Hong Kong. Another light bulb failed, and our living room was again sinking into darkness. Not that it has ever been illuminated well. The main culprit, Vietnamese bamboo lamps, kill more light than they emit. Unfortunately, stronger light bulbs threatened to kill the light fixtures, weaker ones just saw their light swallowed up. In other words: after coping with this situation for about a decade, I was finally ready to go shopping for new light fittings. And since we have similarly ‘great’ lighting in almost every room, I got ready for a major shopping spree.
A few weeks ago I had seen the ad for designer furniture outlet: Stockroom. They obviously had all their items – designer light fittings, designer furniture etc – on sale for those few days. And, yes, the prices were simply incredible. A set of three ‘Tom Dixon-like’ light fixtures for HKD 1690 (down from HKD 8000?) Wow. An Arne Jacobson table lamp for a mere 1030 HKD (originally: 2999 HKD)? Wow. Eames plastic chairs for less than 800 HKD. … I think you get the picture!
Of course, these are all replicas … but, I figured, if the quality is ok, buying them for those prices is still a pretty good deal. So, I decided to take a closer look and visit their showroom before ordering anything online. I asked my daughter to join me on that little trip – and she agreed to come along. She is interested in design and art — that helped. My husband, meanwhile, refused to come along … he apparently had better things to do … like sleeping …
After an hour by cab, we finally reached the place. It’s located fairly close to Kennedy Town in what you could call a ‘truly deserted area’. The high rise where the showroom was located called itself “Industrial Building”. Admittedly, the place was kind of scary (and kind of very crappy.)
A small sign with the name “Stockroom” printed on it reassured us that we were at the correct address. In any case I would not have left the cab driver take off before making sure. Two bored guys just randomly gesticulated towards the back wall of the building when we asked “Stockroom”? They didn’t say a word. We followed their directions, passed by some old wooden crates, a pile of miscellaneous rubbish and scrambled up a few steps, only to end up in front of an ugly concrete wall that seemed to house only a few rusty cargo elevators. No passenger lift. My daughter was already back on the main floor of the factory hall, since she didn’t trust the elevators to work at all (In fact, she was already looking around for the mildewed stairwell). Ignoring her, I punched in “20” and after a couple minutes, one of the huge iron doors creaked opened, and we got in. Unfortunately, there are none of the usual safety features … thus I got lucky, making it through the door before it rumbled shut. Inside, the first thing you saw was a huge sign “NOT A PASSENGER LIFT”. Very reassuring. Undeterred, I pressed “20” again, making a mental note to disinfect my hands at the first opportunity.
The box started to move. Slowly. Slower. Very slowly. It even jarred a couple of times (wonderful). Finally, it came to a noisy stop and the door opened into a dark hallway (see above. My daughter features in the picture, waving her hand around in what is either disgust or trepidation. Mostly, I can’t tell the difference.). A weak shaft of light towards the middle of the aisle signalled the presence of life … so we moved closer. We had arrived.
Stockroom’s showroom is currently pretty small, though I heard that they will expand across the hallway in the first week of June. Given the limited space they currently have, they tried to put as much product on display as possible. Four highly attentive shop attendants were busy working behind their desks. All of them were very approachable, helpful, spoke good English (which, after I thanked my stars, was a welcome surprise to me) and overall handled everything in a very professional manner. They even handed me an iPad so that I could check their products on the website while strolling through the showroom. Furthermore, they informed me about their return policies (note: they are pretty strict: check all merchandise upon delivery, along with the light fittings. If they don’t work, you have to tell them within 3 days, else no return will be possible). Then, they took my order without any problems. Since I paid with my ATM card, the delivery should theoretically get here in about 7 days. If I had opted to pay by credit card, it would have taken 3 to 4 weeks. I don’t quite understand why, but assume that this is their way of telling customers that they prefer either EPS or cash.
They also seemed to know quite a lot about their goods, thus could easily comment on size, looks, material and quality of various items that were not on display when queried.
In all it was a very pleasant surprise (well, for me. My daughter mostly hung around on one of the sofas and sent photos to my husband, seeing as my email doesn’t work on mobile) – especially after that initial shock upon arrival at the run-down building.
Here is a selection of what I got: Taiton Loft Style Vintage Pendant Lamp, Vintage Industrial Style Cage Pendant, Arne Jacobson AJ Style table lamp, Bowen loft style Vintage Pendant Lamp and a set of Tom Dixon’s Beat Style pendant lamps.
All for a generous discount. Awesome.