This is a video documentary showing the progress Farmacy HK took to grow rare spices and edible flowers inside a shopping mall. As of 2018, their urban farm is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Please see more detail about The Artist House.
We helped the Bonbonist to roll out their first concept store in Hong Kong to sell candy. The company plays with geometry from their packaging to their graphics. It is “playful and chic” as the founder put it. The products and branding are like a 3d Tetris Game for adults. We extended this game-like idea to the candy shop design to include a pixelated wall. The wall itself is almost like a game for people to see and take away their favorite colors. Prior to selecting this pixelated wall geometry, we have tested 20 different forms that are playful, but many of them were not functional. The balance between form and function made this project possible. Many adults and children are attracted by the final color and playfulness.
The candy shop is also modular to allow for relocation. Short-term rental and the idea of mobility is becoming more essential in retail business. Modular design allows for zero waste during relocation and it is probably the most sustainable practice for retailers. Pop-up design is not a trend but a functional response to increased flexibility, sustainability, and ubiquitary.
Candy Shop at Full Height:
Candy Shop at half height due to shopping mall’s regulation:
Client: The Bonbonist
Design: Emily Manasc, Vicky Chan, Ava Chow
Branding and Graphics: Michele Cade Design
Contractor: M&C Associates
Location: Pacific Place, City Plaza and Harbour City.
We are fascinated by design fully painted in pink and how it can calm people. We did the opposite experiment. What if color nude can excite people? For this pop-up design for AS29, a jewelry shop, we decided to use the diner as a theme and painted the shop in color nude. We wanted to see how the idea of food in color nude can change the perception of jewelry, which is still a luxury item for the general public. From package design to furniture design to logo design, we let the shop share the same nude color. We went as far as painting a sushi conveyor belt to see how people react to nude color in movement. The result is bald, consistent and friendly. Many people got attracted by the color, unexpected theme and movement. The product isalso more focus because of the consistent backdrop. The work itself become something more than a retail project – it is ART.
Below is our interview on Perspective Magazine May 2018 issue by Hannah Grogan.
What is The Artist House?
Vicky: The company began by selling Belgian craft beer. After three years of growth, the owners wanted their own concept store. We combined all their ideas into The Artist House. It’s not just a regular bar or regular restaurant. There’s a lot of innovative things in here, including the Aqua-Farm (a hydroponic facility to grow herbs and spices).
How did you get involved with the company and project?
Vicky: We started this project a year ago. Chris got involved four to five months ago, when we were trying to nail down the final concept.
How did your design collaboration come about?
Chris: Vicky and The Artist had a long relationship already. For some reason, in Hong Kong it’s very difficult for small companies involved in design-related and designfocused interiors. The client appreciates what’s good and what’s high quality.
Tell us about the interior design of the space.
Vicky: The design concept of The Artist House is based on a Belgian farm from the 14th century and, trying to find a way to marry Hong Kong’s culture with a foreign culture, we took a Belgian barn as the motif.
How does the process of collaboration work for the two of you?
Chris: I got involved at a later stage but before construction started, I added more technical aspects and resolved the issues related to the plumbing, mechanicals and how to save costs. Vicky: I don’t see us being one very technical and one very conceptual. I actually see our positions switched throughout the process. Our client is kind of small, so during construction many designs also changed. We made a lot of decisions on site. My firm and his firm are relatively small. Our client is also a start-up. We were able to work well together – we are similar in size and similar in our ability to adapt and change.
What did you know about the Aqua-Farm?
Vicky: Originally, we didn’t know it had to be in such a controlled environment. At first, in the design, we were thinking of growing some things on the columns [in the bar area]. We had some wild ideas in the beginning when we brainstormed. And once we brought in some technical advisers, the whole idea just shifted along. Everyone told us we needed X amount of air conditioners and equipment. Chris is a genius. Although he’s an architect, he was able to do a lot of engineering work. He did a lot of mechanical calculations himself to prove that we could do it sustainably: by placing it in a smart location we can still get the same amount of required air circulation. We did all that and saved half of the money that we would have spent on the air conditioner. By doing that we were able to salvage enough resources for the real design, not just the technical backdrop.
What were the challenges of designing the Aqua-Farm?
Vicky: The design was pretty straightforward. You just had to give them enough space to fit the equipment inside. There was a lot of input from Chris’s end. Getting the right amount of electricity, airflow, humidity control and all of that. It’s the hidden feature that you don’t see but a lot of work that goes into it to make it up and running. Chris: The Artist really enjoys being sustainable in terms of products and construction – so we found different reclaimed material and wood to use, which has its own difficulties. In the end we both made it something greater than we ever expected.
Sustainability Award – Green Business, Green Materials and Green Design
The Artist Lab won Shop! Gold Award and Sustainability Award. Below is a few diagrams to explain our ideas and how we combine architecture with the way our clients do business. Sustainability in retail is only feasible if our clients are really to embrace the ideas. We are lucky to be able to work with The Artist.
La Station is a French Coffee Shop based in Hong Kong. They are testing the pop-up retail with us inside the Hilton Hotel. Below is our concept to use their mobile cafe and the theme of Paris Subway to transform the hotel lobby into a subway station. Each cart will act as a train carts with different repetitive gadgets with multiple functions.
This is our mobile bar 7.0. See previous versions here.
Team: Vicky Chan, Krystal Lung, Ava Chow, Alex Mailloux
We always integrate connectivity, mobility, and sustainability into our building and design.
We were commissioned by Corney & Barrow to expand their Asian presence by building mobile architecture that can move with them to different events. Corney & Barrow is a 230-year-old English wine merchant who sells wine from 12 different countries around the world. Our concept is to recycle their global wooden boxes and stack them together to form a mobile bar. It is about connecting the world to their clients in Asia, while telling people about their 230-year-old history. Corney & Barrow’s Royal Warrants also date back to George V in 1912. A vintage rendition with a Royal touch is the best combination for their brand.
The design concept is not to build one-off items, but an array of brand-related design that can be reused for multiple events. Extending the lifespan of our design is the best way to drive down carbon footprint. At the same time, we have to remain a maximum mobility for their storage and display. The carbon footprint of the bar is further lowered by recycling old wooden materials and bike wheels.
Client: Corney & Barrow
Concept and Design: Avoid Obvious Architects
Contractor for Graphics: Prime Work Limited
Contractor for Mobile Bar: Benchmark Design & Exhibition LTD