Behind Mr. Gumbatron is Lex Mak – architect, entrepreneur, coffee connoisseur, he always puts importance on dressing well. Spending his time between Melbourne in Australia and Hong Kong. Architect graduated in 2012, and with a passion for coffee, he naturally started working in the hospitality industry. He founded Mr. Gumbatron in 2014, which quickly became an international gentlemen fashion and lifestyle brand. Since 2017 he is the Creative Director at The Coffee Academics, and in parallel in 2018, he co-founded Cookie Department.
With the desire to learn something new every day, Lex Mak wants to inspire people to always put their best foot forward, to be a better person day by day – defining himself as ‘an architect who loves coffee, fashion and travel’, he naturally makes his life around ‘dressing well, drinking well, living well’
‘Inspiration comes from different places’, therefore you may find him wandering around the streets of an unknown city he decided to discover, until dawn, immersing himself in the local culture. Having grown up in Melbourne where people pay great attention to dress well, he wanted to bring this approach in Hong Kong to inspire the young generations.
In between several businesses, and around a variety of country, Lex keeps a strict routine of preparing himself his first coffee of the day, together with meditating twice a week, to keep a clear mind. This is how he keeps himself around with a sense of relevance, especially evolving in a fast pace city, such as Hong Kong.
INTERVIEW WITH Mr Gumbatron
My name is Lex Mak. I was born in Hong Kong, and I grew up in Melbourne. I’m the Creative Director of The Coffee Academics. I’m formally trained as an architect, and I’m also an entrepreneur.
I got into the coffee industry while I was studying architecture. So I have a postgraduate degree in architecture, and I fell into this industry, as I was studying. I visited many coffee shops and worked in coffee shops, throughout the university, as a library you could say. And when I graduated from my master in architecture, I decided to move into the hospitality industry.
The most critical point of my field, I think, is staying relevant. There’s a lot of noise, there are a lot of people competing, especially in a place like Hong Kong – So it’s always being relevant, pushing my own creativity.
Inspiration comes for me from different places. I think through traveling, I love to go to a different city, so at least once a year I travel to a city that I’ve never been before and really get immersed in the culture. And it’s not uncommon to see me waking up early, say five o’clock in the morning, and going out, and walking, meandering through the streets of the city to really feel the culture, feel the space, look at the architecture until, you know, early morning 3:00am, and then do it all again.
What drives me – oh, that’s a tough one! I guess for me, I’m a big advocate of personal development, so I’m always striving to be a better person. I’m always striving to improve, whether it’s little steps but every day make progression in life, not only in my career but in my personal life. So I set a lot of goals for myself, a lot of mental goals, and that, that really drives me like, to be, to be a better person, to inspire other people along the way. And be inspired by people.
Let me share with you one of my goals. So this will be outside of my profession as an architect but in one of the other industries that I’m quite passionate about, which is men’s fashion. So I moved back to Hong Kong, with the intention of helping inspire young gentlemen to put more effort in how they dress and really, you know, Hong Kong is a very transient place. It’s a very commercialized place. And coming from a place like Melbourne, where everyone has great pride in how they dress, I wanted to somehow influence the people of Hong Kong, the young people of Hong Kong in that aspect.
Hong Kong & Australia.
The main differences I find between Australia and Hong Kong, having spent time in both cities – Hong Kong is very dynamic, it moves very quickly, it’s also very diverse. Melbourne, where I’m also from, where I grew up, is very, very relaxed, very chilled. It’s also, you know, the most liveable city in the world, they do also have, you know, some of the best coffee in the world.
The day Routine.
How do I organise the typical day in my week? Well, this is very tricky because there’s many different things that I do, but I do have a very strict regime, which is waking up early in the morning. So I typically get up around 5:30am in the morning, two days a week I would meditate. So meditation is something that I do to keep me focus throughout the week. So at least on the Monday, and once again on the Friday, after the meditation, I will take my dog out for a walk. So normally there’ll be a brisk walk, or we’ll go for a jog, then I’ll sit down and do a bit of reading over my first cup of coffee. The first cup of coffee is always made by myself. So I would drink maybe four cups a day. But the first one, there’s a very ritual ceremony that I like to do. It slows me down and, you know, read a book while I do that, and then I’ll get on with my day.