It is a really hot, humid day in Hong Kong and I’m running between studio visits, so when I get to the PMQ building to do the Obellery I’m dripping in sweat. No kidding, this is not the best introduction…Luckily for me, Hugo Yeung and Belinda Chang, the design team behind Obellery, couldn’t be nicer and more relaxed and they totally ignored my embarrassment. As for me, I completely forgot about it because the moment I walked through the door, all I could see was a jeweler’s paradise.
The Obellery Jewellery studio is extremely interesting and contemporary: it’s a mix of Belinda and Hugo’s personal studio, a gallery/store and a jewellery school where they teach metalsmith classes and run workshops during the year. The studio is in a building called PMQ (which used to be the HK Police Married Headquarters), which was recently renewed and currently hosts hip design stores from Hong Kong designers. Their space is very modern, with clean lines but at the same time filled with objects and details that were carefully chosen and displayed (mostly by Belinda… sorry Hugo!).
I ask Hugo where the inspiration for the Obellery name comes from. He tells me it’s the combination of Object + Jewellery, but that sometimes people think the name comes from the combination of HugO+BELinda, which after seeing their studio I think is very appropriate.
Going through the objects in the studio, Hugo and Belinda tell me they made the beautiful mirrors on the walls and had their benches custom made for the space. There are also some wood wine cases that are used as storage and just add a touch of charm to the space. And no, apparently they didn’t drink the wine bottles; a friend of theirs used to import wine and gave them the cases. There’s a door that leads to the balcony where a small stovetop has the dual function of heating the pickler and cooking dinner for clients. The balcony is also Hugo’s favorite spot in the studio, which I guess is related to having a break and smoking a cigarette (one of the first things he does when he gets to the studio).
Both Belinda and Hugo’s jewelry is very contemporary but with different approaches. Nature and ornaments influence Bel’s jewelry and she does wonders with pearls where Hugo’s jewelry is minimalistic with clean lines. Going through the cases filled with their jewelry is just an amazing thing to do. I do want to run off with all of it (which I didn’t but really wanted to!)
I had a blast shooting their studio and had some very good laughs with Bel, Hugo and Kody (as you can see from the photos). Kody Wing Hang Chan recently joined Obellery’s team and jointly with Bel they drive Hugo crazy (even though I think he secretly enjoys it!). I definitely recommend (insist) that you go and check them out. If you’re lucky enough to live in Hong Kong go and do one of their workshops in their studio. They are a breath of fresh air in the Hong Kong jewelry design scene and I foresee lots of good things coming their way in the near future.
Thanks so much for welcoming me into your studio space!
Obellery Contemporary Jewellery
Address: Unit H311, PMQ Building, No. 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
What do you like most about your studio?
Favorite piece of jewelry you ever designed?
Bel: ” Nature Ornament”
Hugo: ” Minimal”
Piece of jewelry you’re most proud of?
Bel: “My nature ornament brooches”
Bel’s beautiful nature ornaments are also part of a funny store with a client, that thought they were lobsters
(Hugo explaining the concept behind one ring that he is creating)
The funniest thing a client ever told you?
Bel: “A client thought my my brooch is a lobster“
What attracts you to jewelry?
Bel: at the beginning I didn’t really like it because I don’t like the normal diamond jewellery stuff, but after some projects making jewellery is fun.
What do you love & hate doing at the bench?
Bel: ” Tidy up before making something exciting. Hate cleaning”
What makes your studio unique?
Hugo: ” I’m here.”
The best thing a client ever told you?
Hugo: “That I’m smart.”
Pick 3 objects in your studio that make your space yours?
Bel: “Computer, bench, fridge”
Hugo: “Sand Paper”
Worst piece of jewelry yo had to design?
Hugo: “A diamond ring”
How would you describe your studio?
Hugo: Like home, can watch TV and cook.