A CULTURE OF COMFORT
#legend considers how far luxury furnishings house Altfield has come in 35 years
Altfield is one of the biggest suppliers of luxury furnishings in the Hong Kong design market. The business currently represents and distributes the products from about 40 of the top interior furnishing companies in Europe and the United States. A quick tour of the Altfield showroom will reveal a treasure trove of fabrics, wall coverings, leather, lighting and, of course, furniture – displaying a distinct East-meets-West aesthetic that Altfield has made its own.
Altfield Gallery began as an independent dealer in antiques, specialising in 18th-century and 19th-century Chinese furniture, and became hugely successful. It was founded 35 years ago by Amanda Clark and David Halperin. Clark was a designer who grew up in Hong Kong. Halperin was an American lawyer. When they met in the early 1980s, they
discovered a shared interest in antique Chinese furniture and Asian decorative arts. Clark and Halperin did what nobody else in the antiques trade had done previously; they bought English experts in furniture restoration to Macau, the location of the original Altfield workshop, to train craftsmen as restorers.
The interests and expertise of the partners grew and they found themselves dealing in Southeast Asian sculpture, maps, topographical prints, Burmese and Cambodian silver, and Indian jewellery, among other pieces. With so much art and so many antiques passing through their hands, Clark and Halperin were inspired to develop a line of reproductions: high-end pieces made using the techniques and materials of the past but reworked with a Western eye. The Altfield we know today was born.
Altfield works with top designers and architects and fills its showrooms with the most beautiful, exclusive, and inspiring fabrics, home accessories and furniture. There are fabric designs from brands such as Pierre
Frey, Fadini Borghi, Jim Thompson, Rubelli, Weitzner; leathers from Moore & Giles and Studioart; designer lighting from Porta Romana and Vaughan Designs; and luxury trimmings from Samuel & Sons to be found in Altfield’s showrooms in Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and London.
Altfield also has a collection of handworked solid silverware and Clark’s own line of wearable jewellery. Clark is first and foremost a designer, with a keen eye for Chinese and Southeast Asian traditional forms and motifs. She works with a group of talented Asian silversmiths to rework beautiful silver antiques into wonderful modern pieces.
The solid silver bowls, platters, vases and other containers in her collection play with refined Chinese motifs, including lotus, bamboo and cloud patterns, using ageold techniques like repoussé, chasing and engraving to decorate the malleable silver with detailed shapes and scroll designs.
Altfield’s selection of antique and modern Indian jewellery embodies the old-meetsnew, East-meets-West thinking that is of the company’s heritage. Clark’s one-of-a kind designs include necklaces made with old gold beads from India and old gold jewellery from dowries, all given a new life with pearls, aquamarines, amethysts, peridots, citrines and tourmalines.
During its 35-year journey, Altfield has mastered the trick of being in three places at once: where East meets West, where old meets new and at the forefront of design. altfield.com.hk
Clockwise from above: pendants from the Amanda Clark Wearable Jewels Heritage Collection; Cambodian silverware; Altfield’s shop in the Prince’s Building in Central; scrolling lotus wine coasters