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Store de force: Amelie & Tulips

The furniture shop-cum-exhibition space, which opened in November, is a haven for fans of Nordic design and vintage collectibles. One of its three founders, Ellen Lai, talks about what makes her shop so special

 

How do you choose which brands to carry? "We especially appreciate the craftsmanship of furniture from Nordic countries. Scandinavian design is a strong design movement in the development of modernism and functionality. [It is] not only a style but also a way of living: beautiful, minimal and functional. We are the authorised dealers of Fritz Hansen, Carl Hansen and &Tradition. Sustainability is also a concern when it comes to choosing our furniture brands. For instance, most of the wood used by Fritz Hansen and Carl Hansen comes from certified forests or sustainably managed forests."

Why incorporate vintage into your selections? "About 20 per cent of our inventory is vintage. Who can resist the beautiful patina and gracefully aged wood from the 1950s, 60s and 70s? If you are truly a design fan, there's nothing better than building up your own collection of original pieces. All [our vintage pieces are] hand picked and are either original or re-upholstered, from Italy, Holland, Germany and the United States. Some are rare pieces from auction houses for design collectors. They date from the 40s to the 80s."

How is your shop configured? "Thanks to our large windows and high ceilings, we are able to present our furniture in a very airy atmosphere. Our intention is to create different home settings - a reading room, dining area, working space and living room. It's important to show customers how furniture is displayed in a real environment, so that they can visualise how these pieces might look in their homes. People need ideas and inspirations and we hope to achieve that. The ground floor allows us to present a gallery-like atmosphere. We also have a small courtyard where we might present some outdoor furniture brands this year. The room next to the courtyard is a special room dedicated to a specific designer's works or a particular motif. We call it the 'mini-show'."

Explain the "mini-show". "We aspire to be more than a furniture shop. We love to share with people the importance of buying authentic designer pieces. Most of our pieces are future collectibles you can pass down to the next generations. Every piece comes with a story. We want to share this story by bridging retail and design through our 'show in shop' idea. Basically our customers attend an exhibi-tion while shopping. We are now showing two significant pieces from German designer-artist Christian Haas: Rope is a handmade lamp with LED lighting in a textile cord. Each one is unique and can last for 30,000 hours. These are contemporary pieces that work with Scandinavian furniture very well."

 

Amelie & Tulips is at 56 Sai Street, Sheung Wan, tel: 2291 0005.

 

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