It's time to say.......

Cocoa Christmas card

to all of you :)


Let there be LIGHT

planter pot on spot sunlight

Imagine if we were living in a total darkness, no light, even a tiny sparkle of star light, what will happen? There will not have any meaning to DESIGN !

Light,  not only help us to visualize but create dramatic effect to all creatures. Without light,
there is no silhouette, color, texture, sensation to everything around us. 

Lighting design of what we are talking about is not only the outlook of the light fitting, the most important is the arrangement and color temperature of the light bulb that can enhance or spoil an interior within seconds. 

A simple rule to remember, "Kalvin" is the color temperature unit that we will come across when purchase a light fitting, i.e. 'K". 

2700-3000K = warm white light, make us feel like seating next to a cozy filament light bulb.

2700K is more yellowish, i.e. more antique

3000K is in lighter yellow, I will say more comfortable, but at the end it is still subjected to what atmosphere you would like to create.

4000K = white light, I rarely recommend especially for residential because it makes
the interior look "pale".

5000-5500K  = day light, like the feeling of what we are walking under a sunny day. 
Also rarely used for residential unless you want a special effect, because it feel good at outdoor but too bright for interior in such a comparatively small space.

So, pay a bit of attention to the color temperature when you choose a new lamp for your home next time, it really matters.


做個懂得"let go"的設計師

自古以來, 無論邊一行嘅設計師都係比較執著, (雖然我唔知而家重有冇咁嘅設計師?!) 無論係比例、物料質數、燈光效果、結構細節等.....都會有某程度嘅標準同要求.

好多時會聽到啲客話"唔緊要啦!差少少色,分別唔大, 係你先覺得啫, 其他人唔覺嘅,冇問題喎!"又或啫師傅會話"個圓位大咗少少啫, 椅背又矮咗啲啫, 都係凳一張, 唔好改啦!".......等等. 以前我都會堅持要改番好, 唔知就話啫, 又唔係做唔到, 樣樣差少少, 成個設計最後未走哂樣? 改!

又例如好多時客人都會有啲個人喜好或者情義結,好似唔理有冇空間都要擺一張"水牛肺"梳化; 即係高背,極大張, 造工極粗糙, 毫無細節,連基本梳化型都維持唔到; 總之係一大堆牛皮嘅嘢.(對唔住! 激動咗少少, 因為眼見有太多人跌落呢個陷阱.)勸極都唔聽, 幫佢搵咗張又平又靚又唔會過時, 大方得體嘅梳化, 結果都係要買番"水牛肺". 如是者......我開始自我反省.

今日, 我仍然會好慎重, 好認真咁對待同提醒我啲客人, 好堅持咁要師傅改嘢, 但係堅持到某個極限我就會"let go"! 好似有啲悲哀, 不過如果唔放手嘅話, 一個膠著狀態都係做唔成事, 維有盡力而為啦!

但係偶爾都會有奇蹟出現, 就係客人見我"let go"果一剎那, 佢哋會突然清醒咁同我講 "都係跟你意思做啦!" 到今日我都唔係太明白點解會咁突然, 唔通係我個樣太似想"放棄"佢哋? 唔, 又要反省吓啦.......


Yahoo Blog

Knowing that Yahoo is going to close their blog service by the end of this year, although I don't actually have a blog there, it's still not a good news to those who spend their time writing their blogs in Yahoo for yearssssss.

Yes, it is absolutely the right for Yahoo to provide any services they think is profitable or competitive to other social media, but if all effort of the writer & their support can be ignore within minutes, will it be too "money oriented"? No matter how, they are not only user but "client" as well ; hopefully this will not happen in other rapidly expending social channels.


Too much "Traffic" !

Night street in Wuhan
After a long day's work, walking from site to my hotel, basically hungry and tired, a hot shower was what I had in my mind. While crossing a bridge, a night breeze woke me up and I was attracted by the tranquil of this view.......I stopped and stayed for a while.....

Wuhan, a city in China that you may say it's trying to develop as the third or even second line commercial city right after Beijing and Shanghai. But same as other cities like Chongqing, there is always a modern corner with a rural or undeveloped street just right next to it. I hate this feeling, it seems some one or some place are being abandoned and sacrified. So, when I was visiting China more frequently, the urban dress up becomes out of my interest.

But, I've remember the night when I was there, I was being attracted again......no huge signage, minimum neon light; a great portion of sky, concrete street path and buildings; no shopping mall but small local shops, passengers are walking in slow rhythm......a corner of tranquil !

Design can bring joy & added values to human life, but can also destroy our treasure when they are overdone......something that have already exist with us in million years ago. Could we bring the tranquil back to Mongkok, Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong?
Or...... leave it , let them "melt" into all those "neon trap" and just regret!


East meet West?

Chinese shop door with American Express tag
East meet West? nothing new! but rarely match, exactly the same feeling as, when I saw this "closed" signage of "America Express" hung onto a very traditional Chinese bi-fold doors in Beijing.

Like "Starbucks in the Forbidden City", although we love coffee very much, it's still awkward to see a western culture located inside a 101% Chinese architecture......is this what we think?

Is it a matter of design issue? historical reason? or cultural difference that creates the discomfort which spoil the harmonize of the overall environment? I don't think so. 

In fact, there should not have any conflict of having a relaxing coffee moment while taking the exploring trip in the mysterious Forbidden City..........but if we treat this as a commercial or western cultural intrusion, then it's not difficult to understand the leaving of Starbuck which was suggested to be combined as part of the beverage outlet inside.

Is there a way that East meet West can be succeeded? In terms of design field, some designer claim that they've made it, but in my memory, I still can't name one, can you?!



smiling face on coffee"咖啡拉花" :好玩又有成功感的手藝. 不少愛喝咖啡,自已又擁有意式咖啡機的朋友, 除了學習品嚐不同產地及研磨的咖啡之外,也會渴望學會一招半式的拉花技術,

既可自娛,也可逗朋友高興, 甚至嬴取女朋友芳心也未非沒可能; 看看他們拉出各式各樣的"心心"圖案便得知.

說真的, 不少行內的 barister 對咖啡拉花尤其著迷, 除了苦練之外,更有專程上課學習, 由最基本的心形, 蘋果, 樹葉到同心圖案, 天鵝, 羽毛等等. 

其實在一個小如咖啡柸的空間內, 要拉出圖案,而在圖案比例,奶泡絲滑度, 圖案幼細及複雜程度要控制得恰當, 也絕非易事. 參加本地或海外的拉花比賽而取得殊榮更是他們的終極目標.

由於拉花最基本需要, 除了有一柸適當抽取的espresso之外, 絲滑的奶泡是另外一個重要的關鍵, 太厚、太薄、太多空氣都注定失敗; 所以成功打到合格的奶泡又變成拉花的基本工了.

曾經在網上有位資深的barister導師給了我們這些新手一個小貼士 :如果每次都用鮮奶練習, 一天內不知要浪費多少鮮奶 = 金錢; 又要增加雪柜內的儲存量, 很不化算.其實只要在水中加一滴洗潔精,直接打泡, 同樣可以當鮮奶般練習, 信不信由你? 檸檬、西柚或蘆薈味更適隨尊便, 但請別問我練習後如何清洗奶咀?!

不過, 如果出盡力也打不到泡, 拉不到花, 何不輕輕鬆鬆喝柸自家製即磨咖啡......冇泡、冇花一樣可以開心過一天!


Right here we are

Reflections on the glazing of cafe on the Peak

Is it in the early morning or already sunset?

Are we inside a cafe 
just standing outside the glazing?

Are those star light, street lamp or pendant only?


Sometimes we don't know where we are, at what moment, 
doing what means to us or to somebody else! 

Does it really matters? 

Just stay right here we are, in a mysterious zone, 

for a short while, 

Life deserves a break !


浴德池 - The vanished spa


不少香港人都曾經享受過日式溫泉, 但澡堂呢? 又或者是在香港的上海澡堂呢?對這間已成記憶的上海澡堂, 相信大家可能有些少印象, 因為當它遭拆卸前, 不少傳媒也佈道過.

其實我曾經差不多每天也路過這裡, 也曾多次想入內探索; 但每次從外面厚厚的花玻璃望進, 總怕一推門而入, 會從幪朧的紙皮石圍牆背面走出一個赤條條的大漢來?! 再加上玻璃門總是貼著"不設女賓"膠牌一個; 所以廿多年來也沒有入內, 回想起來, 實在有點可惜. 因為話說當它拆卸時, 一些有心人特別留守, 取回一些很有歷史價值又富上海風味的室內擺設, 而浴池的水龍頭就是其一了.

也許時代的變遷留不住昔日繁華的印記, 但我想告訴你, 那藍白色的霓虹招牌, 在深藍的夜空下,
我的腦海中, 仍然很美!

Most of us did familiar with Japanese spa or onsen, we don't have spring water in Hong Kong but a Shanghai style public hot water bath, which was once a deluxe leisure activity for businessmen to gather around, well, of course talking business or,  just relax.
浴德池 - an already demolished public bath pool, became famous and widely reported by media, just before it was gone years ago.

Truly speaking, I passed this "huge bath tub" almost everyday when it was still there. I did try to enter may times before, but whenever I looked inside through those thick etched pattern glass, nothing was there besides mosaic walls; I was thinking if I pushed the door opened, would there be a naked big guy behind and telling me that, couldn't you see the note on the glass door outside " Gentlemen Only"? So, I didn't remove the veil and it's a bit too late by now.

Because there are news from the reporters afterward, said that some "Old stuff lovers" waited outside while it was demolishing and successfully grabbed some "treasure" = Very aged Shanghai stylish interior decor, like a special designed faucet for the main pool, which was worth to be reserved.

Well, may be we can't freeze the golden age while we are moving on, lots and lots of valuable 
architecture, furniture or designed fixture that reflects a specific period of our history have to disappear; but I would like to tell you that, I will never forget it's bluish white neon sign hanging right under the clear deep blue sky, in my memory...they are gorgeous!


Jubel - from IKea 宜家生活小雜貨

Jubel - from IKea
Jubel - from Ikea 

很久沒有逛 IKEA, 說真的, 其實在 IKEA只要細心尋索, 可以找到不少價格相宜, 設計及質量不錯; 又很適合香港細小居住空間的生活百貨.  這個由 Eva Sjodin 設計的自動灑水花盆便是其中一個好例子了.

所謂自動灑水其實是盆底付有棉芯用作吸水的裝置, 方便要遠行的人讓植物在沒有人照顧時可"自行飲水維生", 已往也有不少"土炮製作 " =倒置膠水樽 + 棉芯 可以做到; 但當然經過設計的產品, 無論在外型, 顏色, 裝飾性及靈活度上, 都會配合得更好. 這個可輕易轉換顏色面的設計是我認為設計帥最聰明的安排.



I haven't been visited Ikea for so long, actually it's one of my favorite shop in Hong Kong. Provided you have time and patience, you will discover a lot of good stuff there, reasonable price, amazing design, good quality and fun concept, too. Well, of course you have to "select" wisely, like this :  Jubel self-watering plant pot, designed by Eva Sjodin.

Self-watering is simply by connecting a cotton string to the bottom of the pot to achieve a slow sucking of water from the external vase into the soil; this is especially a useful survival kit for travelers' "home alone" plants. A lot of DIY had been made, i.e.: an up side down plastic bottle with a cotton string hanging above of the pot.

But there is a lot more well designed product here, not only achieve the purpose plus, an easy rotation of internal pot to create different colorful combination - so flexible, easy operate, low cost and full of fun.  I have to give an applause to this brilliant idea created by Eva. 

So, how about get one to sprinkle a dash of green to your home right now?



Coffee diary 09

Coffee diary 09
I don't know why ?! But every time when I have to visit China, even just for half day, I need you before my departure.

I know I know...I can find you in most of the cities, they look like you, taste like you and smell like you; but I have to say, they are different.

May be what I really need is to grab something belongs to my place, in my own memories since I was born in H.K. - an energy pack to stay alert.

For those "similar" or "more deluxe" or "exact copy of the original brand"...are not my cup of "coffee". Only if I can be with you in free air, I can truly enjoy...thanks my pal :)



Lamp pole in Harajuku
It's 15 mins. past midnight, my second favorite moment besides twilight zone; it's the most peaceful moment that you can be alone, what will you do?

I used to study late when I was busy with my design presentation, then worked late when I was O.T. for my unfinished office stuff at home, year after years ......in a complete darkness outside my window, street lamp poles are my companion. I wished I could have a walk outside if I was not had a deadline, what a desire.

For now, there is no need to stay late so often, but I tend to do so in purpose, just want to recapture the silents in the air, writing blogs or reading others, planning for my next move or simply take a break to refresh my mind...how about you?


Miracle boost ?!

onsen milk
I know the color tone is a bit strange but this is the true environment of what my "onsen" milk is waiting for in it's fridge. 

Japanese are proud of their onsen, most of the Hong Kong people love it, too. I have to say it is a A+++ grade of luxurious experience especially to enjoy their seasonal dinner after running a comfortable onsen "dip". 

But you may also heard that they will always recommend you to take some milk right after leaving the onsen, as a supplement of water lost; you will find exclusive milk supplied by your ryokan and ...... that's why I've prepared one for myself.

I just bought it from a vending machine in their lobby, so convenience and lovely, too. See it's packaging design, quite local made although I'm not sure whether it is?

So, I follow the "instruction" and you know what...... a glass of water can do,  BUT with the addition of premium value to this bottle of milk, i.e.: the myth, its' home made feel, freshness + the moment of where you are (at your vacation) and the desire of waiting to taste ......it's definitely can comfort and rejuvenate a traveler, or a shopaholic. Happy Easter !

Welcome Kazu

Hi Kazu,

Welcome to Cocoa Design Life, hope you can have a relaxing moment here, enjoy :)


我愛馬賽克 I love mosaic

Mosaic paving in Macau with floral pattern

Mosaic - 馬賽克, 誰不喜愛? 繽紛的色彩, 大大小時不同的形狀, 自由組合也可, 採用設計師悉心配襯的亦可; DIY 朋友的寵兒...不須要遠走意大利, 西班牙, 在澳門隨處可見.

還記得小時候跟家人往澳門遊玩, 最深刻的當然不是賭場或豬肉乾, 白鴿標檔排第二, 商店前面行人路地上的馬賽克 /瓷磚排第一. 我想當時店主是為了方便打理, 才各自在門前的行人路上貼上馬賽克 /瓷磚, 由於這不是"街坊會的安排", 所以大家並沒有互相配襯, 結果便漫不經意地完成了一條又一條自家製作而又獨特的"藝術街"!

現在? 以上情境不常見,卻在大街小巷發現不少上圖的馬賽克裝飾, 跟議事亭廣場的設計十分配合; 簡簡單單的圖形及色彩, 已為整個環境修飾得十分優雅; 更令又長又悶的階梯變得有趣味, 不消一會便走完. 所以, 至今, 馬賽克還是我的最愛.

Mosaic - all time favor ? so colorful, interesting shape and size, it can be created through your imagination, or by select a designer's choice...DIY lovers. What you don't need is to search them around in Spain or Italy, it's everywhere, just right next in Macau.

I used to travel with my family to Macau when I was a kid, the most remarkable memory in my mind was certainly not casino or BBQ pork. Something call 白鴿標 - first runner up (direct translate is "Pigeon Ticket" - a kind of lottery ticket, you won & get pay if you guess the correct Chinese character that are going to be randomly picked once or twice a week by the host), mosaic / ceramic tile laid in front of shops on the pedestrian is the winner. 

I think the original thought of the shop owners may just think of easy maintenance & therefore have this idea, and luckily without the master control of any committee, they created an unique street art by their own mix & match, one follow by the others. 

Today, it will be less likely to find the trace of the above, but something new like the one in my photo which can be discovered everywhere, seems they are a diversified "team member" of the major design found at Senado Square. By this simple pattern & color arrangement, it lift the whole atmosphere of the surrounding, more decorative and interesting, even shorter the length of long boring staircase, what a magic touch and that's why, mosaic is still my number one lover.



無論係住宅定係商舖, 係任何設計之前都離唔開同客戶傾吓用家要求; 例如有幾多人用, 咩嘢人 ?即係一家有老有嫩定係只得兩口子; 商舖就變成幾多職員, 咩嘢目標客...等等. 最緊要嘅莫過於係儲存問題, 要擺啲咩嘢, 擺係邊, 擺幾多...?

係香港呢個地貴人多嘅地方, "愈多愈好" 就成為標準答案, 於是...問題嚟啦! 所有空間都要你填滿, 原本可以用嚟設計成一個較有味道或者優閒嘅小區都會變成係奢望. 商舖客因為基於高昂租金, 要舖盡其用, 又唔係係度瞓, 呢點仲可以理解. 但係住宅嘅話, 我哋都係希望用家可以先考慮減少自己以為"珍貴" 其實係無謂嘅收藏; 寧願果個位冇嘢擺, 都唔好搵啲"收藏"+個櫃嚟充塞.

另外一個較多發生係住宅嘅問題,尤其係新婚, 覺得入伙之前一定要咩嘢都齊晒, 就算未搵到啱心水嘅嘢, 例如吊燈, 掛畫, 餐枱...都是但買件填咗個位, 結果出嚟嘅效果, 未必係最差, 不過一定唔係最好!

事實證明, 肯聽話又認同寧缺勿濫呢個手則嘅客人, 結果係除咗可以享受由設計創造出嚟嘅舒適空間之外,等到最合心水嘅傢俱配置, 仲可以經驗到從等待, 心思熟累之後搵到一件有真正存在需要, 值得放係屋企朝夕相對嘅物件; 呢個先係我地認為最美滿嘅大團圓結局.




Everyday sunset right outside window

it's a blessing to know

today is so peaceful

for me

to have a new tomorrow


Bronze = Romance?

Bronze fork & spoon

 I was shopping around and discovered this set of Bronze Aged Flatware at Anthropologie . They are so neat but looks elegant, made by bronze - which will sometimes be mixed up with copper and brass. 

We used to have ironmongery or decorative metal parts appears in these three different finishes in interior design work, usually it is a bit easy to identify them by color and level of hardness. Copper is the original soft yellowish metal, when mix with zinc, it forms an alloy : brass , harder and appear in golden color; door knob, lock or railing are most common end products. 

When other metals are added, like tin, aluminium, lead or even silver; a bronze alloy is created with a bit of rose color. It is harder than brass, can withstand more polish treatment, so you can find them in coin, kitchen ware or the above nice flatware, etc.

To me, bronze is more attractive, it has a vintage, feminine and graceful appearance. In the modern world, rose gold may be an alternative for bronze to transform as a wedding ring... same lovely pink tint... with an additive of romance, too.


Our scrapbook


Hi ! Happy Snake Year to everyone, we are excited to share with you our Pinterest Page (upper page tab) here starting from today, you may find some familiar images or new discovery that we have selected from a lot of amazing people's pin, lets share and have fun ! Hey, don't forget to click to their original link below if you would love to know more of your favor items.

大家好! 祝願你們蛇年快樂, 身體健康. 今年我們決定加入Cocoa Design Life 的 Pinterest 網頁 (上面按頁), 希望你們可以輕鬆地分享到一些由我們篩選過認為值得與大家介紹的事物. 可能你會覺得部份似曾相識, 但亦有部份是由參與 Pinterest 的朋友們各自推介的, 希望你會喜歡 !
如果你對其中一些內容有興趣, 別忘記點擊圖片下面的來源網站, 便可探索更多.

* some new pin boards for styling are coming soon......
關於 styling 新貼簿會在不久將來跟大家見面.......


Follow the Sun

Alley in Macau
I love to walk alone, usually between 2:30 to 6:30pm, starting from where I am, no plan, no destination, nothing in hand, as "light" as I can. 

I walk slow, just follow the sun, see if it can bring me to some place of mystery? busy? or tranquil... I feel the air, the breeze & temperature that change along my steps, in the shade? along the road? or outside a

I open my nose, to suck in any aroma in the wind; I keep on listening, to any tiny sound or echo that may leads me to their place.  I look around, to the face of all strangers that passes by, wondering what they are having in their mind?......when the color of the sun turns into golden orange, my journey end.

I stop when I am, walk back to when I was, leaving the sun, return to reality... this, is the refreshment treat of my life, simply move on.


又愛又恨的桃紅色 Blossom red


桃紅色 : 從來不是我的喜好,尤其是當它穿在身上時, 如果配搭得不好, 總有點土氣. 但奇怪的是, 那天......一個黃昏時段, 在澳門街頭, 我被這個"小桃紅"深深吸引着.

柔和的斜陽把濃豔的桃紅中和了, 顯得嬌嫩,沒有半點土氣, 很舒服. 我想, 更重要的是因為還有綠葉做背景, 最後由重質感的石階完成襯托. 就這麼簡單, 大自然就是隨時隨地的設計教室,而且更是免費的呢!

Blossom red - not my cup of tea, especially when we wear them, a dangerous color that may become cheap looking & old fashion if less effort are made while mix & match. But in that wonderful evening at Macau, I was deeply attracted by these gorgeous red. 

Soft golden beam slightly fallen onto these blooming hydrangea, gently balance the overall red cheek; with fresh green leaves as backdrop sitting onto the contrasting stone parapet wall. Simple and comfortable, that's the way the nature is telling us, a design studio to keep us learning any where, any time + it's FREE !