A recent trip to Hong Kong had me exploring all the places that supply building materials and furnishings, places I used to scour some 15 years ago when I lived in this city-state. Between then and today, I’d still visit these places occasionally just to see what was new in the market. Sometimes, these visits were with a client as we looked for items we could not source back in the Philippines.
Hong Kong remains to be one of the most progressive cities in the world, and it is no surprise that they still carry the latest models and designs in furnishings and materials. Don’t look for bargains though, because HK-bought products don’t come cheap. But it’s a good place to go to when you want something different and not usually seen back home. Let me share with you a few of these haunts:
1. Lockhart Road, Wanchai District. This is the golden mile for hardware, locksets, tiles, bathroom fixtures and finishes, lighting, timber floor and many other materials and fittings. This strip lies between Canal Road and O’Brien Road, and is accessible by MTR or the tram. The shops open up to the sidewalks, and at certain areas they are strung one after the other. Here, even the very high-end brands are on display, street-side.
Other shops are enclosed and air-conditioned. I particularly enjoy looking at the different varieties of marble, granite and natural stone in this area, as here you can view substantially sized slabs and feel their texture. There is also an extensive variety of hardware, locksets, cabinetry fittings and accessories, including door- and mirror-edging material. A lot of what you find here, you still cannot find in Manila. Notable is the multilevel Colour Living, a multiawarded retail store that sells contemporary bathroom fixtures and fittings, tiles, decorative accessories and furniture.
2. Morrison Hill Road, Causeway Bay. This is the blinding bright spot for lighting. Many years back, they sold good European-made pieces and lots of badly manufactured ones from China. More recently though, the Chinese-made products have greatly improved in both quality and design. Of course you still get a number of kitschy stuff, but on the overall, you get the best options and good value here.
Many of these shops have small branches on Lockhart Road, but this is where you see a full display of their range of items: from large decorative pendant lamps to small LED ceiling fixtures. Electrical devices like switches, dimmers and automated lighting control systems can also be found in these shops.
3. Wong Nei Chung Road, Happy Valley. Stroll through this quieter part of Hong Kong and enjoy the fair number of beautiful showrooms that sell both European- and Asian-made furniture. Wong Nei Chung Road is known for its designer shops with styles that are largely modern and contemporary, humored with a sprinkling of the avant-garde and the kitschy.
Price points range from horrifically expensive to less expensive. You simply don’t get budget items here. Large sofas, buffet tables, consoles and decorative cabinetry are in full display. You will also find a good selection of light fixtures, fittings, rugs, carpets and accessories to complement your selected furniture pieces.
4. Hollywood Road and its environs, Mid-Levels, Central. Hollywood Road is the most popular strip for Westerners who have quickly fallen in love with—or are still discovering—oriental art. Chinese and other oriental furnishing pieces proliferate in this narrow yet busy street that is best accessed by foot via the long escalator near the Central Market. This 800-meter-long escalator system will take you up from Queen’s Road Central to Hollywood Road and through the other roads that run parallel to it.
Hollywood Road is the place to go for serious antiques like Ming dynasty porcelain, terracotta pieces, Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy. Here, you will also find many shops selling middle-eastern carpets plus a sprinkling of small shops selling furniture and vintage décor. A good number of art galleries line Hollywood Road, some with international tie-ups and selling some of the best art in Asia. Nearby Duddel Street, Wyndham Street and Lyndhurst Terrace have a diverse collection of furnishing shops, including those retailing some of the best fabric brands available in Hong Kong.
5. Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau. Now, this is one place that I’ve been to when it was a warehouse, but I hear it has been converted into an “outlet” facility for Hong Kong’s furniture retailers. Everything from outdoor furniture, children’s furniture, lighting, sofas, dining and living sets can all be found here at discounted prices. Although it is located at an unpopular destination for tourists, Ap Lei Chau is a quick 30- to 40-minute bus ride from Hong Kong Island’s Central district. Horizon Plaza, is for me, the place to explore on my next Hong Kong visit.
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