Heilam Choy

Today we’re sharing the home of a die-hard design enthusiast, whose tiny one bedroom apartment in Collingwood has been no limitation to his passion for collecting!  With the apt instagram moniker @thedesignhoarder, Heilam Choy has, over the past few years, amassed a seriously impressive collection of designer furniture, artwork, original design pieces and trinkets, all of which are displayed in museum-like order in his meticulously kept apartment.

Lucy Feagins
Supported by Dulux

The tiny Collingwood apartment of visual merchandiser and design enthusiast Heilam Choy. Above – a corner in the living room, with vintage Eames fibreglass rocker, Cassina Cicognino side table (small round table with handle), Louis Poulsen AJ Floor Lamp designed by Arne Jacobsen, Artemide Fato Lamp (on bookshelf) designed by Gio Ponti (one of Heliam’s all time fave lamps!), Eames walnut stool, Herman Miller Eames low tables with a clip-on cork round table by Inga Sempe (attached to add more surface area to put more ‘stuff’ onto – ‘Lucy laughed at this when I told her!’ says Heliam!) and Areaware ‘Puzzlehead’ puzzle by Richard McGuire on table in foreground. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Kitchen and dining area adjoining living room. Dining table and chairs from Poliform, vintage stool papier mached and repainted by Heilam, mini Herman Miller Eames side tables (stacked) on stool, Stelton Cylinder Line collection by Arne Jacobsen on top of bookshelf, baby Fiddle leaf plants grafted by Heliam on the kitchen bench (so impressive!). Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Epic collection of artwork, design pieces and trinkets on the bookshelves in Heilam’s living room. Bookshelves are industrial units from Bunnings. ‘I love these, they are probably one of the most practical things in my apartment – simple and utilitarian’ says Heilam.  Housed here is Heilam’s extensive book and magazine collection, and paintings by local artist Liam Snootle, framed cacti print by Susie Wright and black abstract fat brush work (that looks like a giant tooth molar) by Talia Shulze.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Assorted collection of things – ceramic smiley scoop is by Paradise Structures, clear acrylic animal sculptures are vintage,  wind up car was from Paul Smith, clear bobbly head squirrel was from Project no.8 from the Ace Hotel NYC, metal lacquered boxes from Fornasetti. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Living room. Bookshelves are industrial units from Bunnings.  Artwork on left by Wandy Bulley, collection of Rosendahl and Areaware timber animals, Alessi Phillipe Starck gold plated juicer (‘completely impractical – gold casing does not like citrus!’ says Heliam!).  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Dining room detail. Edra Favela Chair by Campana Brothers. Leather shopping bag purchased in London, hand drawing by Bon, woollen collage by ColdPicnic, small artwork by Amy Alexander, dark artwork with hands by Rachel Ang, large framed print is Merijn Hos, Cassina nest of tables was a vintage find from Modern History, Alexander Girard dolls. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Shelf detail.  Vitra timber bird by the Bourullec Brothers, Artemide Fato Lamp by Gio Ponti, ceramics by Kim Jaeger, Cody Hoyt, Jessilla Rogers, Cody Hoyt, ceramic scissors by Kirsten Perry (‘I love these silly things’ says Heliam), fat brush painting by Talia Shulze.   Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Bedroom – solid black MDF bedhead, Artemide Tolomeo clip on lamp, Artworks by Liam Snootle, feather drawing is by Jacqui Sidney, small blue portrait is by Jacob deGraaF. Pothead ceramics by Kim Jaeger on bedhead, trees by Tim Fleming. House shape forms made by Heilam.  Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Bedroom – solid black MDF bedhead,  Hand artwork by Rachel Ang, others by Liam Snootle, basketball net painted ceramic by Paradise Structures, Pothead Ceramics, Vitra Eames Black Bird, Round lamp is Eclisse by Artemide, Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

Heliam in his living room, dominated by his incredible B&B Italia Up7 Giant Foot! Crazy cracked / smashed black vases by Studio Dror for Rosenthal, plants range from succulents, hoyas, and elephants foot plants, Dinosaur Designs homewares (last count Heliam owned around 60 pieces of Dinosaur Designs… ‘ridiculous I know’ he admits!)

Lucy Feagins
21st of January 2015

Heilam Choy’s background is in Interior Design, with a current role as Visual Merchandising Designer at Country Road, conceptualising and designing window displays and special projects for the brand.  It follows, then, that his home has a certain level of ‘merchandising’ going on too… it’s the kind of space where favourite furniture pieces are on high rotation, and the steady stream of new acquisitions, (even on a tiny scale) are almost impossible to make room for! (I said almost!).

Heilam rents his apartment, and has lived here for just over two years.  ‘It’s a small one bedroom apartment with simple blank white walls, which luckily works perfectly as a backdrop to my collection of furniture, art and objects’ he says.  His aesthetic can only be described as ‘curated clutter’ – Heilam’s artful and ever-growing collection of furniture and objects form an important backdrop to his life – he is truly passionate about contemporary design, and has amassed a seriously impressive archive of classic contemporary furniture and objects, one obsession at a time!

‘I surround myself with things I love’ says Heilam. His collections range from classic iconic things such as Iittala Alvar Aalto vases (he has around 20), to Ittala kivi glass tea lights (up around 50!), an extensive collection of Stelton Cylinder Line pieces by Arne Jacobsen, to more obscure things such as local handmade ceramics and hand grafted plants. ‘I love things which showcase an appreciation / respect for design and design history, and at the same time can be a little less expected’ Heilam explains.  ‘I find myself constantly torn between being a modernist collector (i.e. simple clean timeless things) to a maximalist where I just simply want everything rich in character!’

When asked if there are any particular favourite items here, Heilam’s response is cautious.  ‘This could take some time…’ he says…!  After a little thought, Heilam explains that the Favela Chair by the Campana Brothers (from Space Furniture) is one of his most recent substantial purchases. ‘I love the fact that it is randomly handmade from raw pine, and nailed together to form a rough shape of an armchair’ he explains. ‘Its not necessarily the most comfortable or practical chair, but it is beautiful to look at and I enjoy the naivety and modern take on traditional craftsmanship’.

Another all time favourite, and probably the most distinctive element in Heilam’s apartment is his INSANE ‘Up 7 Giant Foot’ by Gaetano Pesce fro B&B Italia (also from Space).  ‘This one is definitely one of my oddest purchases’ Heilam admits!  ‘It’s made from solid black lacquered foam, it’s unique and becomes quite a talking piece when friends drop by!  I don’t have a foot fetish at all, but I love the fact its a highly impractical piece of furniture – its not really a seat its just really an object / sculpture. Its just playful and silly and I like that’ Heilam says, matter of factly.

Though he is an unashamed fan of European and American classic design pieces, Heilam is also a huge supporter of local makers. Amongst his extensive collection of handmade ceramics, local crafters including Anchor Ceramics, Bridget Bodenham, Weakend Club, Kim Jaeger, Tessy King and Jessilla Rogers are all represented. ‘I just love these, as each vessel has its own unique characteristics and personality’ Heliam says.

With such a tiny little pad, Heilam’s much loved local neighbourhood is an important extension of his home.  ‘Collingwood is amazing’ he says.  ‘It’s got the perfect blend of grit and polish. Its still a bit raw and humble and it always feels exciting’.

Huge thanks to Heilam for sharing his world with us today – he is well worth following on insta.

Heilam’s tiny indoor ‘garden’ – ceramics by Kim Jaeger, Cody Hoyt, Jessilla Rogers, the crazy cracked / smashed black vases are by Studio Dror for Rosenthal, plants range from succulents, hoyas, and elephants foot plants. Photo – Eve Wilson, production – Lucy Feagins /The Design Files.

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