In 1996 Mark Fraser and Andrew Mackintosh planned to spend a week passing Hong Kong before handover in 1997. This was just part of an exciting year of travelling. They arrived in Hong Kong after spending a relaxing two months in Thailand and Malaysia, knowing little about the place other than many of their childhood toys were stamped with “Made in Hong Kong”.
They both remember the excitement of approaching Kai Tak during the night and being greeted by a stranger who led them to the notorious Chung King Mansions. Andrew recalls telling his mum on the phone that he was living in a place called Chung King Mansions and she said that it sounded a lovely place! It wasn’t till she came out the following year that she found out what it was really like. For the first couple of months Mark and Andrew did whatever casual work came up such as selling sandwiches, promoting beer and working for removal companies. However, wanting to earn better money, they decided to make use of Mark’s previous construction experience and started advertising in local papers. They managed to buy a few tools and began to learn about local ways and materials and Man With Drill was born. Andrew was offered alternative work and Mark continued Man With Drill on his own and started Chameleon Design and Interiors in 1998 which allowed him to use the full range of his building and design skills.
In the UK Mark had attended a building college for three years then moved on to a College of Building and Printing where he completed a course in advanced craft level which covered all aspects of construction. He then gained hands on experience working for a local building company who employed. As he recalls the company were very professional and could basically build a house from scratch! He was then invited to help build a manufacturing business which dealt with textiles and window coverings which taught him many useful skills including being able to measure extremely accurately, install, communicate with both staff and customers.
Staircase by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, one of Mark's inspirations.
Chung King Mansions - Mark's first home in Hong Kong
In addition to construction Mark is interested in design and history and finds the work of the famous Scottish architect Charles Rennie MacKingtosh particularly inspirational. His travels around the world taught him about the use of colour and light and how this can affect people’s moods. He is keen to reflect the atmosphere and colours associated with different nations.
Mark had always aimed to travel and become an entrepreneur. He has now had over 22 years experience in decoration and 15 working for himself. He is now designing and building his own custom made furniture to add to his services. Since being in Hong Kong Mark has written features and articles (see press) for numerous publications including the South China Morning Post, The List, and HK Magazine. Mark has never advertised much preferring to get recommendations from previous customers and relying on word of mouth. It’s always good to get new work but you can’t beat referrals! In addition to construction Mark is interested in design and history and finds the work of the famous Scottish architect Charles Rennie MacKingtosh particularly inspirational. His travels around the world taught him about the use of colour and light and how this can affect people’s moods. He is keen to reflect the atmosphere and colours associated with different nations.