Step back in time for classical gems

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 May, 2010, 12:00am

Horizon Plaza has made its name as one of the best places in Hong Kong for furniture. While there is a huge range of modern furniture within its myriad floors, there are also antique gems and superior reproduction pieces.

The pressure on available space that is evident in other locations popular for antiques, such as Hollywood Road and Queen's Road East, is not present at Horizon Plaza, where shops are thousands of square feet - large enough for the most impressive Chinese wardrobe.

Some of the shops - especially those selling reproduction pieces - have similar merchandise, so if you can tolerate the slow-moving service lifts that stop every second floor, it is worth shopping around. Most of the stores can take care of the packing and shipping for you, though you may want to check the entry requirements if you are shipping items overseas, so as to lessen the chance of delays or extra costs.

The 6,000 sqft store, Old Shanghai, moved to Horizon Plaza from Hollywood Road in 2003. It is a leading wholesaler and retailer for classical Chinese furniture and folk arts. Located on the 15th floor, it collects, restores and reproduces antique pieces. 'Ten years ago, when we started the business, we only sold antiques,' says proprietor Andy Ngou. 'But because the number of antiques is declining, now almost 80 per cent of our pieces are reproductions.'

Ngou says Old Shanghai sources wood from old houses that are marked for demolition in provinces such as Shandong. That way, the reproduction pieces have the look of period furniture and are using recycled materials. It also means that customers who have a particular preference in terms of dimension or colour can ensure the reproduction piece is built to meet their needs.

'Popular choices are low cabinets that people use for TV stands, beds, coffee tables and dining room furniture,' Ngou says.

Old Shanghai antiques tend to come from the late Qing dynasty, making them 80 to 100 years old. Antiques from that period are also available on the fourth floor at Dynasty Antiques, which also specialises in the preceding period, the Ming dynasty. Large cabinets can be put to good use to hide unsightly home entertainment systems, while the drawers of old Chinese medicine chests are the perfect size for storing CDs. Dynasty also sells attractive lamps with the bases sourced from small Buddhist and Chinese statues.

Above on the fifth floor, all of Rimba Rhyme's furniture is made from aged solid wood, making it less prone to the ravages of heat or humidity. Shoppers can choose from classical Chinese, colonial or rustic collections.

Though not an antique seller, the Indigo Living flagship store on the sixth floor uses recycled wood in some of its furniture, which includes all the items any good home would need inside and out. The bookshelf in the boat wood range, which includes dining tables and benches, is made from recycled boat wood shelves, while the opium range of beds takes its cue from old China.