Alternative bliss

by Teresa Chow on Oct 5, 2012 in Products
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From virtual to real, blogger Joanne Pereira’s Eclectic Cool offers buyers a hands-on option

Aiming to offer alternative choices in the furniture market in Hong Kong, blogger Joanne Pereira opened Eclectic Cool, featuring a wide range of items personally selected by her. We grabbed her for a quick insight into what she’s all about…

You’re a blogger, interior architect, webstore owner and now you’ve opened your own studio selling furniture. Tell us how all this works together.
My blog is one of the most popular design blogs in Hong Kong. It is also a platform to update my readers about the products that we carry on our online retail shop; while this studio is an answer to growing demand in the local market seeking distinctive furniture and homeware.

Why did you decide to open your own store?
It’s all grew organically. In Hong Kong, it’s easy to get things done. I wanted a studio/shop to meet clients, and to provide a relaxing, non-pressurised space for people to come and view the products from our website if they aren’t sure. Also, if someone who doesn’t want to engage an interior designer needs advice, I am here to offer my help.

You were an interior architect in Sydney before you came to Hong Kong five years ago. What was the move like?
I came here five years ago from Sydney and when I first got to Hong Kong, I took a bit of time off. I had been doing home renovations (interior design) – in fact, the first year I was here I was still finishing a project in Australia. Working in Hong Kong is different: it’s easy to get things done within a short time-frame, but you have to be aware of the quality though ‑ Australian standard is more stringent.

What else is different?
There is variety here, but you have to ask for it, whereas if you go to a hardware store in Australia, they have a lot of variety already on the shelves. As an architect, you create a lot of models and mock-ups so that’s convenient for us. Here, it takes a little bit longer and more explanation of what I’m looking for.

And what do you enjoy most working in Hong Kong?
From start to completion of a project is very quick, where you have in place, things go very quickly. People here are very helpful, responsive and they are ready to serve you and are keen to find solutions.

What about your style?
I’ve got a different style that’s why I launched this store ‑ to offer something different. My style is much more international. I love Australian homes, but I find them very minimalist. They are light, bright and textured, but lacking in softness. I found them very hard to live in.

One of the challenges in Hong Kong is storage, so my designs always have a lot of joinery ‑ things look like walls but they are actually storage and cupboards. I like things that don’t have too much detail on the front ‑ in that way, I am very Australian.

What’s the difference between an interior designer and interior stylist?
I think sometimes interior designers are left too much to their own devices, so the house is a reflection of them rather than their clients. I am more an interior stylist as well; I like to put things together to make them look nice.

What can we expect to find in Eclectic Cool?
Things here are from all eras and influences, but what I look for are things which are well made and well designed, contemporary but classic, which means they will still look good in five years. Things that are natural. And I love detail. So when I look at a product I like the tiny little things that make them a little bit special.
So in the range, things are reasonably priced and good value. Obviously there are some items you spend a lot of money on, but I believe that things should be accessible to everybody –and that we should save up for good design.