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ORIENT EXPRESSION Lala Curio


UNEARTHING ANCIENT TREASURES and creating new ways to use them in modern homes is not only an inspiration for interior designer Laura Cheung, it is her passion. Her luxury interiors brand Lala Curio is a playful take on Chinese artisanship, incorporating Laura’s love of antiquity, her respect for ancient decorative skills and modern sensibilities. Laura was born in Sydney, schooled in England,


raised in Hong Kong, and has worked internationally in the worlds of fashion, art, interior design and brand strategy. She trained at Parsons School of Design in New York and obtained her master’s degree at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, where she studied 500 years of furniture and ceramics from Europe and China. Lala Curio has thus developed a thoroughly global outlook on design. “I’m somewhat of a melting pot myself,” says


Laura. “And, by helping to preserve forgotten arts from around the world and bring them to a modern clientele, we hope to foster a younger generation to continue the legacy of these lost techniques.” Located on a quiet residential terrace in Hong


Kong’s Starstreet Precinct, Lala Curio’s flagship boutique is designed to look like a home, with its own dining room and salon. “The shop appeals to tastemakers who take a thrill in the theatre of life,” says Laura. “It might be the lady of the house who wants a fashionable abode, or the curious minded who appreciates craft and embraces modernity.” The boutique is filled with whimsical objects


– all designed and created in-house – as well as meticulously crafted furniture, lights and decorative accessories. But pride of place goes to the imperial craft cloisonné tiles and the hand-painted and embroidered silk wallpaper – creations that reinvent


360 A LEGACY OF LUXURY


traditional chinoiserie. They balance traditional craftsmanship with contemporary playfulness. Laura comes from three generations of


furniture artisans. “My family is my rock,” she says, “and my parents my biggest inspiration.” Her work draws upon those traditions. “After completing my master’s degree, I spent three years visiting workshops throughout remote parts of China, India, the Philippines and Europe,” she says. “For our hand- painted wallpaper, I visited artisans all over China who were painting, embroidering or sculpting. There is a long history of decorative arts in China that we can learn from.”


This theme is followed throughout her range.


“All our products follow this pattern of taking Chinese craft and making it accessible to a modern, worldly audience,” says Laura. “Cloisonné tiles, for instance, are so intricate and time-consuming to create, and the skills are being forgotten.” The lengthy process – which includes bronze castings, bending delicate wires into shapes, enamelling and multiple firings – carries a high risk of craquelure, the dense cracking that often comes from ageing. After a long process of development with the few remaining workshops of the forgotten art, Lala Curio has invented new ways of applying cloisonné to make the art more accessible. The brand continues to evolve with its loyal


clientele, many of whom take advantage of Lala Curio’s bespoke interior design service. “I love that feeling that comes with finishing a space, curating a show, creating an event, a house or a restaurant,” says Laura. “The best thing about Lala Curio is that like- minded people can come together to appreciate the passion and creativity that goes into each project.” — www.lalacurio.com


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