Designers to transform hotel rooms into their personal showcase

'In Bed With Designers' gives creatives a chance to style their own hotel rooms and discuss their work with the public, writes Kylie Knott

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 November, 2013, 7:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 10:05am

Designers tend to live in their own little dream world, so this event is a good way to drag them out of there and give them a chance to meet the people who will buy and use their creations."

So says Belgian-born industrial designer Frederic Gooris about this weekend's "In Bed With Designers" event organised by BuyMeDesign, an Asia-focused e-commerce site featuring more than 3,000 hand-selected home, design, fashion and gift brands.

Gooris, who runs Studio Gooris in Hong Kong, is among 50 designers from more than 10 countries participating in the design invasion that will take place over three floors of the Mini Hotel in Causeway Bay, where each creative is getting the chance to transform a room into their personal showcase.

"It's going to be fun - inspiring for the consumers as well as for the designers," says Gooris. For the event's organisers that was the plan. "BuyMeDesign is all about supporting emerging designers and this is the perfect platform to do it - it's a physical representation of what we do," says Florence Giraudon, founder of BuyMeDesign.

Giraudon, who wants to make it an annual event and take it on the road around Asia, says displaying works in a hotel room - the event a first of its kind for the region - is also a more attractive way for designers to show their work.

"It's more conventional for designers to attend a trade show, but we wanted an unconventional approach. This also offers them a cosy, comfortable and creative space to showcase their work." And more than anything, she says, it's about having fun. "I love seeing people smile when they see the title of the event."

Lovers of all things design will get to do just that - jump into bed with the designers and chat about their work. There will also be a talk tomorrow night on "What is curation in Asia?"

This will be attended by a cross-section of design-savvy types: industrial designer Michael Young, the owner of Kapok design stores in Hong Kong, Arnault Castel; Hong Kong fashion writer and blogger Daniel Kong and Lise Coirier - the founder and editor-in-chief of TL Magazine. The evening will finish with the networking PechaKucha Night organised by ChowPourianLab.

Manchuen Hui, founder of local handmade leather brand Koncept, agrees the event's quirkiness is its main appeal. "I like the whole concept. Exhibiting in a hotel is a unique experience and I'm really excited and proud to participate and to meet other great designers and guests."

But for Hui, it's also about making sure he keeps his show space clean. "I want to share my story with people, and, of course, I want to make sure I have a tidy bed," he says with a smile.

It’s going to be inspiring for consumers as well as for designers

Swedish imports Anna Karlsson and Katarina Ivarsson of Boris Design Studio in Hong Kong will also check into the Mini to present their designs, which, they say, "have a bit of a twist". That is most obvious in their funky Rosary Lamp, a sustainable light source based around a LED module inspired by rosary beads.

"This city is full of inspiration. Even a trip to the supermarket can be inspiring - the street life is amazing. High and low in an interesting mix," says Karlsson.

Another room to see is that "occupied" by mainland-based design firm Pinwu.

Founded by Zhang Lei, Christoph John from Germany and Jovana Bogdanovic from Serbia, the highlight of their collection is the Piao 2 chair fashioned out of paper and a grid of bamboo strips and following the traditional craft of Chinese lantern making. The chair, like many of the designs, follows traditional Asian craft-making techniques.

There will also be a cosy Cocon chair on show from French design duo Céline Merhand and Anais Morel, while Margaux Keller, also from France, will be showing her practical furniture collection.

Inspired by snooker balls, Belgian Hubert Verstraeten will showcase his Bakelite brand of accessories, Tamawa; and furniture will be exhibited by Belgian designer Xavier Coenen, and ultra-modern Serbian firm Dsignedby. Italian Enrico Zanolla will show lamps that combine ceramic and wood.

There will also be stationery from Hong Kong's own Praxis Design, while Zeup Design Studio (South Korea) takes cute stationary to a new level.

Giraudon thinks the variety of products will keep everyone happy. "We created this event to introduce innovative and creative designers to the Asian market. You can discover and intercat with the latest global designs and designers," Giraudon says.

In Bed With Designers, Mini Hotel, 8 Sun Wui Rd, Causeway Bay, tomorrow, (1.30pm-10pm) and Sun, Dec 1 (11am-6pm)