by Peace Chiu on Oct 16, 2014 in Interiors , Lifestyle , Products
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Fondly recalling the time he spent in UK wandering around flea-markets, HOMELESS founder John Wong shares his experiences with a nostalgia-tinged pop-up store in Tsimshatsui

HOMELESS co-founder and operations director John Wong often looks back with fondness at the "good old days" he spent in the UK, wandering around and looking for interesting stores. "The flea-markets hold a lot of good memories… I really enjoyed searching for products that I love there," he says. Hence, when his company had an opportunity to plan an event in the atrium of The ONE shopping mall, a British flea-market theme was the first thing that came to mind.

The resulting pop-up store, M for Market, was inspired by the ability of flea-markets to bring people and "thousands of fun and interesting products from all around the world" together. "The origins of the market can be traced back to the rural economy of Europe in the 1860s, when people would regularly gather to purchase and sell goods," Wong explains. "Ever since, markets have become an icon of community, where people meet and relationships are built."
In embracing the market theme, the team at HOMELESS did a lot of research into designs and materials — even for the floor. "We tried to keep the style raw, but fashionable," says Wong, who was one of the winners of Perspective's 40 Under 40 2010 awards. "The element of fun is something that we always include in our designs, as fun will help us capture shoppers' attention. Hence, we have many colourful and happy road signs, as well as giant Cubebots guarding our store."
M for Market sales staff also don a specially-designed apron which recalls those which stall-holders in European flea-markets commonly wear.
Besides putting much thought into the visuals, the team at HOMELESS also introduced yet another multimedia element with a soundtrack of farmyard animals and the sounds of a metalwork shop which Wong says aims to create a holistic flea-market experience for shoppers.
M for Market also collaborated with a number of designers to hold workshops on terrarium planting, cushion-making and letterpress printing. "I always explain that we don't sell goods, we sell lifestyle," says Wong. "I want people to come to M for Market for more than a shopping experience."
M for Market also specially designed an eponymous collection to celebrate the pop-up store, including wooden alphabetical letter blocks, washable paper tote bags, typographic alphabet notebooks and British antique wood clipboards, sold exclusively at M for Market.

M for Market is open until 31 October 2014, at The One, UG2 Atrium. For more details on the pop-up store and the workshops offered, visit www.homeless.hk/mformarket

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