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Hong Kong, Globe-Trotters: Danielle Huthart, WHITESPACE

05.18.2010

For a company founded just 5 years ago, Hong Kong-based design consultancy Whitespace has an impressive portfolio ? with work, literally, all over the city, Hong Kong is its canvas. If you live here, you?ll fast become familiar with Whitespace?s creative and branding services; their diverse group of clients include the Press Room, JIA Boutique Hotels, Kush apartments, DOZO! Sushi, and Marie?s Patisserie and Boulangerie (By Brunch Club), just to name a few. Founder Danielle Huthart, a Parsons graduate, is at the helm, making her dreams of a unique creative studio come to life with each project. We got the chance to pick her brain.

For a company founded just 5 years ago, Hong Kong-based design consultancy Whitespace has an impressive portfolio ? with work, literally, all over the city, Hong Kong is its canvas. If you live here, you?ll fast become familiar with Whitespace?s creative and branding services; their diverse group of clients include the Press Room, JIA Boutique Hotels, Kush apartments, DOZO! Sushi, and Marie?s Patisserie and Boulangerie (By Brunch Club), just to name a few. Founder Danielle Huthart, a Parsons graduate, is at the helm, making her dreams of a unique creative studio come to life with each project. We got the chance to pick her brain.

 
Why did you choose Hong Kong to start your company?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and my family is here, so Hong Kong is home. I spent about 10 years in New York and needed a change; Hong Kong was obviously the first place I?d come back to.
 
If you could start another design consultancy anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I?ve done New York, and even though it?s still one of my favorite cities, I would say Paris because I?ve never lived in Europe. I?m half English, but funny enough, I?ve never lived in Europe. It?s just a fantastic city and [close to the heart of] what we do in design. There?s so much fashion, art and culture there and where so many of these [creative movements] originate from.
 
Where do you like to shop in Hong Kong?
I used to shop a lot every time I came back to Hong Kong from the States. I liked going to Tsim Sha Tsui and those areas with the cool boutiques that bring back small collections from places like Japan. It think those are a lot of fun to browse and look around. However, since coming back to Hong Kong, I don?t really have much time to shop. But if I do, I like places like D-Mop; I think they have a really good selection. Joyce is also a really good place to look around. Hong Kong doesn?t really have that kind of eclectic boutique where stumble across something, but stores here have a little bit of everything. Buttonhole is still great; I?ve picked out a couple of pieces there that have managed to stay in my closet.
 
Where do you go in Hong Kong to pamper yourself?
I go to the Four Seasons Spa ? that?s a real treat.
 
What do you enjoy the most about your career?
I love what I do. I have always really enjoyed art; the fact that I can make a career out of something I?m really interested in is amazing. ? I love working and communicating with people. Throughout that last couple of years, we?ve worked with some really interesting and offbeat clients. Every time we encounter someone new, we learn something from it. Even understanding the client?s business is really interesting. For example, we?ve worked with all these characters: we?ve worked with an orthodontist; we?ve worked with a club owner; and one guy was like a serious gangster. They all have a different perspective on design, and I learn from understanding how they view things. It?s a combination of things that I like: the people, the type of projects that we?ve done, designing, and creating Whitespace.
 
What are your wardrobe or lifestyle must-haves?
My sister gave me this amazing shawl that I?ve had for years and I never travel without it. It?s the single most useful item I have in my wardrobe. I wear a lot of black, and I also love white. Flat shoes are definitely a must. I love the classics and the basics, just things that are simple. I try to be a bit more conservative in buying things; I try to buy things that last and not buy anything that is too fashionable.
 
What is your favorite travel destination and why?
I really do love the Philippines. I've only been there once however but still think it's the best place for a beach holiday. I went to Manila for a friend's wedding in Tagaytay, and then headed to Boracay for a few days. I ate mangoes and sat on the beach from morning till night. ? Other favorite travel destinations would either be Paris or Bali.
 
I was last in Paris in January [and going back soon]. I?m really excited to see Chanel's apartment at 31 Rue Cambon. There are all these great shops in Le Marais such as Merci and Surface to Air on Rue des Archives, and numerous others in Rue de Temple. There are also the little shops that sell old maps, postcards and lithograph prints. Being a graphic designer, I always end up picking up magazines or books. I think there's always something to discover.
 
When I visit Bali, we stay in Canggu; Eco Beach (which has dark sand) is nearby and there are some warungs [outdoor restaurants] that you can hang out at and watch the surfers. On the way, there's the Tuck Shop for good coffee and WiFi, and then some little boutiques along Jalan Raya Seminyak. There is a good fabric store with interesting prints and batiks that I discovered on the way to Double Six Beach. Up in Ubud, there's an incredible shop on Jalan Monkey Forest that has great indigo fabrics done in a Japanese style. My mother actually lives in Jakarta, so we go down to Bali often to stay at her villa. Indonesia feels more like a second home, but it's still a favorite and frequent travel destination.