Hailing from Sweden, Joakim Cimmerbeck started Eico - an eco-friendly paint company - in Hong Kong so that people have access to products that are easy on the environment
Eico is an eco-friendly paint company in Hong Kong that creates its products from high quality raw materials and processes that do not cause harm to the environment. Hailing from Sweden, Owner Joakim Cimmerbeck is a huge supporter of the local street art scene, supplying the likes of HK Walls and Alana Tsui. We recently sat down with him to discuss how he ended up in the world paint, what colour trends he is seeing coming through and to find out more about his experimentation into brewing beer.
An interview with Joakim Cimmerbeck
Hi, Joakim. You’re originally from Sweden, so how did you end up in Hong Kong?!
I was always keen to see the world. Back when I was young, I had two options via my work in investment banking: New York or Hong Kong. I picked Hong Kong because it was the better place. This was early 1990, and I stayed here for a year or so, then moved to London with work. I was always keen to come back if I could, but never thought it would happen. One day it did!
And how did you decide to move from finance to the world of eco-friendly paint?
The world of paint is and was the most boring and under-appreciated product in any setting! We take it for granted, and when we plan, we often disregard the impact of painted surfaces. This is something that paint producers have been very happy about for decades, selling low quality products, and I think that needs to change.
Colours and paint surround us and we should care about the quality of the paint that is going onto our walls. I think that everything we expose ourselves to at home, school and work should be safe for our health, and that is why I started Eico.
How is Eico different to other paint brands?
Where do I start… There are so many aspects in which Eico differs from other brands, from sourcing all the way to application. One of the main differences is quality; when you use the best raw materials you get the better products, it is that simple.
Also, we are obviously eco-friendly, and we really promote the notion. The world we live in is just borrowed from future generations, and we need to return it as we found it!
What kinds of colours have you seen coming through this season?
People in Hong Kong are not yet very keen on using colours, but we are seeing an increase in the use of colours and also art on walls. Grown up blues, and greyer blues are popular, and we are seeing stronger earth tones being used.
My personal favourites at the moment are Prague, a moody blue; Late Olive, a refined greeny brown; and Carolus, a soft green, but we can make any colour that our clients desire, so the possibilities are endless.
Tell us about your collaboration with HKwalls and why you wanted to get involved with the street art event?
We support the arts. Street art, as we see it, is the modern take on the old masters who worked with murals. We think that everybody should support such events to gain a greater appreciation of art. We hope that we can continue this collaboration and increase our support for the arts and artists.
We hear you recently started brewing your own Eico beer. Tell us more!
Paint is a combination of raw materials, and water is a big part of that. We use renewable spring water and glacier water, and we wanted to show how clean and how high quality the water we use is. So, we decided to use some of our water to make a beer. It is a very tasty classical pilsner; a simple brew that is good for all occasions. We have been surprised with the interest in it, so we are looking at ways to introduce it in Hong Kong and have it for sale in restaurants and bars.
Speaking of which, you often say you enjoy a good pint. What are some of your favourite bars and pubs in Hong Kong?
I tend to prefer places that are just trying to be themselves, nothing too pretentious or artificial – those are the places I tend to frequent.
- Thaiwan is good for local brews and has a nice atmosphere.
- If you are looking for great service and want to talk with an owner who has a parrot, then go to Tai Lung Fung.
- The Jockey near Happy Valley racecourse is good for some mainstream brands and talking with the locals
- For a Guinness, there is only one place: Captain’s Bar at Mandarin Oriental.
- If you are, like me, a middle-aged bloke, you can not ignore Lockhart Road and the multitude of bars there. Dependent on what you want to do, Dog House is good for a sporting beer and White Stag on a Monday night for a pub quiz.
Want to read more interviews with talented people in Hong Kong like Joakim Cimmerbeck? Take a look at our chat with Nikita Ramchandani from Kita Yoga, find out how Carol Luk set up a ceramics workshop or read our interview with William Lee from Loveramics