After 20 years working in the advertising industry, Dennis Chan Siu-ming and Nigel Keung Kam-wing decided to channel their experience of building sets for commercials into running their own interiors company. Situated in a quiet corner of Wan Chai, Igloo Homeware sells beautifully crafted wood furnishings and Scandinavian lighting. Chan fills us in on some details.
What's the inspiration behind Igloo? "The idea came to us about two years ago. At the time, Nigel and I were very busy in the advertising business. This is our first store and our first foray into the furniture industry. We love this neighbourhood; it's a unique space in Hong Kong. There's no road outside and it's quiet. Maybe it's not the best for business but we love it here."
How did you make the transition into the furniture business? "Nigel and I met on my first job [in advertising] and our love of furniture started there. After 20 years, we were tired of the business and wanted to do something new. We wanted a space to sell the furniture that we love."
How did you come up with the name? "We thought about names that were home-related and at the time I had a job that needed an igloo built for one of the scenes."
How do you choose the lines you carry? "At the moment we represent three brands, one each from Thailand, Japan and Sweden. The furniture lines we carry all have a similar design aesthetic, each working with the same oak wood, each following minimal lines. You can customise some of these pieces by specifying size or wood type. Our lighting collection is from a small village in Orsjo, Sweden. You can't find these brands in any other stores in Hong Kong."
What is it about Scandinavian and Japanese design that you admire? "The Scandinavian aesthetic is a benchmark for modern design. Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen are still inspiring many designers today. And [the principles of] Japanese furniture design share a lot with the Scandinavian style."
Do you have any plans for expansion? "We plan to create our own collection for the store but haven't found the time. At the moment we are sourcing producers. People don't realise that Thailand has very good manufacturing skills. They are surprised at the quality of pieces coming from there - customers sometimes mistake them for Japanese-made items."
What are your most popular pieces? "Our bestselling item is the Hygge arm-chair [HK$6,300], which is made of rubberwood oak in Thailand. Its shape is a beautiful combination of Japanese and Scandinavian lines. It's clean, simple, minimal and quite comfortable."
Igloo Homeware is at 26 Sau Wa Court, Sau Wa Fong, Wan Chai, tel: 2520 0580.