Naturally delightful

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2012, 12:00am


Furnishing a new flat and want to give it some character? Horizon Plaza can be a good place to hunt for unique items of furniture. Some of these pieces are natural talking points.

At TREE on the 28th floor, all the signature pieces are made by hand and accord with a 'profits with principles' philosophy.

'Even our accessories are individually made - typically by co-operatives and local artisans - from the baskets to the ceramics and the hand-blown glass,' says managing director Kate Babington. 'I love sourcing individual items that have stories behind them and where the payment goes directly to the artisans.'

TREE describes itself as Hong Kong's first eco-chic furniture boutique and is big on 'reloved' furniture, all of which is produced from responsibly sourced wood that has either been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, directly supported through the Trees4Trees Foundation, or has been salvaged from sources such as old fishing boats, railway sleepers and bridges.

'Reclaimed wood has a quality and grain that can only come from mature trees,' says Nicole Wakley, the boutique's founder. 'These old, rescued pieces of wood are then reinvented into contemporary designs by skilled carpenters and craftsmen using traditional manufacturing techniques. The result is furniture with character - each piece has its own story to tell.'

The Ferum collection originates from abandoned Indonesian fishing boats. The original paintwork has been preserved, creating an eye-catching patchwork effect that means no two pieces are the same. Supported by double bars of black iron, these tables, desks and chests are given a pop art finish.

'Ferum came about as it really speaks to our ethos of 'reclaimed, recycled, reloved',' Babington says. 'By salvaging this wood, we are also able to give back to the communities and keep the local craft traditions alive. The idea that the wood has its own history and spirit and is now a beautiful and unique piece of furniture really appeals to customers and they cannot help but love it. It's one of our most popular collections.'

Also well liked is the Husky dining table, crafted from recycled teak. 'The simple, clean lines allow the beauty of the wood to speak for itself,' Wakley says.

In time for spring, TREE also has a range of colourful handmade ceramics by Sydney-based designer Dimity Kidston. Bright and functional, the collection features distressed surfaces and subtle irregularities.

Kidston's ceramics are made using an ancient pottery technique called sgraffito. This involves first painting the ceramic in a particular colour, then coating it with another hue before scratching off the surface layer to create a pattern and reveal a different colour underneath. The latest collection is inspired by Balinese woodcarving and batik. The designs range from simple lines to floral, leaf, coffee bean and coconut patterns. No two are the same.

Also in Horizon Plaza, 'really cool things that nobody else has' is the motto of Shambala on the second floor. 'Our shop is big: a 25,000 sq ft space for our customers to do their treasure hunting for unique pieces,' Shambala's Alice Chung says.

Uniqueness is a theme. You will come across such distinctive items as a copper water cistern from British India, iron fans from the days of the Raj, dining tables made from the reclaimed teak and catalpa wood of old Chinese junks dating back to the 1930s, antique Russian wind-meters and even a cinemascope that was used by travelling gypsies in the 1890s. One section serves as a gallery of Canadian ammonites. These ancient fossils, some up to 50cm in diameter, are surprisingly dazzling in their range of colours.

Ad Lib on the 26th floor has some striking antique pieces. Wooden seated figures of civil and military officials from Shanxi province date back to the Ming dynasty.

CarpetBuyer, on the 17th floor, has received a large lot of Persian tribal and village carpets dating from the early 1900s up until 1970. These include Mei-Meh, Heriz, Malayer, Kashan and Bakhtiar examples. 'Every piece is unique. All are handmade with vegetable dyes by weavers well known in those days and from an era that cannot be repeated as the environment has changed,' CarpetBuyer's Heena Mir says.