6 Nov 2007
Real Home Style(HKTDC Houseware, Vol 01,2008)
|Lifeztore (HK) Ltd offers creative home designer furniture such as this PVC rattan egg-shaped unit that transforms into two chairs, two tables and two hassocks|
Furniture is frequently a reflection of individual taste and style, and driving today's market are innovative, interesting designs with enhanced functionality
Hong Kong furniture manufacturers continue to play a lead role in the fusion of East-West approaches to design, and to also ratchet up their offerings in the avant-garde and innovative sectors.
For example, casting itself as a total solutions provider for home lifestyle products is Lifeztore (HK) Ltd. The firm's philosophy centres on offering functional home designer furniture and home accessories that are also fun, creative and practical.
One striking example is a six-piece, egg-shaped imitation rattan unit actually made from PVC that, when taken apart, transforms into two chairs, two tables and two hassocks.
"Our in-house designer came up with the idea, and we started selling it about a year ago," says Deputy CEO Daryl Lai. "It has become quite popular, especially in Europe." The unit price is US$300 FOB Hong Kong.
Mr Lai says the durable indoor-outdoor, egg-shaped unit is available in dark brown, although more colours are planned (such as purple and white). "There are two sizes, one for adults (830x1400mm) and one for teenagers that is about 30% smaller," he adds.
Essentially a fusion of Eastern and Western styles, Lifeztore's designs include modern bird's nest-style sofas made from twisted rattan, and formal English-style chairs.
"People are looking for more stylish products, and we encourage them to mix-and-match our products to create their own lifestyle," Mr Lai explains, adding that on the drawing board for roll-out next year is another stacked design comprising a table and chairs made from aluminium and designed to look like a bird cage.
Meanwhile, Oriental Arts and Furniture designs and manufactures fine lacquer products. The company specialises in a wide range of accent items and decorative accessories in handcrafted chinoiserie, Chippendale, antique country furniture and decorative folding screens.
"Our main clients are in the US and Europe, where chinoiserie sells particularly well," says Marketing Manager Ray Ma.
One example is a brown oval chest with three drawers and an imitation marble top that measures 30x17x36 inches. Made of hardwood (typically American poplar) or Malaysian plywood and MDF, the Chinese-style flower and bird motif is handpainted. The unit price is US$145 FOB Hong Kong.
Another item is a black, rectangular hardwood and MDF cabinet with two drawers and two vertical doors that measures 20.5x14x30 inches. The price of this unit, which features delicate, gold-coloured Chinese-style patterns on the front, is US$90 each.
"We manufacture some 300-400 items a month," says Mr Ma. "Prices for tables range from US$45-600 each, and from US$60-2,000 each for chairs."
The company recently began producing Asian and Western-style contemporary furniture because of growing demand. "This is an up-and-coming part of our business," Mr Ma believes.
Children will love the range of sofa chairs, beds, multifunction table-and-chair sets, seating cushions, wardrobes and bookcases from Un Deux Trois Ltd.
The three-year-old firm specialises in furniture for children from 2-12 years of age. "We are probably more towards the 5-6 year age group, though," says International Product Development Director (and designer) Chung Tang.
The firm's Little Lady Gone Country armchair, for instance, features a brightly coloured and decorated cotton-canvas cover with an extra-large pocket on the side to hold books. The price is US$23 each FOB China.
"The idea is to have children's furniture that's bright, cheery and whimsical," says Mr Tang. "We use appealing colours in complementary and contrasting ways."
The company uses standard US sizes for its furniture, and exports to the US, Australia, Germany, Japan and Korea. Each of the 400-600 handmade pieces produced each month is crafted from ISO-approved, child-friendly materials.
Next on Un Deux Trois's drawing board are school desks. "Kids want furniture that's more functional, so we decided to come up with a design that has plenty of drawers, places to store books and a desktop that they can paint on," Mr Tang says.
The major product category at Surplus Industrial Co is plastic rattan-style tables and chairs that are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. The company's no-fuss, modern designs have won admirers in its main European export markets.
The fire-retardant plastic-rattan, made of recycled PE or PVC, won't fade, mildew or tear, and is also UV-resistant.
Popular items include a round sofa with two footstools, which sells for US$200 per set FOB China, and a two-seater sofa with two armchairs and a table for US$300-400 per set. "Compared with natural rattan, our prices are about 30% less," says Manager George Lai.
The OEM/ODM firm has a design inventory of more than 50 furniture styles, in addition to comfortable pet beds. "We make several thousand items per month," says Mr Lai, adding that future plans call for developing new rattan shapes. "Instead of just round, we are also thinking about square or flat rattan furniture."
When it comes to home decor, Hong Kong's designs, selection and prices make it a source that is hard to beat.
TEXT BY BRANDY BARKER
|Full-Well Furniture Co Ltd
7/F Blk G,
Wah Hing Ind Bldg
36 Tai Yau St
San Po Kong, Kowloon
|Year Established: 1999
Major Product Categories: office furniture, hotel furniture
Brands & Certificates: ISO 9000
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production Capacity: -
Delivery Time: 3-4 weeks
Factory Size & Location: -
|Lifeztore (HK) Ltd
99 Queen's Rd Central
|Year Established: 2005
Major Product Categories: indoor & outdoor furniture, houseware
Brands & Certificates: LZ Lifeztore; No Fakes Pledge (2006 &2007), Hong Kong Q-mark (2006 & 2007), Superbrands (2006 & 2007)
Minimum Order: one FEU
Monthly Production Capacity: 1,000 pieces per model
Delivery Time: 45 days
Factory Size & Location: Shanghai
|Oriental Arts and Furniture
Unit A, 10/F
King Yip Fty Bldg
59 King Yip St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
|Year Established: 1973
Major Product Categories: accent furniture, all types of paintings, table-top accessories
Brands & Certificates: Hickory Chair
Minimum Order: 3 pieces or 25 pieces per style (different price brackets)
Monthly Production Capacity: 300-400 pieces
Delivery Time: 50 days
Factory Size & Location: about 40,000 square feet; Dongguan
|Surplus Industrial Co
Witty Commercial Bldg
1A-1L Tung Choi St
Mong Kok, Kowloon
|Year Established: 1995
Major Product Categories: rattan furniture
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production Capacity: -
Delivery Time: -
Factory Size & Location: 30,000 square metres; Xiaoshan, Hangzhou, Zhejiang
Year Established: 2004