Since its foundation in the late 1970s, Indigo has insinuated itself into the Hong Kong design language and become one of the city’s stalwart home furnishing destinations. Now with a presence in China, Macau, India and the UAE, Indigo can safely call itself a harbinger of home style. Square Foot picks the brain of Indigo Living managing director John McLennan about what’s in for fall and beyond.
Indigo has been around for a while but as a pan-Asian presence it’s kind of new. How did it get to be what it is today?
I’m the founder of Indigo but this used to be Banyan Tree. I came on and started working for Banyan Tree in 2002 but we changed the name shortly thereafter because we wanted to expand in the region — but the resorts had the name. So we changed the name to Indigo and then I bought the company.
A lot of retailers make claims to being unique and luxurious and functional. How do you see Indigo fitting into Hong Kong’s interiors market?
We have a furniture buyer, and accessory buyer and the one they don’t like to come to the fairs: me. My buyers have to keep me under control just a bit. But we try to do product that you don’t see everywhere else. Each season I come up with a mood board with a few looks. They can all tie together but they are separate themes. Then we go shopping or designing.
Everybody gets up in the morning and puts on a different set of clothes. You pick what you like and I pick what I like. If I get too far off track, my buyers bring me back. This table [indicating] for example. At 180 centimetres it’s almost too big for Hong Kong; 200 is too big. 160 would be great, but does it extend? What colours does it come in? For me it’s creative things, and for my buyers it’s commercial. They make sure the quality and the price points are there. We like to think of ourselves as a bridge brand. We’re not luxury, but we’re not mass end. Hopefully we’re in that sweet spot, where people are looking for a good quality piece that they can afford and that they’ll live with for a long time. I don’t want people throwing away a dining table every year. I like to think the furniture we sell lasts. But you can replace your cushions every year.
You’re way ahead of the rest of us, but what do you see coming in the near future for home décor?
I’ve already moved on from fall/winter 2012 but Eva is the perfect collection for today’s aesthetic. It is a beautiful mix of Italian design with a ’60s retro feel, masculine, confident but approachable. The Canape collection is the epitome of elegance, a stunning silhouette with a ’50s feel. Raised off the ground gives it a lighter feeling good for smaller spaces and the edge stitching detail adds a touch of atelier feel.
For February and beyond, for spring and summer, I’m seeing a lot of geometrics on the horizon. More colour and what I would call fresher and cleaner lines and designs. Perhaps an East Coast beach look — soft, bright, airy, maybe some of the retro patterns coming back.
So what’s on the “to do” list for Indigo?
We want to become even more involved in the community. We want to work with more local designers and artists. Stefano [Tordiglione, who designed this year’s Eva Collection] is Italian but he’s been here five years. Joey Pang has a line we designed with her. We want more and we’re always willing to talk to anyone with new ideas. I’d like to be involved with some of the schools eventually. We’ve been here 30 years, and as a Hong Kong brand we’re fairly well know. This is where we’re from so we’d like to become even more of a Hong Kong brand.