Okay, so we've come to accept the fact that most homes in our beloved Hangzhou, at least the ones average people can afford to rent, are a little on the drafty side. The lack of insulation means they're freezing in the winter, sweltering in the summer, and just right, 2 non-consecutive weeks out of the year, but that doesn't mean you can't spruce the place up a little bit? Do you simply order everything out of an IKEA catalogue a la Fight Club? Maybe you have your own tastes to satiate. If you do, let us point you in the direction of a place that caters to your needs for something unique, yet stylish, at a price that won't make you feel below your regal station. The place is HYSSOP, and it's situated on the same corner lot as O2 Magazine. The two buildings form a strange sort of maisonette with separate front doors, but a shared coffee bar upstairs that connects both spaces. While this may sound like an unlikely pairing, it really does work well, and the first thing you'll notice upon entering the premises is that it's full of great little knick-knacks with intelligent design features built into them. The unique perforated neoprene rubber laptop slipcovers stood out, as did the clean and simple style of their stainless steel waste bins and magnetic wall-mountable bottle openers. They also stock numerous T-shirts and shoulder bags featuring highly inventive artwork. This is a place to get lots of terrific home ideas, especially if you're into designs that center around understated looks and clever hidden functions. Upstairs, the selection gets even better, once you take in all of the amazing furniture that's made from honeycomb-corrugated cardboard. Yes, we said cardboard, but this like the Rolls Royce of cardboard. The coffee bar is made up almost entirely of this material, and is completely sturdy. Besides the eco-friendly cardboard, there is also a decadent set of sexy, fire engine-red, steel cabinets rolling on polyurethane casters. They're very cool indeed, but at 7,200RMB it's a smidge out of our price range. The owner, Michael Sun, an accomplished designer from Suzhou, has put a lot of himself into this project. Parking is first come first serve on the street, but things should improve as more shops open in the area.
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