“When the Client is Happy, We’re Happy” How a design duo lives a creative Hong Kong life
It was the dot com wave in 1998 that spurred architect Clarence Chiang and interior designer Hannah Lee to start up a furniture-sourcing website supported by their design and architecture practice. This concept soon evolved to become Team HC, a Hong Kong-based creative powerhouse through which the married couple focuses solely on individualistic projects that personify clients’ character.
“We met through mutual friends back in Hong Kong and started as a team back in 1998, the year we got married,” says Hannah. “Since we have similar design aesthetics, it just made sense to start our own practice. “Clarence focuses more on the larger picture and overall scheme, while I get more into the details, practicality, soft furnishings, fabrics and so on. We constantly bounce ideas off each other.”
Team HC prides itself on bespoke, understated projects with a strong sense of place, and increasingly approaches the business with sustainability in mind. The talented leaders in interior and furniture design, alongside architecture services for residential, commercial, and hospitality projects, boast an enviable portfolio of awe inspiring projects, seen here on Insta: “We don’t design for the sake of ‘design’,” says Hannah. “We also don’t like to follow design trends as such and try to create an aesthetic that is timeless yet pleasing to the eye.” This is especially true for when designing a home.
“We steer away from creating a ‘showroom’ effect. Sustainability and being environmentally conscious is playing a big part in our design these days.” While both studied their craft in the US – Hannah, Interior Design at Pratt Institute in New York, and Clarence, architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York – Hong Kong is well and truly home. They currently live in Clear Water Bay, and while they love this seaside escape, they’re still searching for their ideal house or apartment. However, Clear Water Bay has become an outdoorsy haven for the couple.
“Ever since we became dog parents (to Sparky and Elmo), our life has changed drastically and it seems like most things we do in Hong Kong is related to them,” says Hannah. “We like the clean air of Clear Water Bay and the space for our two dogs, who need to run around.” Hong Kong is the ideal playground to hike and swim with the dogs, look for dog-friendly restaurants, explore the small side streets in different neighborhoods, drive to places we have not been before and try out different types of coffee joints in various neighbourhoods. The couple also volunteers their design services to charitable organizations such as Bring Me a Book, to promote parents reading to their children, and Feng Zi Kai, an annual award recognizing children’s authors.
Hong Kong life has been a big influence on their design approach, but the avid travellers often look further afield for inspiration and interiors. “Although there has been an increase in design-related businesses here in Hong Kong, we still feel the need to source from overseas to achieve variety on our selection of materials and furnishings,” says Hannah. “Being in this business for so long, inspiration comes from traveling and looking at architectural details (both interior and exterior) from the past and present.” Ultimately, Team HC aims form long term partnerships with like-minded clients, with many becoming lifelong friends. The goal? “To create a marriage between form and function … when the client is happy, we are happy”.