Hong Kong’s home furnishings landscape has come a long way in the last decade. There will always be a place for the IKEA’a and PriceRites of the world, but as design becomes a more common language and consumers continue to demand choices there will always be an enterprising soul willing to fill the gap.
The latest to step into the increasingly diverse world of home décor is Green Furniture on Aberdeen Street, best described as a furniture gallery. Green has little to do with environmental consciousness; it’s not that kind of green. Owner Connie Tai’s nine-month-old boutique focuses on the intersection between art and function and acts as a platform for upand- coming artists. A quick glance around the shop reveals a blessedly eclectic range of sofas, tables, chairs and, naturally, art that is unlikely to turn up in thousands of homes. As creative director Jessica Lee points out, Green doesn’t have a lot of stock, and many items are produced in quantities of two or three (Green also does custom work). If you’re looking for one-of-kind, you’ll likely find it here.
“We love colour. Our furniture is like art pieces,” stresses Lee. Part of Green’s mandate is also subtly bridging the abyss between the perception of art as untouchable and furniture as purely functional. A sofa, for example, can be both. Green’s stock is broken down into three categories: art furniture, art pieces and accessories. Highlights on the floor right now include Ibride tables and consoles that are designed like the lower extremities of animals (not as creepy as it sounds), a line of Jimmie Martin armchairs, the same brand that designed Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show throne and amazingly comfortable and water-resistant Meritalia-Nobula sofas and chairs. The cloudlike sofa’s bulbous sides and back, with their seemingly random buttons, is a perfect example of the consumable art Lee is talking about.
“We want to have a group of designers and artists to have a long relationship with,” notes Lee, a working artist herself when she’s not helping Tai stock the store. Currently Hong Kong’s Florian Ma, the aforementioned London-based Jimmie Martin, Nelson Caban from Puerto Rico, New York’s Jonathan Jax and Canadian Chris Lam are a few of the artist/ designers represented at Green, alongside more familiar names like Philippe Starck and Keith Haring. Lee is hoping to expand the roster of contributors to Green in the future as well as broaden the accessories and house wares items the store currently stocks — from candles to lamps to wall clocks.
Ultimately Green Furniture is about everyday art that’s not just for viewing. Sure, it can be, but it can also be for investment: many of the brains behind Green’s stock are contemporary artists. “A good piece of art needs to touch you on some level,” notes Lee. And while you might not plonk your tired posterior on a Picasso, a Michael CK Tulip chair is another story. “It’s feeling we want to get across. Art does that. We want furniture to do the same. The spirit of art is for connection.”