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Interview: James Quan and Winnie Chan

Sophia Wu chats with the founders of Bynd Artisan and learns about the craftsmanship of luxury bookbinding

In our increasingly plugged-in world, we all too often keep our eyes glued to our smartphones, constantly engaged with the latest updates and SMS messages. In a city as busy as Hong Kong, we rarely take a moment to stop and reflect on what’s truly important. That’s where luxury bookbinding and leathercraft brand Bynd Artisan comes in. Based in Singapore, the company is bringing the art of journalising to Hong Kong, hoping to introduce a more relaxed way of living through their customisable notebooks.

The dynamic duo behind the brand are husband and wife pair, James Quan and Winnie Chan. Inspired by her family’s artisan heritage, Chan brought together locally trained craftspeople to create the finest quality leather bindery. Combined with the marketing prowess of her husband, Bynd Artisan was born.

The heart of their products lies not in their functionality – ‘these days, we normally just log appointments or write reminders in our phones’ Chan concedes – but in their emotional impact. “We had to focus on why people want to handwrite,” Chan tells us. Bynd Artisan also offers blank pages for those who prefer more abstract methods of expression such as drawing. For the pair, this private and slower form of individual expression possesses a timelessness that doesn’t seek to compete against technology but offers a respite instead.

What makes Bynd Artisan stand out is the interactive experience it seeks to create. Chan stresses the importance of adding a personal touch – people are able to select their cover colour, elastic band, string and paper quality. Names can be embossed in gold or silver, as well. “In many ways, it’s like a fashion statement or extension of your identity,” says Quan. “It’s perfect for gift-giving,” Chan adds, before going further. “The fact that you can choose the colour and materials you think the person would like, it would really make me believe that someone is thinking of me.” 

The way that Chan and Quan speak so animatedly brings a sense of excitement to a product that many people nowadays tend to overlook. Though we flip through emails and ‘like’ photos, we still need to slow down and make time for ourselves. Why not take five in style?

Bynd Artisan Available at Lane Crawford until July 28. Shop 4008, 8 Finance St, IFC mall, Central; 2118 3388; lanecrawford.com.

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