the year of the ox

admired for its indispensable role in china’s agricultural society, the year of the ox is a celebration of its diligence, integrity, and honesty. we designed five red packets to honour the five grains in ancient china – wheat, broomcorn, rice, foxtail millet, and soybean. wrapped in a packaging that embodies the ox itself, the packets are tucked neatly into a blizzard book mechanism that serves as a carrier for all the stories within.

the idyllic scenes depicting agricultural life are set against the backdrop of ge ba, an unassuming textile artform from the countryside. reminiscent of cubist paintings, the featured ge ba are from the personal collection of françois dautresme, a prolific art collector who amassed over 7,500 items during his 35 years of travel, exploration and discovery in china, and more notably, the beloved and inspiring uncle of substance’s founder maxime dautresme.

scents of dao

over the last 5,000 years, the teachings of shen nong, the father of eastern restorative herbal medicine, have been crafted into a precise methodical philosophy centred around the body’s balance and free-flowing energy systems.

adopting these learnings into the modern day, scents of dao was formed.

just as the moon circles the earth and the earth the sun, human bodies are energy systems that abide by the act of diurnal living. scents of dao unites two key elements, the sun and the moon, characterised through the merging of the two chinese symbols to become an anchor for day to night rituals that create natural harmony in our cyclical lives. this is the practice of balance and the discipline of opposing forces which create a harmonious tranquillity to our natural state.

to practice scents of dao, is to pay tribute to the healing properties of nature.

photographs by: vita mak & judy chen

things of substance

the significance of light throughout time remains unaltered. illuminating our perception of the world, light carries remarkable gravity in the rituals of our day. from cave-man campfires to light bulbs, light permits us to linger in a state of wonder from where we can freely realm in the world of our imaginations.

our lamps are metamorphoses of history in cultures transformed into products of art.

as a result every lamp carries with it the spirit by which it has been created, manifesting into things of substance.

the year of the pig

the year of the pig carries a symbol of “abundance”. this porky zodiac brings you prosperity, fertility and plenty of luck. to send blessings to everyone in the coming year, we designed 8 auspicious red packets that illustrate an array of fortunes treasured in the pig’s full belly: harmony, morality, happiness, longevity, love, peace, success and wealth. gold stamping and spot uv finishing was applied to bring a sense of crafted opulence with each packet individually hand wrapped in ribbed kraft paper, ready to be gifted to friends and family.

photographs by: judy chen

fukuro

after a long day of work, wearied salarymen of tokyo trail back to the comforting glow of izakayas, where they take refuge and unwind with food, drinks and uninhibited conversations. echoing these nocturnal waterholes, fukuro embodies a mystical ambience, whilst exuding a warmth that sparks spirited interactions between visitors. as a messenger of the night and a protector from hardship in japanese symbolism, the owl icon manifests the outlet’s identity. the profusion of wood crafted by simple carpentry oozes an intimate and relaxed atmosphere for visitors to indulge in a spin on a quintessential japanese experience.

the fleming

we were tasked to redesign and rebrand the fleming hotel, originally opened in 2006. a new take on the architecture, interior, products, and identity transformed the fleming into a 66-room boutique hotel that is a true reflection of hong kong. occupying a building from the 70s’, the hotel stands in wan chai close to victoria harbour front. the multilayered design concept draws inspiration from the location and history, leveraging Hong Kong’s maritime heritage and 70s’ industrial era to create a cultural, social and efficient character. one landmark that embodies these three elements is the star ferry — having connected people across the harbour for over a century, it is a piece of hong kong’s collective memory and identity. the star ferry, a unique and elegant icon of Hong Kong’s past and present, became the foundation for every design detail, including the custom designed furniture and lighting. nostalgia is further evoked by colours and scents: Carmine reds and bottle greens — hues seen on the hull of Hong Kong’s ferries, fishing boats, delivery trucks, and temples —and apothecary-inspired toiletries and custom aroma of sandalwood and amber notes, to deliver an authentic sense of place.

photographs by: dennis lo & judy chen

 

 

khromis

like a prism dispersing monochromatic light into a spectrum of colours, khromis is a catalyst for transformation. each frame empowers the individual to reveal a whole palette of emotions and personalities. resembling a pair of glasses, the logo is also an expression of refracted light paths. the interior uses mirrors to create reflections and perspective, manoeuvring light to display the product in the best possible way. a touch of wood warms up the interior, along with the coffee bar in the corner, creating a comfortable atmosphere for a multi-sensory experience.

osteria marzia

a place where the sun meets the sea, osteria marzia brings the cuisine and romance of the southern italian coast to the heart of wan chai. through expansive windows, the glorious glow of sunlight breathes life to the luminous aqua blues, yellows and golds inspired by the mediterranean sea and shoreline. boat building techniques guide the interior architecture, and a contemporary maritime spirit find its expression in warm teak wood, white bamboo panels, navy blue banquettes and coral-blue tiles. here, the sea reveals itself in tables with shimmering surfaces and lamps that look like fishing lanterns. herbs from the aeolian islands perfume the air, as friends old and new gather to enjoy la dolce vita over wine and sumptuous italian seafood. a homage to life in cities by the sea, osteria marzia is an encounter with the flavours and sensuality of the mediterranean, in a dazzling oasis near the hong kong harbour.

Identity

plum

like harvesting ripened and succulent fruit while filtering out the rest, plum is a lifestyle curator that thoughtfully selects products based on quality, affordability, and distinctiveness. the result is a refined collection of the best of the best—tested by experts, with insider prices, and customised to each individual’s taste. the identity is the expression of consumer decisions made easier.

sulwhasoo cny campaign

behind the story of this cheeky well-travelled rat, is a collaboration that transcends cultural and creative borders. korea’s leading holistic beauty brand, sulwahsoo, and paris’s 18th century pattern maker, antoinette poisson, came together to develop sulwhasoo’s limited edition chinese new year packaging. we were challenged to create a global campaign out of antoinette poisson’s pattern of peonies, heart-links, and this year’s zodiac protagonist— the rat. staying true to the two dimensional nature of antoinette poisson’s work, we brought the packaging alive by revealing a whole world within the pattern and taking viewers on an enchanting journey past city landmarks and sulwhasoo’s signature product.