Not too long ago, Hongkongers looking to redecorate their homes or simply find a unique lamp, coffee table or sofa bemoaned the lack of interiors choice in the SAR. And it wasn’t just Joe Q Public either: designers often had to hunt far and wide for something just a bit different. Things have taken a radical turn in the last few years and it would seem the trend isn’t going to slow down any time soon.
New to the décor landscape is the three-month-old A.Style, nestled on an increasingly busy — and stylish — corner in the Sheung Wan-Tai Ping Shan corridor. Looking to combine art and function, A.Style offers up a range of accessories, art and completely usable home furnishings that you’re not going to find at IKEA or Franc Franc. Co-founder (along with Alan Cheung) and creative director Allison Tang, a former marketing student with a fashion industry background, is an exemplar of the new breed of young, well-travelled, hip boutique owners balancing style, individuality and, best of all, price in what she puts on her shelves. And like many, she did so out of necessity.
“The reason I first started [A.Style] was I found there weren’t that many choices for home decoration and wall art in Hong Kong,” she explains, recalling the days when she was redecorating her own flat. “Galleries carry really expensive and well known artists that I can’t afford. And for furniture it’s either really good Italian-made stuff that’s very expensive … or the mass-market stuff that’s not that special and is really quite plain. It’s hard to find something in between.”
So she opened A.Style, which currently focuses on a clutch of London-based designers that each has its unique appeal. Anchoring A.Style’s collection are the geometry-heavy furnishings of Duffy London by Chris Duffy, which hand makes all its items to order (and whose standout piece is the UP table with metallic balloon legs), industrial designer Merve Kahraman, whose Viking-esque lamp and animalistic chairs are eye-catching to say the least, and the landscape-influenced Kristjana S Williams, whose vivid prints can grace walls and cushions alike. Tang is still sourcing new designers to add to A.Style’s portfolio, but for now, “I’m going to see how it goes. I want to focus on one thing to start with. I don’t want to get too messy.” In addition, Tang’s existing relationship with the designers in her stable makes it easier to cater to the peculiarities of the Hong Kong market. “I had to customise my own table because a good table from Europe, for example, is always a six-seater. You can never find a four-seater. But one of the dining tables is a special size, made for the Asian market.”
Tang admits that her stock is a tiny bit off the wall, but also points out that it doesn’t have to be all avant-garde all the time. Any single item could be the perfect complement that finishes off a room. “I’m not focusing on the mass market. These kinds of things can’t be duplicated. It may not be to everyone’s liking, but we want to be different.”