Italian for Common Sense

Zalf takes built-in modular storage to a new, more stylish level

So you have a great new flat that, not surprisingly for Hong Kong, has up to zero closet space. If ever there were a common complaint amongst Hong Kong residents it would be that. When apartments don’t have clunky, and let’s face it ugly, storage of some sort built in they have none at all. In the city’s typically small flats, finding ideal storage is a must. It’s a factor in why Ikea does such bang up business in the SAR.

Whining about Ikea — and PriceRite and Muji and Franc Franc among others — is like whining about blood donation. It’s a home decor lifesaver, but a fairly bland one that admittedly serves all sorts of purposes but doesn’t necessarily stand the test of time. If you have a home and you’re splashing out on Italian for Common Sense Zalf takes built-in modular storage to a new, more stylish level interiors, Central’s Kitchens + Interiors may have an alternative.

Zalf is a relatively new addition to the shop’s line of Italian home interiors solutions. The furniture manufacturer, based in Falze di Piave near Venice, has been known for its contemporary, functional, durable and — surprise — stylish collections since 1974, and best of all, you won’t need a tape measure to get Zalf wardrobes fitted perfectly in to your home. “We offer an exclusive made to measure design and production service by taking the customer’s floor plan and building the wardrobe with the aid of a 3D drawing software programme,” explains Kitchens + Interiors’ Winston Lam. “This enables our customers to choose their dream wardrobe and visualise it in their room setting.”

Zalf’s wardrobes are comparable to Ikea’s Pax in function if not sticker price. That said, Zalf’s starting prices — around $30,000 — could be much steeper in relation to similar custom Italian products and much farther removed from Ikea’s price points: a Pax combination can easily run upwards of $15,000 after delivery and installation. However, touch it and play with its parts and Zalf’s slide-out drawers, pull-down hanging rods and accessories compartments are clearly a far cry from its mass produced particle board brethren. “In my opinion, Zalf offers much higher quality products in terms of design, workmanship, materials and choices. For example, [it] uses E1 panels, which means it has very low levels of formaldehyde,” points out Lam.

Reducing the kind of off-gassing that contributes to poor indoor air quality is a selling point for some, as are items that repel moulds. Zalf’s materials are chosen with an eye to just those moulds; they’re easy to clean and are suited to Hong Kong’s humid climate.

But the visual is what sells most products and the wardrobes could only be Italian. The flexibility of the pieces — ultimately this is modular furniture — means a closet can be walk-in on one side, open on the other, rackheavy, shelf-centric, with or without motion sensor LED light tracks or any combination thereof. And there’s no rule that says the final piece has to be used as a closet. “Zalf offers a wide range of choices. There are six colour options for just the glass doors. It can be in a matte or glossy finish. Our laminate doors boast 17 colour options, while the interior wardrobe colour has a choice of eight. All these make it possible to offer our customers the perfect wardrobe that suits their individual tastes and lifestyle,” Lam enthuses. Who said the Swedes were the only masters of small space storage?