The Steven Leach Group is proud to introduce one of our very own international designers from SL&A Hong Kong. From Paris, France – Florence Chardonnal (pictured above) is an enthusiastic 26-year old designer, with great passion in the field of Interior Design. For this month’s release of Elephant Talk, we had the pleasure of talking to Florence about her experiences and thoughts of working at SL&A Hong Kong so far. We hope her experience will encourage other designers with similar backgrounds to work for SL&A.

Hi Florence! Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to talk to us and letting us get to know you better. Coming all the way from Paris, could you tell us more about what drove the big move to work in Hong Kong? And at SL&A Hong Kong in particular?

Thank you very much for your interest in my story! I have always wanted to work abroad as a designer, where I can be exposed to different cultures, mindsets, and work habits. When my boyfriend happened to have a business opportunity in Hong Kong, I was ecstatic to be able to fulfil this project of mine.

Before Hong Kong, I used to primarily work on residential projects in Paris and was incredibly happy doing so. However, as a designer, enlarging our scope of work to continue learning and growing is always a good opportunity. As our industry is so diverse, it would be a shame to not embrace all the areas of expertise that it has to offer. Besides, it is a good way to challenge yourself.

As one of the most established interior design firms in Asia, Steven Leach represented an amazing opportunity for me to enter the world of commercial and corporate design. I am honoured to be a part of their new beginnings in Hong Kong, writing a page in their long history and perpetuating the soul of this company.

What is your role at SL&A Hong Kong? How would you describe your time working at SL&A so far?

My current position as an Interior Designer at SL&A Hong Kong has been extremely rewarding. After determining the client’s goals and requirements for a project, I help propose a preliminary design plan – sourcing out specific materials and furnishings in line with their needs. In addition, I am also responsible for maximising functionality and productivity through our layout workspace designs, our client’s identity always drives us to create an incredibly unique and singular design for themselves. The timeframes are very tight compared to Europe and I think the standards are even higher. It makes my journey here even more challenging.

Though our team has continued to grow since the day I first arrived, everybody gets along very well, and we are fortunate to maintain a friendly atmosphere in the office.

Do you have any memorable stories or experiences with SL&A?

In my first year with SL&A Hong Kong, I had the chance to work on one of the biggest design projects in the market at that time – a global financial company that I cannot name in public. The scale of this project was one of a kind – 7 floors, each floor with its own unique design concept and identity. As a designer, it was a real pleasure to be a part of such an adventurous and challenging project.

Do you have any advice to share with the future applicants of SL&A with backgrounds similar to yourself?

I would tell them to just go ahead and jump right into it. Do not be afraid to have an “inadequate background” but rather, use it to your advantage. Though I may not have worked on corporate design projects before SL&A Hong Kong, I am incredibly happy and thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. Making the big decision to get out of your comfort zone might be scary and stressful, but it is always worth a try. You will learn new things and meet interesting people with different skills, experiences, and backgrounds. Most importantly, you get the opportunity to learn more about yourself and your ability to move forward and take on incoming challenges.

Thank you for those wise words Florence. Wishing you all the best at SL&A and your future endeavours.

Thank you. It was a pleasure!