A CUL­TURE OF COM­FORT

#leg­end con­sid­ers how far lux­ury fur­nish­ings house Alt­field has come in 35 years

#Legend - - ALTFIELD -

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

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