Hong Kong suppliers of household items are developing innovative designs that cross the boundary of ordinary household items to become lifestyle products. The HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair showcases a broad selection of these design-oriented products that serve practical functions and double as decorative objects for the modern home. 'Hong Kong companies are strong on innovative design,' said Brian Sun Tan-cheung, managing director of Technical (HK) Manufacturing. In line with its philosophy of developing trendy and functional designs, the company is launching an acrylic knife holder with tightly arranged tubes in the middle for knives of all sizes to slot in. Its aerodynamic contour and slick surface make the knife holder look like a modern sculpture. Under the company's Technical brand, designs are full of visual surprises. An electric kettle looks unremarkable when the power is off. But when the kettle is on, the front viewing panel becomes translucent and is illuminated by a moving blue light reminiscent of whirling steam. 'We develop products with unique functions that are not otherwise available on the market,' Mr Sun said. Technical will also display a bathroom scale with a separate iPod-sized radio frequency receiver for easy reading. 'We've designed this scale for people whose bellies are so big that they can't see their feet when they stand up straight. It also makes seeing the reading more convenient for people who forget to put on their spectacles when they stand on the scale.' Technical is exhibiting in the Hall of Elegance. Visitors to the booth of Silicone Zone will be greeted by new silicone kitchenware products being whirled around on a conveyor belt. The new products, in the company's signature pastel colours, would include cookware items featuring ethnic design elements, manager Felix Tang said. Inspired by the Moroccan cooking utensil, Silicone Zone's tagine lid is an inverted funnel-shaped tool purpose-built for slow cooking on a frying pan. 'The circular motion of the steam in the tagine lid helps lock in the flavour of the food,' Mr Tang said. The tagine lid is among eight new items in translucent orange and lime green in Silicone Zone's new Ripple Range. 'We have developed a structured design for our products as a solution to the material's softness problem,' he said. Silicone Zone has expanded its Grid line to include bottle holders, heart-shaped hotpot holders and elastic handle holders. The grid design gives a comfortable handgrip and provides good insulation, Mr Tang said. The company is also exhibiting in the Hall of Elegance. Plastic household product manufacturer Star Industrial, whose brand RedA is well-known globally, is introducing a plastic tablet cutter at the fair. While its plastic blade works as well as any cutter made of steel, the advantages of a plastic tablet cutter is that it is relatively safer and rust-free, according to Jeremy Siu Wing-kwong, assistant sales manager. To transform its kitchenware into chic lifestyle items, Star Industrial has modernised the designs and diversified the colour range. 'We are launching the second-generation of our microwave rice cookers that feature an enhanced design,' he said. In addition, the company tailors the range of colours of its rice cookers to the specific tastes of individual markets. Star Industrial is a pioneer in the development and production of microwave rice cookers which featured a patented design and a steam circulation system.