Born in South Africa and at one time resident in London and Sri Lanka, Nathalie Weston has been living and working in Hong Kong since 2008. Whether it’s in homes or commercial spaces, in Hong Kong or Sydney, Weston’s design aesthetic is always unique. Square Foot chats with the Hong Kong designer most unabashedly devoted to all things eclectic.
Can you tell me a bit about you? What prompted you to start Weston and Co?
I studied art and design and worked for many years in the clothing and textile industry. I started Weston and Co Design on the prompting and interest of friends and people in media who felt that there was a strong need in Hong Kong for a more eclectic style of interiors that reflect personality, especially in such a transient place. My business was also born out of a love for interiors and creating something more permanent that people can take forward with them. It is absolutely a job I love doing.
You work in design and styling. Is there a difference?
The design side is very much a holistic approach, incorporating elements that the client loves or has already, creating a cohesive end result. It encompasses design, colour direction, sourcing furniture and installation. Styling is more of a consultancy role where it exists on an advisory basis with clients; helping them to tie existing interiors together with additional pieces or elements like colour, art and furniture.
You mention a design philosophy. Do you have a defining style?
My style is very much dictated by the space and the client. My own homes’ styles have definitely been dictated by their spaces and of course my existing furniture. I would say that more than anything I design eclectic interiors that incorporate elements from different periods. I do a lot of local sourcing and bespoke pieces, as well as sourcing internationally.
“We believe wallpaper is the future.” Great statement. Can you explain that?
[Laughing] Ha! This is a very tongue in cheek comment. From the throwback horrors of the 1970s wallpaper has come a very long way. Today there are the most incredible paper — bespoke as well as off the shelf papers. This is a great way to totally transform a space as well as provide a decorative background that art can be hung against or not.
You have a few Asian elements in some of your designs. What’s the key to doing that? Very often it’s over the top.
Yes, buying Asian pieces wildly and then regretting them seems commonplace. I like to modernise old or existing Asian pieces, which brings them up to date and sits with the strong trend towards mixing them with modern and/or vintage.
It’s hard to avoid materials and items from China these days, and the issue of quality fade and poor construction doesn’t seem to be going away. Is this a concern for you or a lot of negative hysteria?
I feel that it is always nicer to own the real deal. Original pieces of iconic design sourced internationally or bought new is always nicer but extremely costly. Many people do not want to spend the money on these pieces and would prefer to achieve the look on a budget, which then makes China sourcing relevant. That said China does also produce a lot of original and unique pieces that are very hardy and long lasting, which clients like to have because the majority have children and their homes have quite a lot of traffic.
What does Hong Kong need more and/or less of design-wise?
I miss the range of product and diversity of style that is available in Europe, not to mention the old buildings with heritage and history! But this product is something I try and incorporate into my interiors by sourcing vintage and diverse pieces from here and abroad, including South Africa, the United States and Sri Lanka where I bought a lot of my own furniture.