweat and tears of other people. Perhaps we

tend to acquire the hard work of those who speak our language.” Nowhere is this connection more evident than in Maria’s most treasured collection, her father’s enamelwork pieces. “He’s not a working artist; it’s a passion that has allowed him to express himself and live more comfortably with himself. I love how he inscribes them with the often-controversial verses of great poets. You have to look closely to see the inscriptions, which are playful and poignant at the same time. They’re perfect!”




That said, Maria insists that her pieces are scattered around the house in no particular order – “there’s no favouritism where I stand!” – which means that her father’s work shares prominence with a striking painting by Australian artist Todd Hunter, along with other eye-catching art, a cosy reading nook, and an extensive collection of interesting curios throughout the home. She also has a soft spot for her three favourite Persian carpets, “partly because they are old and have managed to age gracefully, and partly because the workmanship means that I have to respect them.” Work-life balance As her daughters have grown older, Maria has found that this spacious home has easily adapted to the family’s changing needs, helped in no small part by that most valuable of Hong Kong commodities: space. “As it’s an old apartment, it was built with entertaining and family living in mind. We have two large storage spaces – a pantry and a back storeroom – which I know is very rare in Hong Kong!” And while she acknowledges that her daughters may eventually require the workspace currently given over to the guest bedroom, Maria herself no longer uses the family home as an extension of her business. “I did work from home when I first started Pomegranate Kitchen,” she says, “but we had to move out after about a year as we needed more space; plus, my husband and girls were fed up with seeing food they couldn’t eat!” Whenasked for her recommendations of where to shop, Maria once again stresses her emotional connection with the pieces that inhabit her home. “I’m an impulsive buyer and not really a ‘shopper’. The only recommendation I can give is that if you see a piece and it speaks to you on any level, buy it. It may one day be a reminder of a different you, but that’s also okay.”

31 APR-MAY2017


Furnishings VeryFine

A stalwart on the city’s interior design scene, Altfield has been in the business of beautiful homes for 35 years.We spoke to founder AMANDA CLARK about the brand and all things Chinoiserie.


Tell us about the early days of Altfield. It was set up 35 years ago when I came out to Hong Kong as a young designer and met my business partner David Halperin. I had grown up in HK, and our business began with a focus on antiques, however with my background in design I very soon added interior furnishings and decorative accessories to the mix. We were certainly one of the first such businesses here to offer lifestyle, interior design, antique furniture and works of art. It’s always been a mix of old and new, East and West, with fine expensive collectable pieces mixed with contemporary versions. I have clients who, like me, were in their early twenties when we began, and are still collecting and decorating with us all these years later. And how about the business today? Our Altfield Gallery (now in Prince’s Building) continues to flourish but our main business is Altfield Interiors, which supplies about 35 of the top international brands of interior fabrics, wall coverings, leather, lighting and accessories to the interior designer and architectural offices in HK. We opened a showroom in Macau to handle the growth of the casino market there, and then showrooms in Beijing and Shanghai followed; and last autumn we opened in Singapore. Our London showroom is now 20 years old, based in the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. Within a couple of years of starting Altfield we had an art studio set up that still creates lovely water colour paintings and screens. Often starting with copies of the antiques we bought and sold, or inspired by the private and museum collections I visited, I started creating a wide range of private label products – such as a line of Chinoiserie designs for mainly American fabric houses like Scalamandré, and products for retailers like Gumps and Neiman Marcus; the larger market overseas allowed us to invest in product development and to have decorative items to sell through our HK outlets. The products varied from paintings to needlepoint cushions, porcelain lamps, wall papers, lacquer or silver wares, and even jewellery. The font of inspiration is so huge and wonderful that I can’t imagine not carrying on creating!

33 APR-MAY2017


As a designer, where do you find inspiration? I was a child who loved to draw; but while my friends were drawing houses with a front door and a chimney, I was creating floor plans and working out how you could live in a space. My mother was incredibly stylish and I grew up reading her copies of Architectural Digest – in a time before social media and the web and a million images a day flooding into our lives, every image, every page, every item shown was studied and re-studied and thought about. I honestly think that is where my passion for design, art, antiques, style, balance and the art of living comes from. Growing up in Hong Kong, I was always captivated by the wonderful decorative arts of China, but also with the fabulous mix of cultures that was created by “the China trade” – the Chinese export arts that developed as the country gradually opened up to trade with the West from the 1700s onwards. A sort of fantasy of China was captured in the decorative designs painted on porcelains, silks, fans and walls, and over time a completely new sort of magical decoration developed. One must remember that prior to photography, paintings and drawings were the only glimpses into another country, and China was depicted as a land of exotic pagodas, flowers the size of dinner plates, and butterflies and birds in abundance in every possible colourful combination. It was seen as a land of gardens and endless summery nature – very intoxicating! The Western appetite for pretty decorative pieces was so You’re known for your passion for Chinoiserie; can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Any tips for those of us who might like to add a little Chinoiserie into our own homes? There’s a strong trend at the moment to bring colour back into decorating. Also, after a long period of very cold and minimalist design, there is a clear move towards layering and cocooning. This involves mixing in products that are going to add colour and charm; as they are usually based on nature, using motifs such as florals, birds, garden settings, it’s possible to bring nature inside in a very appealing way. Also, there’s a strong sense of whimsy in the decorative motifs that adds a light-hearted charm into both traditional or modern homes. I think that there is a timelessness to Chinoiserie designs; for example, blue and white porcelains and fabrics never go out of fashion, and by mixing florals and fretworks that hint of the Orient it does bring into any interior scheme a hint of the exotic.

strong that they soon began creating their own versions of Chinese designs, including Delft porcelains, lacquer work and printed cottons, which are in fact correctly called Chinoiserie – a Western version of Chinese style. This mix of East and West is always what I’ve tried to create – it is in fact a long tradition. All the fine European houses would have in them a mixture of Chinese porcelains, lacquer, textiles or rugs and watercolour paintings from the China trade, so it’s a continuation in a way of that tradition.

Altfield Gallery 249 Prince’s Building 10 Chater Road, Central 2537 6370 | gallery@altfield.com.hk Altfield Interiors 1101, Nine Queens Road, Central 2524 4867 | sales@altfield.com.hk









We sit downwith JUSTINECAMPBELL in her new Chung Hom Kok home to talk everything from Japanese cuisine and the hidden messages in art, to a special dog called Mintie. You’ve chosen to live in Asia for over half of your life: ten years in Japan, stints in Thailand, Indonesia and India, and almost nine years in Hong Kong. What keeps drawing you back to the East? From early on, there was something about the Orient that fascinated me, and today my Asian friends joke that I’m sometimes more Asian than they are! Growing up in Sydney in the 1980s, everyone was given the choice of studying French, German or Japanese at school, and I chose to study Japanese, eventually completing higher qualifications in the subject in Australia and Japan. I went to work for BMW in Tokyo and the longer I stayed, the more deeply I fell in love with the country. My husband Shaun is currently Managing Director of the Hong Kong Langham Hotel, and many of our stints in Asia have been due to his postings in various hotels – they’ve all been fascinating, but I’m particularly passionate about Japan. I speak fluent Japanese, I’m an expert when it comes to sushi, and everyone in our family adores Japanese food: in fact, I’ve just arrived back from a trip with a 50kg suitcase of tofu, rice balls, seafood, drinking yoghurt, miso soup and seaweed! We bought a house in Niseko four years ago, and we spend a lot of time there as a family: we all love it. The eclectic style in which you’ve decorated your Chung Hom Kok house certainly reflects the time you’ve spent living in different cultures: which pieces are your favourite? It’s true there are pieces of furniture from a host of different countries: opium chairs from Thailand; an antique cabinet from San Cabo in the US; a dining table we originally bought in Australia for our warehouse apartment and shipped over – it’s constructed from recycled railway boards! There are also a good few pieces from Hong Kong, including bedside cabinets I found at Bowerbird, and a beautiful table in the living room from Red Cabinet.

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My favourite pieces, though, are the artworks – I love art, but it has to have a special meaning for me, and every painting in the house speaks to different experiences, places or periods of my life. The artwork in the hall by the front door, for example, is a kid dressed up, with a peg on his nose and a rubbish tin on his head, but everyone sees something slightly different. You have to look at it really closely to work it out, but the message behind the painting is to remember the inner child! In the living room, above the sofa, the Chinese characters carved in wood are symbols of the heart and the crane: the thrust is that no matter what happens in your life, and the storms that come your way, the crane and the heart must remain strong. I’ve got another painting coming up from Australia called Boundless : an amazing picture of the ocean. When you look at it, there’s a sense you don’t know what’s over the horizon, but should that stop you from going out? I try to wake up every day and live bravely, and in fact the canvas in my office – a piece I bought in the US – sums up my philosophy. I have huge admiration for American scholar and research professor Brene Brown, and the piece of art depicts one of her tenets, which is: Show Up, Be Seen, Live Bravely. Her work is all about empowerment, and she did an amazing TED talk about the power of vulnerability. She started interviewing people about great love for a research project, and discovered that sizeable achievement is impossible without great pain. She posits an idea of an arena, like a sports stadium, which is filled with people. To achieve greatness, you must step into the arena, even though you might feel vulnerable. You’re still open to attack, and you may very well fall, but the important thing is showing up in the first place, and having the confidence to pick yourself up and try again when you do! I’m planning to run workshops in 2017 using the work of Brene Brown at Mindquest, my counselling and coaching practice. What prompted you to set up Mindquest Group in Hong Kong? My move into counselling and coaching came about soon after arriving in Hong Kong: I saw a gap in the market. I went on to do a Master’s degree in Counselling at Monash University, a graduate diploma in Positive Psychology at Melbourne University, and began a PhD in CBT while working as a counsellor: I enjoyed helping my clients, but felt like I was merely putting out fires – I would treat their symptoms, get people to a place where they were OK, but constantly wondered if there was more I could or should be doing. Then one of my clients urged me to look beyond traditional one-to-one counselling. I did another qualification to become a certified coach, and changed the focus of the company to Solutions-Focused Coaching using the principles of Positive Psychology. Now I’m committed to moving my clients beyond just being OK, to flourishing. Ultimately, Mindquest Group is about empowering individuals and organisations through the use of Positive Psychology, and it’s a technique I use myself, every day. For example, I’m currently involved in a project in Niseko: Enso Estate. With my European partners, we’re working with a Japanese architect and a Western architect to develop a residential community of 40 houses and a boutique hotel. I’m trying to find a unique marriage between two cultures, and I’m convinced I can extract the best from both architects – despite the fact neither speaks the other’s language! I’m also fascinated by the Chinese concept of chi, and how it flows through everything we do, so I’m determined the development will reflect that, and be something both special and beautiful. A lot of the Positive Psychology I utilise at Mindquest Group has come into play: what

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does the estate represent? What are its core values? How do people live? How do they entertain? What do they really need? To launch the project, and to share my love of Japan with friends and clients in Hong Kong, I recently organised an event at the house with the esteemed Chef Tatsuru of Rakuichi Niseko. Chef Tatsuru flew to Hong Kong for a special six-course dinner at the Langham, where he cooked alongside the resident chef at the three-Michelin-star T’ang Court to create a menu that was an incredible marriage between Japanese and Chinese cuisine. I was very happy he could also cook at my home, and it was a fantastic evening: friends, fun and laughter!

Sounds like you’re going to have your hands full over the next year, with a dozen different new projects! It’s true, and the property development is a big step for me; I don’t have any experience in that arena – apart from growing up with parents who were property developers! But my grandmother was my ultimate role model; she was incredibly strong and she taught me that you can do anything you

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want to do. That has carried me through in life. In the meantime, I’m continuously learning, at whatever I do. But I think it’s good to be a constant student – after all, curiosity keeps us interesting and young! We’ve also just had a new arrival to the family: Mintie the Tamaruke labradoodle. Far from being an extra burden, however, I’m sure she’s going to be a valuable new addition! She’s been specially trained in Australia to help people step into vulnerability: to help break down barriers, build rapport and step back into society. It’s well documented that dogs can actively help in schools with kids who have difficulties in reading, or those who have problems focusing, or regulating their emotions. We took Mintie to a park in Australia on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and the kids were like bees to honey: she’s very gentle, but she’s also gorgeous! There was one kid whose parents had been trying to get him to come and play, but he was withdrawn and entirely focused on playing games on his phone. Then he saw Mintie and instantly got up and came over. Mintie put her head on his lap, and he immediately started opening up and sharing that his school had a dog, but she wasn’t as lovely as this one! In fact, my son’s school has agreed to have Mintie join him from time to time – I know that HKIS also has a dog in the lower primary school; she’s apparently very popular! So, yes, a very busy time ahead. But hopefully a productive and fulfilling one, and, for the first time in years, our own home – because of Shaun’s job, we’ve been living in hotels for many years. It’s a brand new chapter for the Campbell family!




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DINING Zuma Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central 3657 6388 Wild Thyme 401 Lee Wai Commercial Building 1-3 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui 2577 3662 | wildthyme.hk Mangiare G/F, 44-55 Cadogan Street Kennedy Town 2336 3375 | mangiarehk.com SHOPPING Amalfitana Art Treasures Gallery G/F, 83B Hollywood Road, Central 2543 0430 | art-treasures-gallery.com Indigo Living 221-224 Landmark Prince’s Building 10 Chater Road, Central indigo-living.com/hk Red Cabinet 1-13 Hollywood Road, Central 2536 0123 GALLERIES Arthouse Gallery 66 McLachlan Avenue Rushcutters Bay, NSW, Australia arthousegallery.com.au Artsy artsy.net Cat Street Gallery 50 Tung Street, Tai Ping Shan thecatstreetgallery.com




Carpet Corner Nothing quite lifts a room like a beautiful carpet. We spoke to HEENA MIR of CarpetBuyer for her advice on how to choose the right one for your home, and more.

What do people need to consider when buying carpets in Hong Kong? Firstly, the style of their home and the colours; secondly, the size. We have over 4,000 carpets to choose from, and once our clients have settled on their solid pieces of furniture, like sofas and dining tables, we then help them through the process of finding the right carpet to go with their style or décor. Many HK homes have lovely wooden floors, which are great to lay carpets on, and with the extensive selection we have – from classic Persians and tribals to the latest designer rugs, all under one roof – it’s easy to find the perfect piece to adorn a home. Which fabrics or styles are most popular right now? There are many trends in carpets and we stock a vast range, so everyone can find their comfort zone in terms of what they like; having said that, over the past few years, Persian fine and tribal carpets have made a big comeback. It’s all about elegance, with rich colours, and designs incorporating swirls of leaves and vines, birds, flowers or tribal geometric patterns, either in plush wool or fine silk. These carpets work well with contemporary- style furnishings and give such a unique look, as each piece is a one-off and hand-made. They really are an artwork on the floor! We always suggest that you use padding under the carpet before placing it on the floor, to stop it from sliding. Next, before you put furniture on the carpet, get something like cork rings or squares and place them where the legs of the sofa or the coffee table will sit; this helps to soften the pressure dents from the furniture and it protects the edges from damaging the carpet in the long run. Give the carpet a light vacuum every other day or when needed, and wash it once every four to five years. For stains and spots, immediately use soda water on the relevant area, and soak it up with paper towels. You can also use dishwashing detergent diluted with water for any spots. What do you recommend in terms of cleaning and care to ensure a carpet lasts a long time?

CarpetBuyer is at Unit 2604-07, 26/F, Horizon Plaza, 2 Lee Wing Street, Ap Lei Chau. Call 2850 5508 for more information.

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Variety of vintage carpets, TREE , 2870 1582, tree.com.hk

There’s an exceptional choice of rugs and carpets in Hong Kong: modern, ancient, intricate and plain. And there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to making a choice; just go for the one you love looking at the most.

You can start from the floor up when designing a room, and choose sofas and colour schemes afterwards; or youmay just need a pop of colour to liven up a dark or scrappy floor in a rental apartment. Whatever your requirements, here’s just a taster of what’s on offer at these stores.

Tabriz carpet in Kurk wool and silk, 95 years old, knotted in Persia (Iran), Iqbal Carpets , 2851 3665, iqbalcarpets.hk

Tabriz carpet in Kurk wool and silk, 70 years old, knotted in Persia (Iran), Iqbal Carpets , 2851 3665, iqbalcarpets.hk

Customisable dhurrie in 100 percent cotton, INSIDE , 2873 1795, inside.com.hk




Harmony rug, handwoven in India, Indigo Living , 2555 0540, indigo-living.com

Gabbeh carpet from Southern Iran, CarpetBuyer , 2850 5508, carpetbuyer.com

Vintage Turkish carpet, TREE , 2870 1582, tree.com.hk

Lincoln rug with carved design, Indigo Living , 2555 0540, indigo-living.com

Customisable dhurries in 100 percent cotton, INSIDE , 2873 1795, inside.com.hk

Rhomb carpet, Tequila Kola , 2877 3295, tequilakola.com

Campo De Color carpet, Tequila Kola , 2877 3295, tequilakola.com

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The neutral palette of this Happy Valley apartment creates a perfect backdrop for the Batt family’s growingart collection.

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C hatting to MAWGAN BATT, founder of marketing and c ommu n i c a t i o n s a g e n c y Boutique Communications , you immediately get the sense that she is, above all else, a pragmatist at heart. The busy mum of two lives in the heart of Happy Valley with husband Tom, who works in banking, sons Caleb (9) and Isaac (6), and family dog Wilbur. And while the family loves the Valley’s village vibe, Mawgan is refreshingly frank about its limitations. “There are frustrations with life here, as there are everywhere! Living amongst so many people in such a small space brings challenges, none more so than the compromise on living space.” She adds that the major downside to life in Happy Valley is transport. “It’s quite poorly connected to the rest of Hong Kong, with limited public transport – and the congestion can be a nightmare.” Her solution? Regular tram rides, which, while time-consuming, offer the perfect opportunity for people- watching.

For all the challenges of city living, the family have allocated the space in their 1,300-square-foot apartment wisely, fitting in three bedrooms, one of which doubles as Mawgan’s home office, along with that rarest of Hong Kong commodities – a walk-in wardrobe, which is tamed with regular de- cluttering. The children’s storage needs are met by good old IKEA – “their storage solutions for small spaces are ideal for HK apartments” – paired with good-quality bunk beds by Okooko in Horizon Plaza, which are durable enough to withstand life with active kids. Speaking of furniture, Mawgan explains that longevity is key to the retail choices they’ve made. “We invested in some great furniture when we bought our first apartment in London in 2004, and we still have the same dining table, bed, chest of drawers and bedside tables; we don’t believe in throwing things away for the sake of it, and we try to keep things for as long as they’re useful.” Still, she doesn’t shy away from adding carefully considered pieces to the home where necessary – the L-shaped sofa finished in soft grey leather, for example, was custom-made in Shenzhen to free up space in their living room.




While what Mawgan accurately describes as “the typical Hong Kong off-white walls” might discourage some renters, the Batt family have taken the opportunity to use this as a backdrop to their collection of artwork acquired over the years during their many travels. Mawgan explains: “We’ve collected quite a few pieces in the last ten years that have featured on our walls in many different homes. We aren’t

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