Hong Kong lifestyle retailer accuses competition of copying design of his shop

Shocked owner of Kapok says the similarity between his store and new Bauhaus outlet is ‘mind-blowing’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 October, 2016, 4:39pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 October, 2016, 8:58pm

The owner of a Hong Kong lifestyle shop has accused clothing retailer Bauhaus of copying the interior design of its Wan Chai store and incorporating it in its new Causeway Bay outlet.

Arnault Castel was furious when a staff member of his Kapok store showed him a Facebook post by the Hysan Place shopping mall at Lee Gardens promoting Bauhaus’ new shop.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Castel said: “The amount of what was copied is quite mind-blowing.” He highlighted the shelves, island, sunglasses display and product description plates as examples of items the major clothing retailer apparently copied.

“I was really shocked. If you [didn’t] know, you could think it was a picture of our store.”

Castel worked with a local architect when he designed his store in Sun Street. He contacted the architect and asked if he was aware of the Bauhaus store and whether he had consulted the company. The architect said he “was not involved” with Bauhaus.

Bauhaus is known for its industrial style clothing and line of denim products and is expanding into other areas, such as lifestyle, adding to its list of 70 shops in Hong Kong and Macau.

In a written reply, a spokeswoman for Bauhaus said it “consistently used the same style of idea for every store. For the Hysan one, we just take references [from] different countries and add some new idea in part of the store. So the design and decoration of Hysan is as normal as usual”.

Bauhaus declined to address Castel’s Facebook post.

I cannot understand how people decide to do this and think it’s okay
Arnault Castel, Kapok owner

Supporters of Kapok lashed out at Bauhaus on the Hysan Place Facebook post for allegedly stealing the store design, which had received mostly “angry” likes. One poster said: “With this kind of direct plagiarism, you make yourself look bad. No respect for Bauhaus and I won’t be buying from them again.”

Castel said he was not angry any more but “sad about the complete lack of creativity and ambition” by Bauhaus. “I cannot understand how people decide to do this and think it’s okay.”

He said he was already moving on to new designs for his stores but wanted to show people “it’s not right” what Bauhaus had done, especially in the tough retail environment Hong Kong was facing.