Meet Emma Maclean: HK-based Interior Designer and Fashionista (Holiday Edition)
by Tiffany Law on Dec 15, 2023
Meet Emma Maclean
The HK-based interior designer with an exuberant personality, loves all things fashionable and sophisticated. Born in Taipei and raised in Hong Kong, Emma's journey has taken her to study in Sydney and Rome. However, it is Hong Kong that holds the most special place in her heart, as the city she calls home and cherishes deeply.
If you’ve visited The Fullerton Ocean Park or the Four Seasons Macau Cotai Strip, you’ve enjoyed interior designer Emma Maclean’s work – though she might not call it “work”.
Named one of Perspective magazine's 40 under 40 in 2017, Emma launched EM Bespoke the following year. She was raised in a family of designers, and was exposed to the world of design from a young age, so creating interiors is in her blood. Her passion and forte is in designing for hospitality and commercial clients.
Q&A: If you could collaborate with any other artist/ designer in HK, who would it be?
"I have collaborated with some amazing Hong Kong-based talents, such as architect JJ.Acuna and artist Elsa Jean De Dieu – two creatives I truly adore. For the new year ahead I am looking forward to new possibilities – though I am trained to design hotels, I do believe once you can design a hotel you can design anything, as hospitality spaces combine so many typologies, including public and private spaces, dining, spa, rooms and suites and more. But I would be excited to work in a new genre – and if I could choose, I’d love to do the space planning and curation for an art gallery."
What is the most memorable gift you've ever received?
"Though I adore beautiful material gifts, I treasure someone’s presence more than anything – with this said, it is quality over quantity. Sometimes sitting in Phuket international airport with your besties laughing and crying after a week of detoxing is the best gift you can ask for. For a second you are lost in the moment with magnificent souls and you let go of everything – it’s the most beautiful gift to yourself."
SCMP Sunday Magazine featuring Emma’s home interior design
What are your tips for finding the ideal gift for someone who has everything?
"Sharing a memory."
"I adore writing cards and leaving notes – the art of handwriting is leaving us through the ease of sending WhatsApps and emails, because everything is so instant. To re-share a happy moment or to share with someone your deepest memories, and put them on paper to be encased in time, is a timeless and heartfelt gift. I have always been told if a memory is written down and given, it is a gift, and it is a gift you can read and feel over and over again."
What are your tips on creating a minimal festive look?
"Its all about layering textures and using tonal colours, sometimes minimal is miss-interpreted as sparse, Christmas is joyful so keep the mood happy and layer your textures, volumes and keep the tones consistent. For a more minimal feel, stick to ivory or ecru decorations rather than the traditional forest green and cherry red colour story."
What was your favourite purchase from HULA?
"There are so many, however would you believe my most worn piece is a 3.1 Philip Lim black biker jacket with leopard print sleeves, it sounds outrageous and it is, it ignites joy each and every time it is worn."
Emma throwing us a HULA-HAUL in her cozy warm-toned bedroom
"I have a favourite smell for Christmas in Hong Kong. When it’s terribly chilly for a few weeks and the chestnuts are being roasted outside – mix this with some incense and then you have Hong Kong in winter."