WEEKLY

LEAVE SPACE FOR LIFE
生活,需要留白

走進西營盤的小巷,映入眼簾的是一間名叫「BLANK」的文具店,靜靜地屹立於角落裏。店內的裝潢以簡約為主,漆黑的牆身配以木質的桌椅及層板,予人樸實沉穩的氣息。今期Chessman Post有幸訪問其中一位店主Tim,一起探討書寫以外,文具如何影響生活的每一吋細節。

記憶中,人生首次執筆畫畫,約莫是兩、三歲時的事。打從那一刻,文具已悄然地融入我生活的一部分。每個人的童年大概都與文具有過一段華麗邂逅,可是踏入數碼化的年代,電腦已取替文具作為主要的書寫工具。也許我們漸漸遺忘了——從老師手上接過文具小禮物的那份喜悅;下課後到文具店閒逛時的那份好奇;無數個萬籟俱寂的晚上,文具陪伴我們奮鬥到底的那份溫暖。雖然文具已不再是主流,但兩位出身建築系的店主Tim和Vanessa仍決意在香港這個節奏急促的城市開設文具小店,讓港人重拾對文具的熱情。

小小的店面,卻能營造出偌大的空間感,BLANK正是如此特別的文具店。「建築講求三維空間,而我們同樣需要空間,才可以用不同的工具做創作。」Tim解釋店名的由來,整個人散發着建築師的風範。環顧店內,只見文具的整齊地排列在不同地方,紙、筆、橡皮擦、剪刀等一應俱全,款式之多,教人花多眼亂。店主更特意挑選柔和的背景音樂,讓進來的人都感受到恬靜的氛圍,能專心致志地欣賞眼前的文具精品。

只是,本為建築師的Tim和Vanessa,何以自立開店?Tim說,「我們想給香港人多個選擇。縱使我們知道很難改變這個城市的步伐,但仍希望可以令更多人懂得欣賞設計得好的工具同文具。」他們二人都在修讀建築系後開始研究文具。當時老師常常要求他們用手畫圖或做模型,久而久之,他們便發現原來設計良好的文具,用起來會更得心應手,有助表達自己的想法。後來,他們把心一橫,辭去了原有的工作,決定要做自己喜歡的事——就是開設BLANK。

兩位店主不以「文具控」或「收藏家」自居,因為他們是實實在在的「用家」,用過店內的所有文具,並對它們的特點瞭如指掌。芸芸文具之中,Tim最喜歡的就是筆。「我認為筆是十分有趣的,它某程度上是手的延伸。我們腦海裏的想法能利用手,繼而再透過筆躍然於紙上。用不同的筆書寫時,會有不同的質感,非常神奇。」Tim隨即拿起兩款筆略作介紹:石墨筆不像一般的鉛筆,它沒有木殼包裹着石墨芯,每一面都可以上色,便於速寫;建築用鉛芯筆的筆芯較粗,筆身亦相對重一點,拿起來很有手感,不容易滑手。每一個細節,都體現了文具設計師的用心。

開店兩年多,Tim指文具給他最大的感受,是設計會影響生活。「以前對文具沒那麼精挑細選,手到拿來,甚麼都會用。但其實那些文具是否適合自己用呢?這值得我們去反思。每件文具背後都蘊含着一份設計的心思,用來執行不同的工作。所以,我們也要付出多點心思,選擇合適的文具來完成每項工作。」可能有人認為,假若文具有一天遭到淘汰,那設計師所付出的心思豈不是徒然嗎?但樂觀的Tim不認為文具會被淘汰,只是角色上有所轉變。「用得太多電子化的東西,人們便會開始緬懷、欣賞手做的作品。使用文具雖不是主流,但可以轉化為一種文化。」

相較於日本、台灣以至歐美等地,香港的文具市場發展尚未算成熟,要以賣文具賺錢或許比登天還要難。有人問他們為何不開網店而只有實體店,然而他們心底裏只希望讓客人可以親身感受文具的溫度。

生活咄咄逼人,我們需要喘息的空間。如果你想為自己的生活騰出一些空間,不妨到BLANK逛一逛,讓文具陪你渡過愜意的時光。

攝影:王以珞
撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Wandering around Sai Ying Pun, you will come across a stationery shop called “BLANK” situated at the corner of a lane. Finely decorated in simplicity style, the shop is juxtaposed with black walls and wooden furniture, allowing customers to immerse in the cozy ambience. In this issue of Chessman Post, we are honored to speak with Tim Cheung, one of the shop owners, to discuss how stationery influences every bit of life.

As I remember, I first held a pencil and drew pictures at around 2 to 3 years old. Since then, stationery has become part of my life. Back when we were kids, we would all be delighted by different stationery items. But in the digital era, stationery has been substituted by computers. Perhaps we all have forgotten the feelings that stationery brings us – how happy we were when we received stationery gifts from our teachers, how curious every time we visited stationery shops in childhood days, and how we felt less alone with the accompany of stationery while we were working hard until late night. Stationery items are no longer the mainstream tools anymore, yet two architects, Tim and Vanessa, still persist in running a stationery shop in this fast-paced city to recall people’s memories of stationery.

BLANK is a special place which gives us a magical sense of space in the small area. “Three-dimensional space is a key idea in architectural studies. And we also need some blank space to create things using different tools.” Tim explained the name of the shop. Strolling around the shop, I could see that there were many stationery items, including papers, pens, erasers, scissors and much more. A soft background music was chosen by the owners to create a tranquil atmosphere for appreciating stationery.

Why did the two architects decide to run a stationery shop? Tim said, “We just want to offer Hongkongers with more choices. We know it is hard to slow down the pace of this city, but we hope to introduce more well-designed tools and stationery to others.” Both of Tim and Vanessa started to have interest in appreciating the design of stationery since they got into the architectural studies major. At that time, they were always required to draw graphics and models. They found that well-designed stationery items were handier to use, and they could help express their ideas better. After years of work, they quitted their jobs and decided to do what they want—it is, running a stationery shop.

Neither does Tim nor Vanessa regard himself or herself as “stationery fanatic” or “stationery collectors”. They are the real users, they have tried out all the stationery items they sell. Among all the stationery items, pens are Tim’s favorite ones. “I think pens are interesting, they are the extensions of our hands somehow. Our thoughts can be expressed with pens using our hands. It is amazing to see how different pens give us different textures.” Tim then picked up two pens and briefly introduced them to me. Different from the normal pencils, graphite pencils do not contain wood cases so we can use them from all sides and angles. The architect's mechanical pencils have thicker cores, and they are relatively heavier in weight. They are less slippery too. We can see that every detail manifests the true heart and intention of the designer.

After more than two years of running this shop, Tim has learned a lesson from stationery that design does influence our lives. “I was not picky in choosing stationery in the past. But it is worthy for us to rethink what stationery items actually work best with ourselves. Every of the items was designed intentionally for different purposes. Therefore, we also have to pay attention to the intentions behind all the designs and choose the most suitable stationery items to fulfill our tasks.” While some people think that stationery would be eliminated eventually, Tim does not hold the same view. He optimistically believes that stationery would not be eliminated. “As people are fed up with digital technology, they would start to reminisce and appreciate the handmade stuffs. Using stationery may not be a mainstream, but it can be a culture.”

Compared to Japan, Taiwan and other countries in Europe and America, Hong Kong’s stationery market is less developed. It is very difficult to make money by selling stationery. Some ask why they do not open an online store instead of a physical store, but they just want to let the customers feel the warmth and texture of stationery in person.

Life is hard and we all need a blank space to re-energize ourselves. If you are looking for somewhere to relax, simply go to BLANK and spend a wonderful afternoon with different well-designed stationery items!

Photo: Elok Wong
Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #180

LEAVE SPACE FOR LIFE

 

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