Run by The Hip Shing Hong (Holdings) Company, Madera Cafe is a nostalgic look back in time, and its design and detailing offer pointers to old Hong Kong and the history of the café's owners.
Establishing Yee Tak Sesame Factory in the 1920s, its founder, Fong Shu Chuen, traded in sesame and cinnamon. This period is alluded to by the bottles and jars filled with black/white sesame seeds and sticks of cinnamon, which populate the walls and the shelves of the café, also forming the handles on the doors of the bathrooms. The dark rattan chairs also evoke fond memories of the Fong family’s early beginnings as rattan traders when they established the business.
The sesame factory was tragically destroyed by fire, though this event also provided an opportunity for the Fong family – the rebuilding, it turned out, was a golden opportunity to gain experience in property development, and in 1948 the Fongs launched property development company Hip Shing Hong. To recognise this significant event the family’s history, a moving neon feature wall faces the kitchen depicting a fire that grows bigger and bigger before being dissipated by lit shards of rain.
The façade of folding windows offers semi alfresco seating while the earthy-toned interiors and dark-hued furniture lend a contemporary feel. The interiors have been created mainly in wood for a light, clean and natural feel and in a nod to the café's name – ‘madera’ is the Spanish for wood. Seating options include low tables and stepped seating beneath the feature wall, and visitors can enjoy healthy, locally sourced, sustainably produced food and drinks, such as Redback coffee, and beers from Hong Kong’s MOONZEN brewery.
Previously an artist, designer Stefano Tordiglione has also incorporated his own artwork into the design, including sensual black and white paintings that are featured in the bathrooms.