自言不喜愛喧鬧環境，偏好在隱蔽、私密性高的地段開店，「ANCHORET」譯為隱士，是香港人Onkit Wong和Kayuet Chau於2012年開業於北京三里屯的服飾選物店，引入了Toogood、Lemaire、Martine Rose、Alyx，032c和Both等，不張揚而強調設計品質的品牌；至於店內裝潢，也均以天然材質如木頭、黃銅和水泥等打造，油然生出一份質樸的優雅氣息，也令我對店家予留下深刻的印象。所以二人後來告訴我，他們準備要回香港開店的時候，曾作為北京店訪客的我，自然也是引頸以待。
Quietly tucked away in a hidden neighborhood in Beijing Sanlitun, the boutique ANCHORET is aptly named for the seclusion of its location. Opened in 2012 by Hong Kong born and raised Onkit Wong and Kayuet Chau, ANCHORET has been introducing various unconventional and well-designed brands, such as Toogood, Lemaire, Martine Rose, Alyx, 032c and Both. The interior design features a clever blend of concrete, recycled wood, and brass as major materials, together exuding a rustic elegance. I was so impressed by the overall style upon my first visit to their shop in Beijing; when I learned about the couple’s decision about a new shop location back in Hong Kong, I was naturally thrilled.
ANCHORET is nestled in a three-story building on Second Street in Sai Ying Pun, the first floor provides space for a cafe, where a big welcome sign in ancient Chinese calligraphy style is hanging high up behind the bar, shining in neon light. The material of the barrister’s bar has adopted a terrazzo technique which is often found in old tenement building but becoming rare nowadays. The whole vibe easily reminds people of the old Hong Kong days. “Sai Wan (Western District) is an old area with its old shops and buildings keeping the traditional charm. Recently the district is becoming home to many budding new shops; we found this juxtaposition of new and old very interesting, and want to reflect these elements in the space of our shop in Hong Kong,” said Kayuet.
Climbing up the stairs, you will find the second floor of ANCHORET to be half filled by sofas, and the rest of the space is a display area of magazines and homeware. Kayuet sees this floor as a buffering area in the building since the ceiling height here is lower than that of the first and third floor. “We want to use the second floor as some sort of a corridor connecting the cafe on the first floor and the boutique area on the third floor.” The space is not simply a buffer area, the owners also did various experiments by embedding glass cupboards into the wall of the aisles that are occasionally used as display windows for the artworks or merchandise.
We have browsed through a lot and finally arrived at the third floor — the main chamber of ANCHORET. Here, customers can start the tour from the garments area on the side facing the main street, then move to the area for hats, before turning back to the front desk and homeware corner for a complete experience. During the day, the use of big glass curtain wall has blended the street scenes into the interior; while at night, the brightly lit shop becomes a lighthouse of stark contrast to the quiet street. From day to night, the atmosphere would turn distinctly different.
The shop has irregular yet interesting floor plans, which bring countless surprises to visitors as they browse through the different floors. Simply keep exploring and you can see there are many more intriguing ideas scattered around in the shop awaiting to be discovered. For instance, a chandelier that is wrapped in gauze, vintage ceiling decorations that exhibit a rustic charm, the omnipresent brass switches, old and bold restaurant signs… Even the TV hanging right below the high ceiling is showing a still image of Simpson’s diner, which is a parody of Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. As you wander around in leisure, the shop turns itself into a maze dotted with different hints left by the owners at various corners, to subtly remind you their upbringings, taste and sense of humor.
G/F, 2A SECOND STREET Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong