How did you meet?
Dr Albert Au Man-hon: “We were secondary-school classmates, so we’ve known each other for nearly 20 years.”
What’s the story behind The Habit Furniture?
Au: “Glory said he wanted to own a furniture shop and I said, ‘Why don’t we design our own furniture?’”
Glory Tam Chi-kiu: “In interior design projects, you sometimes cross into furniture design. So I had some experience, but I wanted to do more.”
Au: “We had many ideas but we picked this one because my main job is to keep people healthy. I’m 35 now and I wanted to do something besides my regular job, to promote exercise and health. We had this awesome idea of using the chair as a dumbbell and that’s how everything started.”
How did that idea come about?
Au: “I was looking at my children’s small stool from Ikea and the top part of it resembled a dumbbell and it was the size of a dumbbell. I thought, ‘If I made it out of wood, what would it look like?’ And that’s the first product of this series – a dumbbell that can also be used as a stool. You can pick it up anytime, it’s at your fingertips, it’s right there in the living room.”
What exercises can you do on the coffee table that transforms into an exercise bench?
Au: “You can do chest, abdomen, lower back, upper back and your core, with the inclination. If you flip it over, it’s an incline bench, and you can use it to do planks. You can do a full-body workout with the bench and the dumbbells.”
How did the practical aspects of the furniture affect the design?
Au: “The major function of this bench is as an incline bench for chest presses, so we tried to keep the angle between 20 and 30 degrees, to protect your shoulders. We designed this bench for beginners; we have to make sure it offers the safest exercise for people who buy it. If you use an angle larger than 30 degrees, there’s more stress on the shoulder joint.”
How did you collaborate, when one of you is not a designer?
Tam: “When I’m designing, I like sketching [rather than using computers]. Albert gave me ideas, and I’d sketch them out.”
Do you plan to expand the range?
Au: “We have many more sketches and one more prototype. It’s a table with a bar, which you can use to do a modified pull-up.”