Would you pay HK$75,000 for a chair? Luxury Hong Kong furniture fair targets big spenders in showcase for city's design talent

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 August, 2015, 4:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 August, 2015, 2:14am

Hong Kong’s inaugural international design furniture fair kicked off yesterday, showcasing more than 40 luxury brands offering high-end products – including a chair by a local designer that costs HK$75,000.

Twenty-three exhibitors, mostly from Europe, are displaying their latest collections and targeting wealthy local consumers who have come to treat furniture items as “collectibles” rather than merely functional objects. One-day tickets for the weekend-long event, held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, cost HK$190.

Individual products on display range from around HK$3,000 for an individual chair to HK$75,000 for a wooden loveseat by veteran local artist and designer Alan Chan.

Chan said he believed Hong Kong had been “crying out” for a consumer-focused, high-end furniture fair for years.

“Creative people from all over the world use Hong Kong as a base – that is our edge,” he said.

Chan described Hong Kong as unrivalled in generating excitement and interest in art and design in this region and beyond, beating even Tokyo to claim the title of Asia’s creative hub.

“I hope over the years more and more local talent can be put on display here,” he added.

Top European brands such as Poltrona Frau, Cassina, Baccarat and French crystal house Lalique dominate the 5,000 square metre fair space.

Local brand Tang Tang Tang Tang is present alongside Chan’s first furniture range, Silkroad, which brings together Eastern and Western aesthetic values.

“Hongkongers are starting to see products in terms of more than their production values,” said Billy Cheung, a sales manager at Italian brand Magis. “They are starting to care a lot more about their design.”

He said consumers were beginning to grow weary of the limited styles available from more affordable furniture brands like Ikea.

High-end German outdoor furniture maker Dedon, which sells sets for HKD$150,000, has concluded that interest in luxury art and design is growing across the city.

“Hong Kong is one of our strongest markets,” said Dedon’s regional marketing coordinator Florence Jonkers.

She characterised Dedon’s key customer base as mature, well-travelled, high-net-worth individuals with “a great eye for design”.

Delivering the fair’s opening speech, organiser and architect Winnie Yue described the event as one in which “developers, ateliers and designers” could network and profit from Hong Kong’s strategic position as “a gateway to the motherland”.

“With the rising awareness of other Asian cities, for example Singapore and Shanghai, towards exquisite design, Hong Kong must strengthen its promotion of appreciating design,” she said.

“I hope, through IDFFHK, all Asian countries can be inspired for design development.”