Design Matter #4
"Damn Spring" sang Loretta Goggi (a well-known Italian singer in vogue in the 70s) in one of her most famous songs. In those verses, spring was a harbinger of a though romance, suitable for a season of rebirth.
In Southeast Asia, the rains begin to haunt us again after a long pause made up of blue skies and chirping birds, the plants are filled with new buds of such a bright and shiny green that looks almost fake.
This period of the year gives us the charge to start thinking about everything that was not possible to carry out in the previous months due to restrictions. Restaurants have finally reopened their doors for evening diners, allowing us to rediscover that intimacy, that special moment we have always loved: dinner time with friends.
For us it means organizing new events, looking for new collaborations to bring more and more freshness and novelty to our showroom.
And this is how we decided to offer our space to designers who, like us, have invested time and energy for giving birth to ambitious projects. Carmen Kwok is like this: dynamic, creative, with a lot of experience and with a big love for quality, craftsmanship and style ... like Tablo!
Hi Carmen, thank you so much for being here in our showroom! Let’s have a brief chat about yourself, your career and your future projects.
How did you start your career in design?
I am a fine artist and I was graduated in Fine Arts Department of CUHK. After having spent half year in RTHK for a fine art TV program as researcher and half year as primary school teacher , I accidentally met my secondary schoolmate in church and accepted her invitation , joined the renowned British Interior design firm in HK in 1990, started from scratch as librarian and gradually being promoted to be associate partner in charge of FF&E team and worked till end 2016.
What is "design" for you? Is there any style you love most?
As I am an artist, "Design" to me should be "Functional" with sense of beauty and innovative. My studio (Carmen Kwok Studio) slogan is "Joy of Simplicity, Beauty of Nature”. I think it already answered your question!
We are going to set up a nice event to launch your new cushions
collection. How did this project come to your mind? Where are the fabrics
Thanks for Tablo, I knew Vincenzo and Carola for quite some times and is really nice of them to offer me this chance to display my cushion covers in their shop :) My brand " Quattro " is an Italian word means Four as I am the fourth kid in my family. The tag design actually was a photo I took in Copenhagen at a flower booth ,accidentally there was a hand written 4 on the paper , that's why I used it as the brand tag design. I think the quality of materials and style match Tablo. I imported those high-end fabrics from Europe mainly Italy and France to HK and tailor made over 20 designs for this brand, they are made of cotton and linen in majority, in lovely hand feel and with simple elegant look.
I remember when we met, you mentioned alpaca wool which reminds me of a long trip around Peru and Bolivia where I found a lot of super soft alpaca fabrics mostly handmade by the locals. Did you get in touch with new cultures when you were searching for fabrics?
I used to visit M&O and Deco Off exhibitions in Paris, I was blessed in my past working history which allowed me to visit some important interior design trade fairs overseas and those experiences nourished myself as an interior decorator, also the manufacturers came to visit us to present their new collections twice a year and it was graceful to see those beautiful products and knew the stories behind the scenes and got inspired. Even in 2020 I visited Deco off and M&O in Paris in January right before the outbreak of Covid 19.
One of Carmen's cushion made with Organic linen
At Tablo we have many handmade products which are also (obviously) more expensive than the machine made items. I think many people are looking for handmade/ handcrafted items in the last few years because these goods look unique. What do you think about this?
Definitely !!! Customers nowadays are more concern about Uniqueness, looking for personalised products or services & environmentally friendly production as well. I truly believe in coming 10 years Art & Design & Innovative industry will dominate the market. Actually it sounds great to me :)
Is there a project/object you are particularly attached to? I mean something you did in the past.
Thank God! I had amazing years worked in LRF Designs Ltd, mostly worked on prestige projects and travelled to many places in the world. Most memorable experience was designing the hotel in Istanbul- I highly recommended friends to visit there even spent their " Honey moon " there :) Another memorable project I did was under my studio also the first project in Europe helped furnishing my sister's property in Lisbon and turned it to be service apartment. Without knowing anyone in Lisbon before I went there in 2014, I spent 4 trips and in 15 days completed the job and it was stunning combined with local culture and my furnishing skills and added my artistic values to it, showcasing my fine art photos and cushion covers and curated furnishing items. It was an AMAZING experience, don't mind to have more to come, that's how my vision come along "Holiday Home Decor" expert :)
And, talking about the future, have you already planned some new
I have some potential projects on hand but at the same time I was back to paint since last November , worked on numbers of acrylic paintings and sold some in December- all about Sai kung - " Morning has broken " series and "Creativity Workshop" has been in my mind quite sometimes which will combine what I have learnt overseas about Floral arrangement, Interior decorating , photography and painting, cooking , picture framing, even millinery, should be fun :) I am still gathering all info and may make it happens in near future.
Everything is evolving fast. What will be the next trend in design?
I think it will be like a " Firework " or like a chinese word "A hundred flowers Blooming" Individual small businesses are coming up... Innovative arts and designs applied to every parts of our life, but natural, spiritual, health - oriented products and for interior design concepts will be the main stream.
With our minds focused on the hundreds of blooming flowers, we say goodbye to Carmen and we start thinking about how to organize the launch event. Stay tuned and be available for the last week end of March, please!
Never stop dreaming!