From its stalwart home on Lockhart Road in Wanchai, colourliving has managed to make a name for itself as the go-to destination for anyone looking to deck out their kitchen or bathroom with the ultimate in functional aesthetics. As of this summer, there is much more to colourliving than toilets and faucets.
Calling it a high-end IKEA is a bit of an understatement, but in practise colourliving is now officially a one-stop home interiors provider. So what prompted the sudden switch? After all does a shop that’s made its name selling Fendi Casa, Armani/Roca, Dornbracht and Alape really have to make an effort? “It was kind of an evolution from what we’d been doing … When we were preparing to open in 1997 we decided on a strategy to bring enjoyment into the kitchen and bath,” explains Executive Director Denise Lau. “We’re evolving with our customers, who are an ‘elite’ crowd. And in the past two decades lifestyles have changed a lot. We are inspired by what our customers aspire to.” She points to little details like a heated towel off the rack, common in spas, that got the crew thinking about how to bring that to consumers in every room. Gradually, “That opened us up to more opportunities in furniture, lighting and, nowadays, home automation.”
Not surprisingly, finding stock wasn’t that difficult when Lau and Co decided on broadening the store’s horizons; they were already familiar with many of the major players in global design — and designers with them. But finding the right product was another story. “We have to be selective, we can’t take everyone. Having said that there are lots of undiscovered treasures around the world. Like the Ciclotte bike. The response [to it] has been overwhelming,” Lau notes. The Ciclotte is home fitness equipment that looks nothing like a stationary bike, boasting only a seat and single large wheel. In a short time it becomes a bestseller for its novel design. Also among colourliving’s more innovative choices is Blackbody organic LED lighting (it never heats up) and La Boite, a concept stereo laptop dock or desk that blasts serious sound.
New brands for the rest of the home and outdoors include Kettal, B&B Italia, Paola Lenti, Edra, Vondom, Pallucco and Republic of Fritz Hansen, as well as accessories, lighting, home fragrance and personal care by John Masters Organics, Kobo, Nest, Dr Vranjes and Bronnley among others from around the globe. The only thing that’s missing right now is a linens section, which Lau intends to address in the future. That’s to be expected, as colourliving, like any retailer, has to shake things up to stay on top. How do they go about that? “I think we’re unique in that we have everything under one roof and we combine things to curate a lifestyle,” says Lau. “It’s not just selling product.”
Expect a new look for the store in the coming year too. Gone will be the product gallery it is now — rows of bathtubs, rows of faucets — to make way for a more comprehensively designed ground floor to show off what an entire home might look like. Lau reminds that colourliving is also a window for parent company BSC Group’s core business that caters to developers, architects and interior designers, a business that needs to highlight all aspects of a home. That may sound intimidating, and some of the store’s prices are, but it’s not out of reach for anyone looking to make a long-term investment in their home. “Everyone aspires to better,” Lau finishes. “Maybe a young couple can’t afford to get the whole house outfitted by us right now, but they can enjoy a fragrant candle, or a single piece of furniture. It’s a start.”