Header image courtesy of @222thebackyard (via Instagram)
Just as art and music can be curated, so too can retail experiences. Also known as lifestyle concept stores, these outlets carry products across a wide range of different brands and categories, all of which have been carefully chosen to complement a central lifestyle or customer—whether that’s a sneakerhead with a passion for pop art, a neatly groomed hipster with a taste for Maison Kitsuné, or an eco-warrior with a zero-waste pledge.
Above all, the concept store is almost always beautiful—not only in the products it sells but the experience and environment too, making a compelling and endlessly browsable argument for offline shopping. Read on to discover what Hong Kong’s best lifestyle concept stores have to offer, from museum-worthy homewares to fashionable clothes and useful gadgets!
Named after the giant red-flowered trees found all across Hong Kong, Kapok is one of the OG concept stores around, having been founded in 2006 by Arnault Castel in an attempt to bring a “selection of future classics” to the city. In the last 15 years, Kapok has gained a well-earned reputation for hunting down the coolest brands both locally and around the world, from coveted jewellery like Maria Black and Wolf Circus to fine fragrances from Byredo and Heeley, clothing from Maison Kitsuné, O.N.S., Sessun, and much more.
Each of its physical locations is slightly different, with store designs inspired by their respective districts, as well as store-exclusive brands that the Kapok team think would best appeal to customers from that district—for example, hand-built cups and plates from Hong Kong ceramics brand Hama showcased alongside classic mid-century Vitra furniture at the design-centric K11 Musea store.
If the beautiful and thoughtfully chosen wares at M+’s retail space, The Other Shop, indicate the kind of curation we can expect from the museum, then we are in for a treat. Although M+ itself is not due to open for a few more months, The Other Shop and Curator Creative (the on-site café) opened their doors recently, offering curious visitors a sneak peek at the highly anticipated museum. Comprising a florist, bookstore, and gift shop, there is almost certainly something for everyone at The Other Store.
The inventory is refreshed regularly, but you can expect a selection of chic lifestyle products—have you ever seen a beautiful soap dispenser before?—and bulk refill products, as well as unique handmade goods from local artisans, often with a sustainable or socially-minded bent. Some of our favourites include the aluminium can pins from The Alchemist, which are made from upcycled soft drink cans by artisans with disabilities, as well as the boro bonsai from 222 The Backyard, which utilise a patchwork material made from salvaged scraps of Japanese indigo cloth to create perennial, unkillable versions of cactuses and hip caudex plants.
The Other Shop, B/F, M+ Museum, 38 Museum Drive, Tsim Sha Tsui
Note: The Other Shop may be temporarily closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
With the opening of Central Market comes Slowood’s newest, most centrally located store yet. This home-grown brand is best known for its zero- or low-waste groceries but has always been a haven for design lovers, with everything from the stylish reusable glass jars to the quirky egg-shaped fridge deodorisers and pistachio green enamelware showcasing a specific Scandinavian aesthetic sensibility.
With its new store, Slowood has expanded its scope to introduce a kiosk of ready-to-eat snacks and an all-new accessories section, as well as broadening its homeware selection. Varying between wabi-sabi minimalist chic and colourful, playful statement design pieces, the latter includes Studio Arhoj’s eccentric ceramics, Warren et Laetitia’s wavy 3D-printed soap dishes made from recycled plastic bottles, and the signature seafoam green glass fish jars and plates from Serax.
Slowood, Shops 231–233, 2/F, Central Market, 93 Queen’s Road Central, Central
This branch of the MoMA Design Store—which started off as the gift shop of the Museum of Modern Art in New York—exists independently of a museum, though its catalogue is clearly influenced by the MoMA’s curatorial identity and historical relationship with design, which was long overshadowed by traditional art forms like painting.
With the MoMA Design Store, what would ordinarily be a footnote at any other museum has become a veritable shopping mecca, offering a diverse selection of creative, off-the-wall, and unfailingly beautiful products. Even the artist collaboration pieces, which in most museum gift shops would take the form of postcards, mugs, or perhaps a jigsaw, are given an edge at MoMA, where they are immortalised as patterned skateboard decks, instant film cameras, trainers, and watches.
With an emphasis on both form and function, many of the products at MoMA Design Store are modern and innovative, with items like a chopping board with a built-in scale, sanitiser, and knife sharpener, as well as one of our favourites, the Bluetooth- and FM radio-enabled vertical vinyl record player, which allows you to admire the record as it plays.
MoMA Design Store, Shop 135, 1/F, K11 Musea, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2316 2113
Comprising a lifestyle store, florist, and full-service restaurant, Hapi is an interesting, if hard-to-define place—especially when you take into consideration its frequent use as an exhibition or pop-up space. Occupying a 4,000-square-foot corner location in the tranquil Poho neighbourhood, Hapi’s large glass windows and colourful shop displays regularly draw curious customers in to browse their range of clothing, accessories, homewares, and beauty products, with an emphasis on local designers like Azona, Odelicate, and 22 Degree.
Currently, Hapi’s space is being taken over by a pop-up store from luxury streetwear titans Clot and Sacai, which is being marked by a number of artsy workshops, as well as a sneaker display and futuristic moon gate to pose in front of.
Hapi, Shop 2–4, Tower 125, 11 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2811 3623
Taking over the sprawling, two-storey space previously occupied by an ever-changing rotation of luxurious, if uninspiring car showrooms, House of Madison is tasteful, yet unmistakeably opulent. A physical extension of The Madison Group—one of Asia’s leading providers of refined kitchen design and home furnishings—the multifunctional space allows customers to interact with the very products that TMG carries: Bulthaup kitchen fittings, Sub-Zero fridges, a statement-making Rimadesio dining table.
Designed by architectural studio Via, the 4,950-square-foot showroom is envisioned as a residential space fit for a multimillionaire, with the top floor acting as a functional penthouse while the ground floor is a shoppable gallery-slash-interior courtyard. Replete with red bricks and bronze archways, the showroom offers a refreshingly warm and welcoming take on luxury—and while we don’t know how realistic it would be to one day occupy such a residence, House of Madison does host private workshops and dinners, so you can experience it without having to, say, strike a jackpot in crypto.
House of Madison, Shop G03, G/F, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai | (+852) 2239 5072