Walk around Pacific Place every major holiday season and you’ll be delighted with the vibrant displays strewn across the shopping mall; this Lunar New Year is no different, with an uplifting medley of auspicious colours, Chinese lanterns and hot air balloons, made to represent joyous blessings and the illumination for a bright future in the new year.
Behind this year’s displays is none other than Laura Cheung, founder of homegrown home décor brand Lala Curio. “Our mission at Lala Curio is to revive lost crafts of the Orient, making them exciting and relevant again for today. In keeping with the spirit of romance and nostalgia of 17th century Chinoiserie, we have created our 2.0 version with the lyrical subjects of flora and fauna by adding a special narrative for the audience of Pacific Place,” says Cheung.
As an interior design maven, Cheung comes from a family of creative entrepreneurs: You’ll find her most days injecting her vivacious personality into her designs — whether through wallpaper, tilework, furnishings or décor and accessories at Lala Curio — located in the stylish Star Street Precinct neighbourhood. Her sister Anne is behind the patissier Jouer, while her brother Chris co-owns Wan Chai’s East-meets-West hangout Bread & Beast. Cheung’s parents came from families long established in the arts and antique trades — her father in the rosewood furniture business and her mother in cloisonné.
After spending her formative years in Hong Kong and England, the Sydney-born Hongkonger studied at Parsons School of Design in New York, thereafter she embarked on a career in museum exhibition design for Samsung Global Brand Showcase and World Expositions, which led to senior roles producing fashion events for clients such as Tom Ford, Estée Lauder, Vogue and MoMA.
The appreciation of exquisite craftsmanship, or at least the creative gene and desire to strike out on one’s own, certainly runs in the family. As Cheung returned to Asia in 2014, she established Lala Curio as a home décor and lifestyle brand that took inspiration from the forgotten crafts from remote areas in China. One of the signature offerings are her modernised cloisonné tiles, previously an art that was restricted for Imperial use.
Aside from the Sau Wa Fong flagship and the Macau boutique at Studio City, Lala Curio has established pop-up appearances at Landmark, PMQ, Bergdorf Goodman in New York, TS1 Burma and La Rinascente Milan. It makes regular appearances at Maison et Objet Paris, Decorex London and Salone del Mobile Milan — the design world’s answer to Fashion Week. Following a joint venture with Riqing Enterprise in 2017, there have also been talks of expanding in Mainland China.
Celebrating Chinese New Year, we sit down and get to know Laura Cheung more personally in our signature 27 Questions.
Name: Laura Cheung
Neighbourhood: Starstreet Precinct, Wan Chai
Occupation: Home decor and interior design
1. What is your life motto?
Live with no regrets.
2. What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?
Asaya — we need more organic, clean beautifully plated food in Hong Kong.
3. Who is your role model?
My husband, for his kindness and constant desire to learn and experience things.
4. What is your drink of choice?
Tequila soda with lime.
5. When was the last time you drove a car?
Never — can’t drive, can’t ride a bike either.
6. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?
Our silk wallpaper with pearls embellished in coral reef patterns.
7. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
8. Which phone app do you think more people should know about?
9. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
10. How many countries have you been to?
Too many, lost count but I have not touched the continent of Africa and would love to explore it soon. Tanzania is also on my bucket list.
11. What is your greatest fear?
Me or people around me leaving the planet.
12. Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life? Why?
Never be alone — I am incapable of being alone, I start talking to the wall.
13. What is one movie everyone should see?
14. What is your typical Sunday like?
A hike and family dinner.
15. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?
My NYC uni days when I danced ‘til the sun came out.
16. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
It can’t be one place because any wonderful place would get boring after a while. This year it will likely be in LA and Paris.
17. Have you ever experienced love at first sight? Tell us about it.
Yes, when I was 10 maybe? And the boy said I was ugly. Traumatised.
18. Do you have any favourite tattoos or special birthmarks? What is it?
A birthmark on my waist but I’m not so sure I love it…
19. If you could invite any five people in the world to your dream dinner party, who would they be?
Iris Apfel, Luisa Marchesa Casati, Dries van Noten, Kit Kemp, Jacques Garcia.
20. What is one song you know all the lyrics to?
‘I Want You’ by Savage Garden.
21. Where do you go when you want to be alone?
I like to eat lunch alone, there are a few spots around Star Street that I alternate at.
22. What’s your favourite childhood memory?
Dancing on my papa’s toes.
23. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?
Over 50 pairs? But I wear Belgian Shoes loafers every day.
24. What is your favourite scent in the whole world?
I once made my own at an aromatherapy class, it’s essentially heavy on the woods, cedar, Hinoki with a tinge of a sweet note to finish.
25. Are you a good cook? What is your best dish?
I cooked every day when I was pregnant and never since. I’m a terrible cook. Best dish? Making stews as it doesn’t require any precision in timing.
26. Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had, what is one important lesson that they taught you?
My English teacher Ms. Chu, who embraced my creativity when it didn’t matter in the local school I went to.
27. What is the last dream you remember waking up to?
With my new sleeping schedule with the baby, my days and nights are blurred. I’m basically living in a dream.
Learn more at Lala Curio.