Newly-opened lifestyle concept store Archetypal offers design-led products from up-and-coming designers from around the globe — with a 'made-in-China' collection by renowned British designer Michael Young taking centre stage at the store's grand opening
In recent years, Scandinavian-designed furniture has been gaining popularity in Hong Kong, while Italian furniture has long been loved by the people of the city. However, Desmond Wong, founder and director of design store Archetypal
, has cast his net beyond the boundaries of those two design giants in search of products from around the globe for the increasingly design-conscious Hong Kong population.
"It's not just Scandinavian and Italian products that have a design focus — there are so many more places, for example the UK and the US, which are big design hubs," says Wong. "Currently, there are not many people importing design-led products from these places; hence I want to bring in things by emerging designers from these countries."
Having studied design in London and worked for various brands there such as Tom Dixon, Wong has an eye for products that stand out in terms of design. Many of the brands carried at Archetypal are from the UK, including industrial designer Terence Woodgate's
eponymous lighting brand, which optimises the formidable benefits of LED technology, and Decode London
, a design and manufacturing company that creates progressive, contemporary furniture and lighting that challenge conventions and deliver fresh perspectives of traditional materials.
Also found in the lifestyle store are US brand Blu Dot
, a Minneapolis-based designer and maker of modern home furnishings, and New Zealand brand Resident
, known for its eclectic inspirations and its mission to find new materials and processes to produce iconic, practical and dependable products. Closer to home, the design concept store also carries products by Loveramics
, a Hong Kong ceramics brand.
To celebrate the grand opening of Archetypal's first concept store in the heart of Wanchai's lifestyle district, Star Street Precinct, world-renowned designer Michael Young
designed a special installation, debuting his long-anticipated EOQ
Dub lighting collection. The Dub collection
combines the industrial beauty of extruded aluminum from China and the craftsmanship of hand-blown glass from the Czech Republic. The installation also highlighted Young's other iconic pieces.
[Read our Q&A with Michael Young here]
According to EOQ brand director Matt Pepper, EOQ was set up a few years ago to give Young a platform to express his creativity. "He has designed for various brands, but with EOQ, Young can design his own brand — he's also its creative director," Pepper explains.
EOQ also stands out for being one of the first international design brands to be based in Hong Kong. "We found that a lot of the products that Young was making and a lot of the brands that I was buying in Lane Crawford [Pepper used to be the buying manager of Lane Crawford] were manufactured in China, but pretending that they weren't because you couldn't sell them at high price points when you admit that you're making them in Dongguan," Pepper says.
Hence, Young and Pepper decided that the time had come to "start being proud of being made in China": "China has the expertise, enthusiasm and money to take a risk [on product development]. We felt very strongly that innovation has to come from this side of the world, not from Europe anymore," Pepper notes.
"That's why we're excited to be part of Archetypal — as a Hong Kong brand, it's key to be part of a Hong Kong-based showroom."
EOQ's spirit of offering something different is also in line with Wong's vision for Archetypal. "We founded this company to bring unique products to Hong Kong. While the market is saturated with many companies, they always seem to be the same brands," he explains.
"Our missions are to bring new products to Hong Kong and Asia; to provide passion for and knowledge about furniture and products; and to serve as a platform for emerging brands, ranging from Hong Kong to the UK, to make their mark in the design world."