How can you live minimally in a busy city like Hong Kong? Well, joining the ranks of Kwun Tong‘s ever expanding youth culture, recently opened HOW Concept Store has the answer. The furniture distributor occupies one whole floor in a warehouse building and conveniently doubles as a café. Thanks to its beautifully curated Instagram account, it exploded with popularity among enthusiastic café seekers in Hong Kong. I was unable to visit on a weekday so I braved the weekend crowd after the original craze of the café-cum-furniture store began dying down.
The café, or the Food Factory as HOW Concept Store calls it, is currently the main attraction of the new space. Most visitors were in their early twenties when I went so I’m guessing they weren’t looking to build a home yet. Having said that, as part of their aims to promote a pleasant lifestyle, HOW Concept Store also sells Japanese design accessories and other knick-knacks, which many customers seemed to have a large interest in.
As soon as you step off the creaking warehouse lifts – which you have to operate by hand, by the way, and are an experience in themselves – you’re met with the cleverly worded slogan of HOW Concept Store: “HOW to live well”. If you go during the day, the sun spills in from the large windows making it a good spot for your selfies. Just a head’s up. 😉
The interior decor of HOW Concept Store stays true to its philosophy of minimal living. The single large room spans across an entire warehouse floor, offering spaced out dining tables so customers aren’t listening in to their next door neighbours or jostled by passersby. It’s a lovely break from the crowded restaurants and cafés of Hong Kong. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been distracted by the gossip I’ve been forced to hear from some bimbo across the next table while trying to concentrate.
Most café customers were just like me, working on their laptops or relaxing with a book. The great thing about working in HOW Concept Store is that it gets a lot of natural light from the almost-floor-to-ceiling windows that reach across the length of the room.
I didn’t sample their food as I went in the late afternoon, but to give you an idea, the menu offers a small range of western and Japanese food. There’s something for everyone with examples including pasta, rice and sandwiches.
The star of HOW Concept Store is, of course, their furniture section. You can tell they have handpicked selections that specifically considers their brand name. HOW Concept Store advocates a less is more attitude to furniture and living which is reflected in the Japanese brands that they retail. They feature a library of goods, from larger items such as sofas and bookshelves to small kitchenware utensils like forks and knives.
Just to quickly name a few, offered brands ranging from home to lifestyle include ACME Furniture, Karimoku and T-Lab. HOW Concept Store also routinely updates its Facebook and Instagram pages for new products, so be sure to follow them to keep up with the most updated design news in the Asian world.
I loved working at HOW Concept Store. The definite plus for me was the spaced out tables so I don’t have to interact with my neighbours. I just wish it didn’t cost so much to cross the harbour to get there because unfortunately, the lack of space of cafés on Hong Kong island can’t offer this luxury.
That being said, I’ll be returning in the future to try the food, but I’ll probably wait until the hype of HOW Concept Store dies down. While the café was far from noisy, it wasn’t easy to find a free table even in the late afternoon. I’m guessing at the moment, it would be more crowded during lunch hours.
I’m not looking to build a home yet at 23 years old but it was still nice browsing the potential furnishing options while winding down after a whole afternoon’s work. The items were so my style – y’know, raw and minimal, so I really had to exercise self-control while looking. Remember to have cash on hand if you find it hard to resist pretty lifestyle goods. 😉
HOW Concept Store
3/F, How Ming Factory Building, 99 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
+852 2805 1708
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