Why did you open Ethos? "We wanted to start a progressive platform that celebrates a minimalist lifestyle and focuses on community, comfort, fashion and utility. The name originates from the Greek word ' ethos', [meaning] a belief that characterises a community, a nation or an ideology. We want to share the beauty of cultures through fashion, art, craftsmanship, food and publications. It's all about gathering different talents or works on a platform to convey a sublime style of living. We explored ways to do this, either online or in a bricks-and-mortar location. Then we spotted this place on Hill Road, with three spaces in a row that allowed us to set up a cafe, a multipurpose venue and a retail shop that bridge the multifaceted approach we wanted."
Why three spaces? "[We wanted] an outlet in which to showcase local or exotic quality craftsmanship for display and sale; a place to collaborate with creative minds; and somewhere to hold events or exhibitions. These spaces provide visitors with an ultimate destination [where they can] focus on the depth of the selection rather than a broad range of products."
How do you decide on the mixture of items? "We prefer a Scandinavian or minimalist aesthetic and most of our pieces are from Denmark, Hong Kong and Taiwan. We've come to know designers from many different fields so we can offer a discerning selection of clothing, home decor, accessories and even furniture. Our concept is aesthetic-driven, so, if it suits our aesthetic, we try to get the product into our store."
Which products are popular and what is your price range? "We're driven to find versatile and honest goods of high quality. Our products range from HK$100 [for some Tools to Liveby stationery] to HK$2,000 [furniture from Danish label Frama]. The stationery from Tools to Liveby is popular - when it was launched in Taiwan, it sold out in two weeks. We also carry two brands that are exclusively available in Hong Kong through us. One is Frama, which excels at furniture and homeware. The other is Tripleliving, by a design collective from Taiwan, whose stationery series utilises a specially developed soft concrete that they combine with wood to create interesting contrasts."
Why mix the work of Hong Kong-based designers and artists with that of Taiwanese and Danish ones? "We believe the best way to improve creativity is to support designers and artists with potential by offering them a platform for exposure, where their work co-exists with those of their overseas contemporaries. Our favourite pieces come from illustrator Pei Chung; Feed Me Diamond, a brand by visual arts student Pag Kwong, who creates one-off hand-blown glass objects for the home; and 36.obj, a local design duo whose wooden pieces subscribe to the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi [beauty in imperfection]."
Ethos is at 93 Hill Road, Kennedy Town, tel: 2833 2127.