How did Metalwork come about? “Our store displays the works of several designers, including furniture and other homeware products, as well as jewellery I designed. I’ve always wanted to open a concept store but the opportunity hadn’t arisen until I was offered a short lease on this rental space. So I gathered the friends I met in this industry and made it happen.”
How did you meet the other designers? “By fate. My business partner Sam Lee Hung-yik was a primary schoolmate, so we’ve known each other since we were kids. I came to know Keith Lau Shu-kei because I once walked by his store and immediately fell in love with the furniture he designed. I decided right then that if I opened a store some day, I would display his furniture.
“As for Joe Li Siu-chung, who designs home accessories, we were at night school together. We were in the same continuing-education class for jewellery design. After graduation, I realised he also created larger home decorations and I really liked the intriguing designs. Want To Fly, for example, was inspired by the animation movie Up. It’s actually very difficult to make wooden balloons float in the air.”
Please explain the nature theme in your products. “I want to send an eco-friendly message, which is why I designed a series of forest-themed jewellery and why we use reclaimed wood in our furniture. We hope customers can be more environmentally aware and, at the same time, feel like they’re surrounded by nature.”
Where do you find the wood you use? “We use aged elm wood, which was used as beams and doors in old houses in mainland China. We recycle the wood and turn it into furniture. We chose this type of wood because it has a historical value and each piece has a unique story.
“When we make it into furniture, we also try to preserve its original features. For example, when a piece of wood from a door frame is remade into a shelf, we deliberately do not patch the holes to show our customers what the shelf used to be.”
What’s the benefit of using aged elm? “The good thing about this wood is that it’s very strong. Since it has been exposed to weathering for 60 to 70 years, furniture made with this type of wood is extremely firm and has a great texture. It will not easily warp and is much more resilient compared with furniture made with newly harvested wood, which may contain a lot of water.”
What sort of prices are we talking? “The furniture ranges from HK$1,800 to HK$35,000 and the home decor ranges from HK$800 to HK$52,000. We want to offer a local option so, in addition to European brands, people can choose to buy products from local designers.”
Metalwork is in Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 6113 0595.