HBF Launches the Bao Collection by Alda Ly Architecture

The inaugural collection from API woman-owned firm

ALA – Photo credit Pippa Drummond

Informed by Alda Ly Architecture’s (ALA) ethos of inspired design-thinking and close attention to user experience, the Bao collection is designed for maximum comfort and usability. The first furniture collaboration between the API women-owned firm and HBF with a charming play on the Chinese word “bao”—a homonym for bun, bag, precious, and baby—this collection was conceived to bridge the gap between formal and informal, sedate and lively. Its sculptural silhouette reflects the simplicity and sophistication of its construction—a graceful combination of craftsmanship and clean aesthetics. Bao offers a flexible seating solution unlike any other on the market and is a smart addition to office, healthcare, hospitality or public spaces.

Inspired by the beauty of geometry, Bao brings together form and function to create a moveable pouf that is incredibly welcoming and emotive. The collection is available in six base archetypes—small, medium, large half-round, stacking, low loop handle and high loop handle—and two seat heights (lounge and work) to activate any space with its versatility. Constructed to embody the experience of a lounge chair, Bao retains its playful and collaborative spirit while serving as a space-saving and stylish seating companion for lively conversations, professional and private settings.

Photo credit Pippa Drummond

“The multiple meanings of the word Bao include expressions of preciousness and playfulness, and we designed a pouf that exudes both,” explains Alda Ly, Founder & Principal of Alda Ly Architecture. “There is practicality in the handles, mobility with the loop back, and stackability; but also whimsy and approachability in its soft, round shape and variety of upholstery options and finishes. We enjoyed creating something that we hope is like nothing else in the market – flexible and functional, but also fun.”

Beyond these thoughtful design elements, ALA and HBF have incorporated a variety of upholstery options and finishes into the collection for simple customization. Bao offers a wide range of hospitality-inspired HBF Textiles as graded-in standards. With an extensive selection of fully bleach-cleanable woven textiles, performance coated fabrics, and luxurious full-grain leathers from which to choose, Bao enables designers to easily imprint their own creative vision, providing long-term value through refined aesthetics balanced with maximum durability.

“The details of this collection are important. We wanted the design to be impactful both at first glance and also up close, so we explored ideas for decorative detail options that could provide visual interest at a smaller scale,” explains Tania Chau, Director of Interior Design at Alda Ly Architecture. “This manifested in several ways – as a concentric quilted seat top, as a signature seam stitch and as a protective metal cap on the stacking model. While the pouf is great without it, these options are like jewelry or an accessory – an extra touch that the specifier can use to distinguish and customize their pieces to suit each project”

“When we initially presented the design brief to the ALA team, we included an extensive wishlist, expecting to only accomplish one or two of those objectives,” explains Casey Baxter, Vice President, General Manager at HBF | HBF Textiles. “There are a lot of pouf collections in the marketplace and our goal was to showcase something novel, fresh and functional. With the combination of the wood stacking variation and two loop back handles in addition to the small, medium and large half round pieces, ALA was able to complete the whole checklist.”

As with all offerings in their extensive portfolio, HBF builds furniture products for longevity and ease of service. This allows for the replacement of parts to retain the value of the product and prolong its life. Each piece in the Bao collection is SCS Indoor Advantage™ Gold Certified and meets ANSI/BIFMA Level® 2 Furniture Sustainability Standard.

The full Bao collection will be on display at HBF’s flagship showroom located at 155 Fifth Avenue, 6th floor in New York City starting May 17, 2023.

Photo credit Pippa Drummond
Photo credit Pippa Drummond
Photo credit Pippa Drummond

About HBF

With an emphasis on design, craft, and sustainability, HBF (Hickory Business Furniture), is proud to be part of North Carolina’s two-hundred-year-old legacy of furniture and textile manufacturing. HBF’s expertise is rooted in the understanding of how furniture creates relationships between people and environments. With this holistic perspective for living and working comes good, honest craftsmanship driven by inspiring, contemporary design. Engineered for longevity and performance, HBF products are built with a sound contract manufacturing competence that has continuously evolved since our foundation in 1981. For more information, visit: www.hbf.com

About Alda Ly Architecture (ALA)

Alda Ly Architecture (ALA) is an API woman-owned firm that provides thoughtful, custom interior solutions for organizations looking to rethink traditional retail, healthcare, office, and cultural spaces. Founded in 2017 when the groundbreaking co-working platform The Wing tapped Ly to design its East Coast and California locations, ALA continues to serve a growing number of entrepreneurs and startups as well as established organizations looking to rethink traditional retail, healthcare, office, and cultural spaces. ALA is a recognized thought leader in biophilic design and has been featured nationally and internationally in a variety of media outlets.