We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Accessorising the house is often the hardest part of redesigning or redecorating. Materials choices are somewhat limited in Hong Kong (for various reasons) and the best laid plans can blow up because you can’t find the right shade of blue for drapes, or cushions, or upholstery or any number of little bits.
It may not have the recognisability factor of, say, Rubbermaid, but for 40 years Paris-based Madura has been accenting homes in grand luxurious style, bringing a tiny touch of Versailles (if that’s your thing) to living rooms everywhere. Like most self-respecting retailers, Madura has a robust online store, but when it comes to picking a fabric, you probably want to get a good look in real time, touch it and take a swatch home. A stalwart in Europe and most recently in North America, it was time to move East. “Given that Hong Kong is an international city with its dynamic atmosphere, and the perfect location is the hub for easy access to anywhere in Asia, not to mention a gateway to China … this is the right time and Hong Kong is the right place,” explains Madura CEO Gil Bourgeois of the label’s expansion.
The first of Madura’s new maisons in Asia is now open in Central (on Wellington Street) and a showroom is in Sheung Wan (on Pound Lane), catering equally to the design industry as well as general consumers. Helping to create what Madura calls “haute couture homes,” the shops stock all manner of décor accessories including fabrics, lights, blinds and general housewares in five themes for 2014: the Cruise, Nature, Copper, Pastel, and Bright Collections. Contrary to the immediate assumption that a French import will equate with high prices, Bourgeois is quick to point out that’s not the case. “We’re trying to develop ‘Home Fashion’ by offering a variety of choices at affordable prices to get quality home decorative items to create [an owner’s] home that best represents their own style,” he says.
Despite the limited variety, fabrics and textiles are readily available in Hong Kong — just take an MTR ride up to Sham Shui Po or hit the top floor of Western Market. So what sets Madura apart? “Our ‘ready-to-install’ concept is something different from the market offerings: an affordable luxury to create a one-of-a-kind haute couture home for everyone,” states Bourgeois. Madura’s designs range from the playful to the elegant, in timeless muted tones or vibrant colours, in classic ornate patterns or modern geometrics. You want a touch of OTT embroidered gold? Check. You’d rather an understated, graceful basic taupe with just a tiny accent? Check that too.
And then there’s the attention to local detail. Madura will be creating one line each year specifically for the local market, as well as collaborating with Asian brands and designers, which began with knitting street artist Esther Poon. If you live in Sheung Wan, at some point in the past few months you’ve seen a colourfully adorned lamppost or staircase handrail. Now you know why. Next up was Cecilia Ma’s limited edition cushions, inspired by her jewellery. “This is a good example of what separates Madura from all the other accessories retailers. We understand and see the trend of amazing fashion scene in Hong Kong. There are a lot of designers bringing a lot of creativity to the city or their respective industries,” finishes Bourgeois. Finally, a crossover collaboration with Paul & Joe is slated for September. No excuse for less than perfect drapes now.