My Space: co-working jewellery design studio Hatton Studios

If you’re only as good as those you surround yourself with, these Hong Kong businesses are taking things up a notch with well-designed office spaces. We take a peek in our three-part web series.

Located in the heart of Sheung Wan, Hatton Studios is an organised space that works like a well-oiled machine. When visitors first enter the studio, they’ll find a small gallery display area to the right. There’s also a large section dedicated to co-working stations for students and jewellery designers dutifully attending to their projects. At the back corner is an office, where staff attend to the administrative and marketing needs of the business. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the fire of jewellery designer Nathalie Melville-Geary. 

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Did you always want to be a jewellery designer?

Initially, I wanted to get into fashion or possibly costume design. But back when I was studying in England, once you finish your high school education and go to an art college, you have to do a foundation course – a one-year programme where you have to try everything before you funnel into a specialisation. Luckily for me, I did metalwork and immediately felt like I was at home.

What was the process like to find this space for Hatton Studios?

We had a really good realtor. Before this, my husband and I had spent about six months toiling away on our dining table and it wasn’t working out. So we ended up looking for a space. The second we walked in, we said, “It’s perfect!” It’s funny, because most of the time, realtors say, “Oh, it’s already renovated.” And the minute you see it, it looks like something out of the 1980s. So many lovely places are ruined by the interiors.

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What is one very meaningful jewellery piece you own?

I have a pair of costume earrings that belonged to my granny. She was an artist from the Seychelles and was very glamorous. She passed those earrings to my mum, and then when I turned 18, my mum passed them onto me. They’re crazy glamorous and I don’t wear them very often, but I have the strongest emotional connection to them.

You’re one of the leading authorities in Asia on sourcing precious materials through ethical and environmentally friendly sources. Why is this so important to you?

Back in 2010, we had gone through the financial crisis; my husband and I lost everything. Even though we went through a tough period, we still loved what we did and wanted to continue working in jewellery. I realised that I still have the luxury to follow my passion. On the other hand, there are people who have no choice, whose every day is a hardship. I realised that part of my responsibility is to people who don’t have that ability to choose. I don’t have the means or the knowledge to wave a magic wand over the industry, but I do have a good enough voice to be able to make noise, little by little.

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What is one important life lesson that you’ve learned from your craft?

Patience. You can’t rush being a goldsmith, a silversmith, a designer – you just can’t. With the way I work, having patience brings focus and almost has a meditative feeling. And yes, I’m a redhead and also an artist, so I always flare up at some point. But in that respect, having learnt that patience has given me something to draw on. Even in a high-stress environment, I can find that patience and inner focus. It’s my version of counting to 10.

Read the first post in the series, Life at Studio B, and watch for the final part, Open House.

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Photography: Kenneth Wu
Production: Daniel Kong