A lot has changed on Caine Road in the last few years. Gleaming new apartment towers, fancy French bakeries and swish delis have slowly but surely blossomed on the de facto border of Mid-Levels. And now, tucked away a block or so from the escalator, is MADE, a rare home furnishings retailer to go along with the supermarkets and kindergartens that line the street. Opened roughly seven months ago, MADE is the latest addition to Hong Kong’s affordable solid wood furniture market.
At first glance, MADE feels familiar. The clean lines and range of Asian and African teak and American walnut items — for the living room, dining room and bedroom — recall many of the SAR’s other premium home furnishings providers. Without declaring outright retail war, MADE’s marketing manager Katherine Chan admits to some crossover appeal. “A little bit, yes. [Other retailers’] products and ours are in the same category, but we focus on custom-made items. Our founders are particular about that. Not many [retailers] can provide that service,” she says. “They believe the most important element is service. We’re not the only ones to do customising, but we try to do it to a higher degree.”
Indeed, MADE’s enigmatic owners (local Hongkongers that prefer to let their product do the talking) come from a furniture retailing background and thought they could fill a gap in the market where flexibility was needed. Beginning with the core collections the store — really a showroom — has, almost every item can be altered to fit customers’ homes and tastes. The odd size of your mattress is irrelevant. “Many people come to us and see something that’s too big for their home,” continues Chan, pointing out the popular Aurora dining room pieces can be modified by size or style; not everyone wants the whitewash that accents the line. Customers can call and order or drop in with specs to fit their space and MADE will deliver the altered item from its own factory in five to six weeks.
Currently, the shop carries its Basic, Aurora and Slat core lines, that “Emphasise contemporary design with fun elements,” as Chan describes it. The Aurora line of dining tables and benches has sleek, bevelled tops that are largely painless for long legs and clever removable sliding cushions. The Slat series of side tables, shelving and bed frames has a name that says it all. The standard boxes are constructed with an interlocking slatted style that allows for creativity in how they’re stacked or positioned. The Basic collection has the broadest range of styles, from the smoothly curved backs of the Buru chairs and stools to the deep seated Loop and Moop sofas, of course, in custom fabrics. Basic is where you’ll find bookcases, wall units, desks and wardrobes. There are also accessories (tableware, vases, decorative items) sourced from artisanal producers in Southeast Asia, and new collections by new local and international designers and, perhaps, lighting options will be added to MADE’s stock in the near future.
As an added bonus, the store also offers a free home styling service, which could come in handy for many of us, be it renters or those of us feeling too lazy or overwhelmed at the thought of doing up the living room. “We can send our designers to the flat to mix and match items,” explains Chan. “Some people don’t want or need an interior designer; they just want ideas.” Ones that fit.