又迷你、又古舊嘅通花鐵閘, 你見過未? Classic folding metal gate, the mini vintage version
How much do you know about the stories of Hong Kong's engraved metal gates, folding gates, and roller gates?
In the old days, customers were allowed to choose the pattern they wanted from a sample and have the name of the shop engraved on it, creating a "personalized" metal gate. It was very difficult to bend a square gate into a symmetrical arc and then weld it together, it shows the strong craftsmanship of Hong Kong ironmongers in the past.
In addition to its beautiful appearance, the floral design of the gate is also a glimpse of the way of life in Hong Kong in the old days. Starting from the 1950s and 1960s, many shopkeepers and partners lived behind their shops. Ground floor shops in tenement buildings did not necessarily have windows, so they opened holes on the metal gate for better air circulation. In addition, another feature of the engraved metal gate is that it can transmit light, so even if the shop is closed at night, you can still see the movements of the owner from outside. This is how the neighbors grow a long lasting trust and reliance.
However, even with the unique style and craftsmanship of the gate, and its durability, it was not able to withstand the rising rent and various environmental restrictions. Engraved metal gates gradually evolved into today's more common roller gates, which take up less space than folding gates and can usually be stored behind a light box sign.
In order to preserve this collective memory of Hong Kong, AIML designers and engineers took the liberty of carving our cafe’s name “Shan Mei ST cafe” onto the metal gate to showcase the shop's history.