LAURA CHEUNG IN DIANA D’ORVILLE FOR VOGUE HONG KONG
Laura wears our Kamyar jacket for Vogue Hong Kong.
Inside The Hong Kong Home of Laura Cheung
Founder of design emporium Lala Curio, Laura Cheung’s Hong Kong home is a lesson in artisanship, print and colour
By Alice Riley-Smith
No wall of Laura Cheung’s home has been left untouched. But that’s of little surprise given that Laura is founder of Lala Curio, an interior decoration studio that creates bespoke hand-painted wallpaper, along with decorative furniture and objects, that revive and reinvent lost artisanship. And if the walls are not adorned with a covering, it’s a bold paint colour or a statement artwork sourced by her sister, formerly of the Marlborough Gallery in London. Located on the peaceful hilltop of Kadoorie in Kowloon, where Laura grew up, this two-storey colonial-style house does wonders to bring the decor to life, even so soon after Laura and her family moved in last summer.
“There was a little bit of competition as to what walls we would devote to our favourite art and which would be to wallpaper,” says Laura. “But once we’d decided, it was really like painting a three-dimensional canvas, for which you have an amazing backdrop, and the colours and elements you pull from it determine what furniture, accessories and florals you place where.” The sunshine-yellow walls of the dining room, for instance, are hung with a large work by Chinese artist Tang Haiwen, the colours picked up in an Art Deco rug and repurposed blinds, and offset by the antique wood table and chairs and a sculptural display of flowers from the nearby flower market. “We wanted to pick a really fun colour for the dining room walls – nothing too serious or formal – to create somewhere really happy that’s a great place for gathering as a family,” says Laura of the space.
Antiques play a starring role throughout Laura’s home, with many passed down from her grandparents, including a collection of cloisonné, and have been masterfully curated with custom-made and upholstered furniture, including a pair of chairs upcycled in beautiful Japanese obi fabric. They sit well alongside pieces that Laura has picked up from her travels – African sculptures and a rattan peacock chair from the Philippines. “I love layering things from different parts of history, from different cultures. It’s all part of the journey of collecting and building,” says Laura. “For the custom-made pieces, I draw inspiration from history. I love the Art Nouveau period and we’ll find architectural design details to build into furniture.”
Laura has her wallpapers, too, tell a story. “The one that is designated for the family is in the entrance hall,” says Laura, referring to the sea-green paper illustrated with gold, pearl-encrusted fish and coral. “Each of our characters is so well-depicted in the pufferfish. My mother is the biggest one – she’s the voice of the house. I’m the quirky one with the unicorn.” In Laura and her husband’s bedroom is the jungle series – two wall coverings that visually represent them and their newborn baby through animals. “We love animals, we love preserving nature, and we love exploring different parts of the world. We really wanted to instil this at an early age for the baby,” says Laura.
Nature was one of the reasons that Laura fell in love with the house itself, the wraparound garden and terraces providing ample space for the baby to play outdoors, protected by a “bamboo forest” that filters the noise of Prince Edward below. A sun room encased in floor-to-ceiling windows allows sunlight and the green of the garden to spill into the house, and is, unsurprisingly, where Laura begins each day, practicing yoga.
It is hard to imagine that Laura and her family were meant to be setting up life in Los Angeles right now, where Lala Curio launched a store earlier this year. That is, until the pandemic uprooted their plans. Aside from heading up the breathtaking design of private members’ club Pier1929 in Wan Chai, Laura has used this time to pause, reflect and look at the bigger picture of our planet and its need for help. Inspired by the lack of sustainable clothing she could find for her baby, Laura is in the process of launching a childrenswear brand, for which pieces will be made from organic cotton woven with nourishing Icelandic seaweed. With Lala Curio too, Laura is urging clients to reuse and restore, providing a way to reinstall coverings. “After all, things are so much more beautiful when they have a story to tell,” she says.
Find full interview on Vogue Hong Kong here
Photographer: Natalie Dunn
Styling: Foxla Chiu
Hair & Makeup: Echo Makeup