Bringing a splash of colour to the table
Suppliers are spicing up their ranges with metallic finishes and fusion designs to stand apart from competitors. Reports by Wilson Lau
Metallic finishes, sparkling decorative details and contemporary fusion designs are hot trends in tableware, dinnerware and gift items at this year's HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair, from today until Thursday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Topchoice Industries will present several collections of dinnerware and gift items decorated with intricate details in gold and silver, and pearl-effect motifs.
Brenda Liang Chia-yu, marketing manager at Topchoice, said the company achieved a breakthrough in applying metallic decoration to strengthen its profile as a supplier of higher-end products.
'Although the materials are costly, we have made use of this challenging application to differentiate our products. The dinnerware and gift items with metallic details are all modern styles,' Ms Liang said.
Items in the Souffle Gold collection have a luxurious look but are also suitable for daily use. In the bridal Casa Grande collection, the new bone China items with metallic decorative motifs could be bought as a set but select items were also available in pairs, she said. All the items with metallic details comply with the stringent safety standards of the European Union.
To Ngai Earthware will unveil a collection of porcelain home decorative items and lighting products featuring metallic designs made with vacuum electroplating technology.
'We have pioneered the application of vacuum electroplating on porcelain,' said Jacky Liu Chiu-yuen, general manager of To Ngai. 'We have created new visual effects and colours such as silver and bronze. The advantages of applying vacuum electroplating to porcelain include high lustre and even-colour distribution.'
Mr Liu said To Ngai had diversified its design further by following European fashion trends more closely. The company focuses on developing unique designs to keep one step ahead of competitors. 'When the designs are unique, it's difficult for customers to compare prices,' Mr Liu said.
The colourful luxury tableware items in the Gallery by Inhesion line by Inhesion Industrial feature modern patterns highlighted with unique embossed and lustre details and a metallic effect.
Spokeswoman Tracie Tong Wan-yiu said the company had an edge in pattern design because it also operated a decal transfer printing factory.
Popular designs in the line include round-rim plates and deep bowls. All items from Inhesion, which caters for the luxury market and accepts small volume orders, are produced at its factory in Malaysia, but Ms Tong said the firm co-operated with designers from all over the world to develop exclusive collections.
The fashion for metallic effects has also spread to home textiles. Small World will launch a collection of cushion covers in bronze and platinum fabrics at the fair. Some have embroidered designs with metallic threads.
'The materials we use are mainly cotton and linen blends, fake leather and fake silk for easy care,' said spokeswoman Florence Lai Ching-mun.
Many people also like to have some golden sparkle and metallic shine in their festive decorative objects. Cindy Ho Ting-fong of Sheric Trading said the company would display some Christmas decorative items, including wreaths and garlands, in gold, copper and chocolate colours.
Designs that remind people of happy childhood moments will be displayed prominently by several exhibitors. Topchoice's Animal Magic is a range of porcelain decorative items that include money banks, confectionery jars, salt and pepper cellars, multipurpose boxes and jewellery boxes. 'The animal theme is always popular,' Ms Liang said.
But the pieces by Topchoice are animal designs with a twist. 'We give the designs some character,' said Ms Liang. 'For example, a decorative item with a giant panda design is transformed into a Russian nesting doll and we have printed on it an outfit with special graphic details.'
Sheric Trading's Egg Creations line of porcelain, mainly coffee mugs and dinner sets with modern styling, hinted at childhood innocence, said Ms Ho. 'We encourage mixing and matching items in our dinner sets. For example, customers can have serving dishes in various designs in one dinner set.'
Childhood fun is also reflected in the mixture of various bright colours in one design. 'Our porcelain pieces feature intricate floral patterns that are hand-painted as well as computer-generated,' Ms Ho said.
Inhesion Industrial has launched a Chinese-style dinner set to explore the untapped market of overseas Chinese. 'Many of these overseas Chinese households are affluent. At least once a week families gather for a traditional Chinese meal,' Ms Tong said.
'But very few department stores in the west carry full sets of stylishly designed Chinese tableware that suit their requirements. We therefore have developed this line to target them.'
Under the Kris Kelley brand, the 46 items in the Chinese-style tableware line were of simple designs in light colours, Ms Tong said. The set allowed continuation because customers could easily replace broken items in department stores in major cities, she said.