theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: The Gardens at Asia Society

Opened in February 2012, the best part of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center experience (besides the exhibitions, events, Restaurant/Cafe, and Bookshop… which are all pretty great)… is the personally intimate mode of exploration. While it’s true one would think that everything in Hong Kong’s Island has been discovered, especially for residents, walking through the center’s elegant zig-zagging garden compound on the lusciously green hills of Admiralty can definitely offer the visitor a sublime moment of surprise and introspection.

The line between urbanity and nature. The bridge offers a moment of both experiences.

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The building’s sharp and transparent pedestrian bridge is the defining piece of New York architects’ Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s (TWBTA) masterplan, and is pretty much a moment where one walks a fairly thin line between nature’s setback and the city’s modernist glass facades, seemingly pushing in to encroach what is left of the mountain little by little.

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In fact, for the Asia Society project, the building is very un-like new Chinese projects, since it is defined mostly by the need to preserve the landscape of the green site, and to adaptively re-use found structures built by the British military between the 1860s and the 1940s. This means, the building is devoid of any iconic visibility or external presence. What the Asia Society does offer, is unique programming, a unique site within the green, special views, and an architectural form which serves the internal experience.

Reflecting back, the building becomes invisible to the view.

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From the bridge and rooftop’s vantage point and within the trees, one can observe and look back to the buildings of Hong Kong and the Victoria Habour beyond it.

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The pedestrian bridge was carefully planned in order to have the lightest possible footprint on the unique site. A small ravine bisects the site and translate to an beautiful reflecting pool sitting directly above on the roof top, which then becomes an incessant force as the water falls between the cracks below it.

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The sound of the water, the way the nature cushions the pathways, the integration of the old army barracks, and the sporadic pieces of large scale sculptures, really give hope to a well meaning and introspective modern cultural experience.

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Designers, Tod and Billie, are known for their relationship to creation or discovery of new innovative materials. See moments of natural discoloration which occurs over time with the ‘Mist Green Marble’ used on the facade, from Shanxi China.

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Organic forms of the outdoor amphitheatre relate back to the topography of the site.

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Other moments we loved… this stair.

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This green fence.

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This ‘Sleeping Buddha’.

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The bisecting glass through nature.

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On the way back to the MTR from the Asia Society, don’t forget and stop by this 100 year old Banyan Tree. Which the developer of the complex has promised to preserve (as part of building/leasing rights to the land.) It’s actually a destination.

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This quiet approach to new culture, conceptualized in 2001, will most likely be the last of its kind we will see in this city for awhile, since the trend is now moving towards more spectacle oriented tourism, as is expected for new museums like M+ and the CPS.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn / Winter 2014’s Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Asia Society Hong Kong Center . The Hong Kong Jockey Club Former Explosives Magazine, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong . T: +852-21039511 . Closed only on Mondays . Free Admission To The Gardens . Special Exhibitions 30HKD / DESIGN Tod Williams & Billie Tsien TWBTASTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: The Fondation Louis Vuitton Unveiled

There’s just so much happening with Louis Vuitton this year. Most recently, in Shanghai, Louis Vuitton staged an apparently impressive showing, titled “Series 1” on Fuxing Zhong Lu, exhibiting (amongst other things) the brand’s iconic heritage pieces re-introduced via the work of new house designer, Nicolas Ghesquiere’s first Vuitton collection. The Ghesquiere show plays homage to the newly iconic, through a selection of mixed-media work (audio-visual / video / collages, etc) by the likes of artists, Annie Leibovits, Jurgen Teller, Bruce Webber, and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Meanwhile, last week Louis Vuitton shops all over the world (including Hong Kong) played host to various parties welcoming a new collection of limited edition bags, six to be precise, titled “The Icon and The Iconoclasts: Celebrating Monogram”, a project focused on design collaborations between the house and style icons; shoe designer Christian Louboutin, photographer Cindy Sherman, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, industrial designer Marc Newson, fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, and California-based architect Frank Gehry.

Karl Lagerfeld (left) and Frank Gehry (right) for Louis Vuitton.

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Speaking of Frank Gehry, next week on October 27th, Louis Vuitton is planning to inaugurate their largest cultural-focused collaboration to date, a new Gehry-designed art destination dubbed The Fondation Louis Vuitton, to be located in Paris on the site of the Jardin d’acclimatation in the Bouis de Boulogne. The 11,700sqm. building, was designed by Gehry to house “artistic creation in all its forms”, and will primarily be filled with content made up mostly of Bernard Arnault’s (LVMH Group’s CEO) own personal- and extensive- art collection, plus two temporary exhibitions a year, in addition to various musical performances to be presented within the 350-seat Auditorium.

From next week’s to December 2014, expect special exhibitions based on the theme of ‘Voyage of Creation’, essentially work devoted to the discovery of Gehry’s Fondation architecture itself. These exhibits will house a retrospective show of Frank Gehry’s European works (to be organized with the Centre Pompidou), some integrative site-specific works from the permanent collection – including pieces from Ellsworth Kelly’s "Spectrum Series" and Olafur Eliasson "Inside The Horizon" (as seen above) plus concerts by Chinese pianist from Shenyang, Lang Lang and eight concerts planned by Kraftwerk.

PS. The restaurant on the ground floor is called, Le Frank.  iLovesit.

VISIT Fondation Louis Vuitton . 8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi – Bois de Boulogne – 75116 Paris . Metro Line 1 Station Les Sablons, exit Fondation Louis Vuitton . Closed Only on Tuesdays 

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: Original Facebook Hong Kong Mural Artist Speaks Up

So… remember my “DESIGN NOTES” story in July, regarding a friend of mine, artist Peter Yuill and Facebook Hong Kong’s newest headquarters? 

Kowloon Building Mural at Facebook Headquarters (2014) / Caratoes

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Well for those who have already forgotten… we reported three months ago that a Peter Yuill-looking mural (assumption based on Peter Yuill’s past series of work, but not by Peter Yuill), popped up in one of Facebook’s breakout lounges. In my blog post then, I stated that, for all the money that Facebook makes from Hong Kong and China, the lest they can do is actually pay for the real Hong Kong artists to do their signature styles of Hong Kong within the tech company’s brand new Hong Kong Headquarters… you know, to show respect for community, context, and authenticity, as well as to be part of contemporary culture.

(And duh, they actually used these same images to market themselves the week they opened!)

Facebook Hong Kong Headquarters, Interior Shot.

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But instead of bringing those artists in, they put up works that “look like” works by the likes of Yuill (as i’ve stated), Pete Ross, and even deceased artists like King of Kowloon / Tsang Tsou Choi (even though there are many of his original works still available on sale… just look at BIBO restaurant, for example!)

Then I got an email… that same week. From a Hong Kong artist, who stated that my reporting was inaccurate and that in fact, Facebook Hong Kong DID hire a local Hong Kong artist to do all the murals on their wall. This artist’s name (ie. the person who emailed me) is Caratoes, also a contemporary of Peter Yuill’s. Her own work (that she’s more known for) of female figures in dream-like situations, is actually quite amazing. Caratoes is represented by some of the city’s best galleries, namely Above Second and Cat Street Gallery. I was and am still a fan. 

via Caratoes, on her Facebook Work (from her email to me wanting to clarify the situation - not an actual artist’s statement - which we have requested three months ago, and still waiting):

"About the (Kowloon Mural in Facebook Hong Kong), they had a last minute request to have a tribute and a story to old Kowloon corner buildings. (Which) you still see often in Kowloon.

To paint buildings or humans realistically in black ink (which is a medium I use 90% of the time) might end up looking similar. As the goal is to achieve likeness of what is real.  Just stating the obvious here.

As you know, for jobs like this, they ask around quite a few artists. One of them was Peter (Yuill) I found out later. It was their decision to go with whomever artist they think is suitable to execute their project and vision. I understand if you disagree. But that is your personal opinion.”

And there you have it.

The work at the Facebook Hong Kong Headquarters is indeed the work of a Local Hong Kong Artist, after all. Her name is Caratoes.

Just to remind you. Here are Peter Yuill’s architectural rendering works (of which he is known for.)image

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Now this is the work that Caratoes is known for (from her own website.)

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From Juxtapoz Magazine.

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This is a photo Caratoes sent to us of her her mural at Facebook Hong Kong.

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And as Caratoes stated above… Peter Yuill told me that he did indeed turn in sketches to Facebook Hong Kong to bid for the same project. Whether they’ve seen them or not, they’re not telling.

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In other news. THIS JUST HAPPENED in Shanghai.

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My favorite Thai Restaurant in Hong Kong, Chachawan, just got Chinafied (unofficially).  This week, according to the @ABOVESECOND instagram and Time Out Shanghai - a China copycat (also called Chachawan) just opened up.

Everything was copied (and very poorly) from the food to the Interior details… including the fabulous mural in the main dining room on ground floor.

The mural above is from Hong Kong’s original Chachawan, the mural below is from Shanghai’s copy Chachawan.

The artist who executed the original mural?

Well… it’s Caratoes.

ART Peter Yuill / ART Caratoes

JJ.

theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: Design Institute

Hong Kong’s latest architectural renaissance jump-started within the educational sector in 2010 with the iconic, Hong Kong Design Institute aka. the HKDI located in Tseung Kwan O.This highly original building was first conceptualized less than 10 years ago after it won first place in an ideas competition for the non-profit public school devoted to all things Design. Since it was built, construction of other design schools with similarly iconic avant-garde architectures in the city followed, all authored by award winning and globally recognized architects such as Daniel Libeskind for the Run Run Shaw Media Centre (2011) and Zaha Hadid for her “Innovation” Tower (2014) at CUHK’s Kowloon campus.

Pedestrians can access the vertical campus on many levels.

The difference between the Hadid and Libeskind campuses and the HKDI, is that HKDI’s winning architects don’t have the starchitect status nor long building history of the other two. Named CAAU (Codelfy & Associes Architectes Urbanistes), the Lille and Paris, France based studios, have basically hit jackpot with this winning project. At 42,000m2 large, HKDI is the first ever completed building within their company portfolio, and it’s a beautiful and thoughtful one at that… everything works spatially and volume-wise, with no gimmicky forms or odd cheap finishes.

And after walking around the school’s site two weeks ago, I was completely convinced that CAAU could not have done a better job with the HKDI, which is a feat in itself considering Hong Kong’s complicated construction process (especially with all the permits to build anything a-traditional here.)

Internal streets on many levels connect the building with surrounding environments.

HKDI, which can house up to 4,000 students, is most notable for its four tree-tower trunks clad in a lattice steel diamond shaped-structure holding up an awe-inspiring glass box raised 7-storeys high. Dubbed the “White Sheet”, the architects saw this sheet as a “metaphorical presentation of creativity”, floating in air, connecting all other parts of the campus’ multidisciplinary functions, many meters above ground.

The glass box above is the metaphorical ‘White Sheet’ of Creativity. Photographed by Lightseed Studio.

The otherwise flat site, has been made more dynamic with all auditoriums, dining, and gallery functions placed within an artificial plinth on the ground, sandwiching the towers housing the classrooms, with the glass box on top holding other shared functions like study areas and the main library (with a view.)

Towers clad in lattice steel structure.

From a detail standpoint, this building is far superior structurally, materially, and finishes-wise, than the other buildings in Hong Kong of its ilk by far more seasoned architects. The 60m long escalator which takes students from ground level to the glass box, works well enough exactly how it was intended to work, and the external lattice structure which was constructed on site (not-prefabricated at all) is the the building’s overall design signature which looks neat with no water rust on the paint and with very clean joint details amongst all its structural parts. It still looks new after so many years.

While CAAU was the design architect, the project was made possible with collaboration with P&T Group, the local architects who designed our last Architectural tour stop, The Velodrome. Ove Arup Hong Kong is the project’s structural engineering team (also same with the Velodrome). The HKDI was first established in 2002, and houses departments for Design, Fashion/Textile, Printing/ Digital Media, and Multimedia + Internet Technology.

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Glass canopy brings light in while protecting interior open spaces from the elements.

Latticework structure of the HKDI built on site looks as good as new.

There are very elegant moments here when the tree trunk goes beyond the glass box above. (It could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t.)

So many sublime moments to connect and contemplate.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Hong Kong Hong Kong Design Institute was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn / Winter 2014’s Simon Holloway Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Hong Kong Design Institute . 3 King Ling Road, Tseung Kwan O, NT HK . Tiu Keng Leng MTR Station Exit A2 . T: +852-39282994 / DESIGN CAAU Codelfy & Associates Architects Urban Planners / STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

Seen&Scene: Weekend Design and Food at the PMQ

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I haven’t really written much about the PMQ 元創方 (aka Police Married Quarters), since the building opened its doors to the public during Art Basel Hong Kong this past May. You can read about the building’s history at the Discover Hong Kong website, but in short the building that stands is the remnant structure that was the site of the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, the first dormitory for Chinese rank and file police officers and their family members… an attractive staff benefit to recruit new police officers. These days the building, which originally housed 140 single rooms and 28 double rooms, is now a heritage site as well as a designers hub / shopping mall for independent labels and shops from Hong Kong and importers based in Hong Kong. 

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Anyway, i’ve only written about the PMQ in context of other stories, like when I wrote about Isono/Vasco, Aberdeen Street Social, and Kapok. The reason why I haven’t really focused on PMQ itself is because I’m doing a wait-and-see approach on this project, or at least until the building/mall can stand on both feet with full tenant occupancy. I think 6 months into it, PMQ is definitely not bad. There were some hiccups (ie. 1600 Pandas filling the plaza, which was just horrid) but everything else is alright actually. In the end of the day, the city of Hong Kong, is better to have a “design-focused-hub” than not. Even though some designers who i’m personal friends with can’t afford a unit here, in a way they still partner with some other tenants to allow their goods to be sold here. And I don’t know about the selection process for an “X” amount of units, but I do believe that some curation and rent-price level is needed or else the there would be a wider and more random range of tenancies here than what already exists right now. (For example, some tenant spaces are fully and glamorously designed and fitted out, while the tenant adjacent would basically have an empty non-designed storehouse for product. All over the place.)

A good thing I just witnessed this Sunday, however, is a new initiative dubbed Design Market @ PMQ, an opportunity for those designers who can’t afford an actual space here, to be showcased at the PMQ’s public plaza on a Sunday. More than just a handful of designers touting womenswear and menswear are on display here with their pop-up booth and it’s excellent.  There are some good finds I want to highlight… mainly the new accessories brand, North & Sparrow designed by a Brit graphic designer, named Andy Clarke, who lives in Hong Kong. We will be interviewing him soon. I believe he just showed up recently at The Hub HK and BluePrint Singapore.

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Another cool thing I saw was this old school Heritage high-end menswear bag label, called Leon Flam. Not many people know about it just yet, but it’s distribution is mostly in France.

I really like the helmet bags.

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Noted it’s not a Hong Kong-based independent brand. But without the PMQ, importers would have to rely on big department stores like Lane Crawford or Harvey Nichols to get some visible representation here. And I think the non-Lane Crawford route is a good win for consumers who are looking for more variety.

The Hong Kong based gift box company, Babaobox, was also here at the PMQ. Theirs is a curated gift box with real design and art products by actual art and design practitioners based in Hong Kong. For example if you get Babaobox Edition 1, you get original work and products from Michael Leung and Wilton Ip / Artonomos. Edition 2, titled “Obsessions”, gets you original art (a rug with rabbit poo and piss print) by highly celebrated artist, Adrian Wong and his wife, a textile seamstress, Samantha Reid. The box itself can be made into a sculptural object using tools provided by its designers, architects Marisa Yiu and Eric Shuldenfrei of ESKYIU.

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Not a bad gift for yourself or for someone else for 999HKD! I mean… Original Art and Design, people! A collectible!

After the PMQ we headed up next door to say hi to my friend, Chef Mai Chow, at her SUPER FAMOUS and SUPER DELICIOUS bao stand, Little Bao.

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She and her partner, Samantha Wong, from Little Square Street, were hosting a full on event for VANS (the shoes), with a block party, and a limited day-only menu which consisted of a 3-blend Angus Beef Bao Burger, Mirin Caramel Fires with sprinkles of furikake, and a delicious PBJ Ice Cream Bao (with Szechuan Strawberry Sauce.)

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I mean…like what else can I say? Nothing. It’s sublime food.

Met up with amazing friends, Thierry, the feng shui master (who found a fry with a letter “J” on it.)

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Gal pals; Nguyen Thi, MISCHA’s designer Michelle, and Candace Campos ie. Interior Design queen.

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And this fashion family, Thierry, an expectant mom Ingrid, and Charlotte, a blog stylista plus app developer of the super successful SPOTTLY app (which will be debuting in two weeks for Android, yay.)

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To finish the day, a few of us went to PMQ’s Aberdeen Street Social for a sunset sundowner, namely to drink a spicy Whisky based cocktail. Delicious. (That’s an Adrian Wong piece in the back… the barber parlor lights.)

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PMQ, and surrounding businesses… lots to offer for those looking for style and design from independent business owners with a cup of coffee a good bao in Hong Kong.

VISIT Design Market @ PMQ . Corner of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong  / CARRY North & Sparrow / CARRY Leon Flam / GIFT Babaobox / EAT Little Bao . 66 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-21940202 . No Reservation  / DRINK Aberdeen Street Social . PMQ, GF, JPC, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong . T:+852-28660300

JJ.

New Hong Kong

The #OccupyCentral movement in Hong Kong has officially made waves (appropriately so) globally within mainstream media. There were some very dark and ugly moments (when masked thugs and triads attacked the students to represent #AntiOccupyCentral sentiment), but generally, the protesters and student’s general genteel, respectful, and patient demeanors (overall) is something universally celebrated and nothing this world has ever seen before coming out of such a city-wide protest, that as of today, has gone on for about two weeks.

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Some of the best things to come out of the protest, include all the installation art (via HKHELD) and graphic art (via FASTCODESIGN) by various supporters. Another amazing thing to see is that students have since installed makeshift beds and “No camera flash, no noise” study areas, which is very cute to see… thereby re-enforcing the nerdy Asian stereo type that we all LOVE to study (even when we are being rebellious protesters.) Some funny non-Occupy Central stuff has also occured, including Jon Stewart’s holistic (and hilarious) take on the protests, plus CY Leung’s (Hong Kong’s Chief Executive) daughter’s weird random Facebook rant about shopping with Tax Payer’s money (via COCONUTS HONG KONG).

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But for me, one of the best things that has arisen and evolved from Occupy Central, is the emergence of a non-consumer focused youth re-appropriating important central spaces in their city for a non-consumer cause. Ie. Citizens of Hong Kong are taking back plazas, streets, and public spaces to actually use it as an open space for Civic Reasons… to discuss politics, beliefs, ideas, and concepts. This is where a creative consciousness can evolve from… which is not necessarily something that can be discovered in a classroom. (I realize a civic square or space where kids do nothing is rare in Hong Kong and normal in other cities, but because land value here is so high, and open spaces are scarce… it just doesnt exist in such central locations.)

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The second best thing to come out of all this is…for two weeks now, major areas of Hong Kong have been car and pollution free. Which means, one is able to walk on the city’s main avenues and boulevards… slowly, and from a vantage point never before experienced. Suddenly roads are open, and with camera in hand, Hong Kong’s most beautiful architecture (modern and colonial) can fully be appreciated with a slow stroll and a rare smog-free point of view.

Enjoy the photos kids!

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VISIT Hong Kong 

JJ.

Our Digital Nature, Interview With Miguel Chevalier in Hong Kong

Born in Mexico in 1959 and based in Paris, the highly celebrated and accomplished artist, Miguel Chevalier, arrives in Hong Kong via the folks at Puerta Roja, a gallery focused on bringing in Latin Art and objects to Asia.  The show, which will have its opening party tonight at The Space (where his works will be on exhibit for a little bit more than a week), will be the first venue in the city for Chevalier’s “intuitive virtual gardens”, a digital show on wall surfaces of seemingly organic lifeforms which grow out of algorithmic processes.

We chat briefly with the artists about his series known as Digital Paradise, part of the Fractal Flowers series of works… an evolution of his urban scale art pieces known as Other Natures, where digital representations of new plant forms were projected in very public spaces to react to various urban instigators (people, traffic, public transport, etc.)

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theWanderlister+: What was the climate like for a young Mexican aspiring artist in Europe in the early 80s, especially one who chooses to work in the digital medium? Was it a supportive environment?

Miguel Chevalier: The School of Fine Arts was oriented toward a more traditional curriculum, particularly in drawing, oil painting, and hand-carved sculpture.  This curriculum was totally out of phase with the 1970s arts scene.  

In 1980, only scientific laboratories and television networks had access to these computer tools.  Determined to create purely digital works as part and parcel of my artistic approach, I succeeded, little by little, in gaining the confidence of engineers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).  Thanks to them, I gained access at the Optics Center, from midnight to six in the morning, to some big computers, and with these computers I was able to develop my first digital works around the theme of nature and artifice with botanical greenhouses.

It wasn’t easy, for most artists were quite reticent and French art circles proved to be highly skeptical about these new technologies, whose importance had not yet been gauged. That is why, in this not very stimulating climate, I quite logically headed to the United States, where I was offered facilities more in line with my ambitions in the visual arts.

theW+:The digital medium helps us explore “time” through a progression of the form via algorithm. Did you understand the potentialities of the Digital medium from the get go?

MC: In 1983, I truly became aware that all modes of expression—painting, photography, and video—were going to be profoundly altered and overturned in the near future by these new technologies, whence my thirst to explore all their potentialities.  I also understood that these tools were going to be, for me, the basis for a structurally original approach whose stakes had to be grasped right away.  These software programs were a platform oriented toward three modes of artistic expression I had a desire to develop, namely: painting and digital technology; photography and digital technology; and video and digital technology.

These possibilities seemed unlimited and the transformations unending.  They represented a fabulous dictionary of forms and colors, on whose basis I could work on the image, modify it, and regenerate it.  These tools offered me what no other media could do—that is, create infinite variations and a meshing together of these different types of images.  

theW+: While digital art is dynamic, it still exists in 2D? What has your architectural in situ works done to overcome some of the spatial limitations of Digital work?

MC: To overcome some of the spatial limitations of digital work, I create immersive installations. Immersion is a central concept in my work because it gives the viewer a unique experience and enriched the world of emotiveness. The large virtual reality installations projected that I realized, like the quarry in Baux-de-Provence in 2012 for a-part Festival, with 70 videoprojectors, immersing the viewer in a space recreated. The viewer is surrounded by the image, isolated from any reference to the outside world. 

I am also very interested to develop multi-sensory space that stimulate all the senses (ophthalmoception, audioception, olfacoception). For this, I collaborate with other people such as composers, Jacopo Baboni Schilingi, Michel Redolfi, or perfume designer, Annick Menardo.

theW+: Some of your pieces you do get to take to the 3D world after they’ve evolved a bit within the 2D story…

MC: Through the 3D printer, digital art can exist in 3D. It’s a revolutionary process that allows one to create objects and that should drastically alter the world of sculpture, but also, ultimately, the world of industry and that of our everyday lives. You go from the virtual to the real almost directly and instantaneously. With Fractal Flowers, I can at any moment freeze their growth process (in 2D) and extract a 3D computer file that can then be “printed,” layer by layer, in resin or in sand, and soon in metal.

theW+: In Hong Kong, for a week, you will be showing a version of your Fractal Flowers project that have already been displayed in other cities indoors and outdoors. One can say that people in China and Asia have completely embraced living in the digital culture, where spending time on Smartphone is even more important than spending time outside amongst real nature… is this new embrace of the digital lifestyle something to be celebrated? Or is there a message in your work regarding how Digital worlds can start living with us?

MC: Yes, it’s a new digital lifestyle around us. Each time… the artists use the tools of their time. For me, the Art of the 21st Century MUST explore new territory. I use new technologies not to make an apology, but to be engaged with the world. Today the real and virtual intermingle constantly. Forms that arise from the computer in real time, translate itself to new forms of contemporary life.

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From Top To Bottom:

Portrait of the Artist via Miguel Chevalier / “Fractal Flowers Series in B&W (2008)” / “Fractal Flowers in Hologram (2013)” 30x30 cm / “Silene Luminaris sive Muflier de Borges (2014)” 45x45x45 cm 3D Sculpture using resin

VISIT Digital Paradise by Miguel Chevalier 09 OCT - 18 OCT 2014 / Puerta Roja at The Space . 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan / T:+852-28030332 / Free Admission

JJ.

Scene&Seen: Island Hopping at SPRING Workshop’s Biggest Group Show To Date, Curated by Para Site

I distinctly remember that it was a Saturday September 27th 2014, the day before the start of the big full blown Occupy Hong Kong protests near the Government centre in Admiralty district, which was actually already building up amongst the city’s college youth the week before, and isolated within those campuses before that big weekend. The mood at Spring Workshop that Saturday was generally optimistic with a sense of accomplishment among the participating artists in the group show, but not too over-joyous, as there was a real sense of trepidation due to the impending protests and sit-ins which filled the news that evening.

The show Spring Workshop launched that night, is their biggest group exhibition to date. Titled Islands Off The Shores Of Asia, the exhibit was curated by Para Site’s director, Cosmin Costinas and his partner and frequent collaborator, Inti Guerrero. The nature of the show’s subject matter, the concept of national identity as it relates to the clusters of contested islands in East Asia, and how everyone is connected to China, is unavoidably… political in nature. That said, hosting artists in a non-profit space and having a dialogue about art makes the show automatically political in nature. I just felt that there was a sense of perfect alignment, the way Hong Kong (a physical and ideological island within China) was about to take its first step towards a literal defining and identity making moment in its history, and here we were at Spring with works on display by 12 of the region’s brightest artists from various time periods, all discussing the same thing, that the act of building a national identity is dependant on what goes on beyond one’s own island. 

There’s a few work’s i’d love highlight, mainly (AGAIN) the work of performance artist, Ming Wong (in collaboration with Thomas Tsang / Dehow Projects.) For more on Wong’s installation you can click on my blog post from last week. The Singapore and Berlin based performance artist is seen here below on film exploring a possible confrontation with something new with his work titled, “Windows on the World 世界之窗 (2014)”.

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Another great piece, is a part of a bigger mixed-media installation which MAP Office will be unveiling in New York City with the Museum of Modern Art (next year?). 

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This elegant series of 8 vertical digital and pen panels titled, “Hong Kong is Land (2014)”, also works with sci-fi and narrative elements (it was placed adjacent to Ming Wong’s piece), but guised as a very detailed and in-depth cartographic documentation of Hong Kong’s dystopian future.

Photographs by Singaporean, Charles Lim, of every single sea buoy between Singapore and Hong Kong, line the middle area of the whole exhibit. 

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Each buoy is taken from two perspectives, one from Hong Kong and the other from Singapore. In his exhibit, there are two larger maps, exhibiting Singapore as an isolated island, and the negative space created when Singapore is deleted from the map. These works were placed next to a marine radio, where presumably we can only hear who is on the other end, but not communicate in return(???).

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A timely piece is Pak Sheung Cheun’s “Put ‘Hong Kong’ at the Center of Hong Kong (2004)”, a stainless steel sculpture of Hong Kong Island that was buried in the city’s geographical center. Cheung’s work is in response to the territory’s uncertain political future.

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Illustrative work was also a major presence in the show, like those of Howie Tsui’s dual wall murals, one in paint and acrylic and the other in smoke.  His “Retainers of Anarchy (Taohua Island) 2014” - above - and “Spectral Residue (2014)” -below- infuse pop culture and iconographic images in typically stylistic visual language to convey a sense of fear and horror within today’s context.

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Other illustrative works are visible in the 2006 manga interpretation of a 1929 novel by Takiji Kobayashi, titled Kanikosen. These drawings were placed on the entrance wall, which can be seen immediately after a reproduction of a Hokusai print, showing turbulent waves hitting rocking shores. Video work by James T. Hong, Julieta Randa, and Rosa Barba displayed largely on several surfaces in the exhibition, all touch upon memory, regret, and loss within a certain perceived territory.

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Love this work by titled “The Ocean (2014)” by Alvaro Barrios at the entrance/exit.

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Slightly better than this piece by him titled “The Sea of the Malvinas (2013)” about The Falklands.

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Here we see below Spring Workshop’s founder Mimi Brown with the super friendly and talented, Ming Wong. (Thanks for the invite, Mimi!)

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We congratulate and chat with the brains behind, MAP Office, Valerie Portefaix, plus meeting for the first time, talented architect partners, Charlotte Lafont Hugo and Gilles Vanderstocken, partners at BEAU Architecture who aided MAP Office with this particular series of works. Also accompanying me to the show, my buddy Jason.

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We said hi quickly to the wonderful, Inti Guerrero, curator of the exhibition.

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Nice to catch up again with SCAD HK’s Head of Interior Design Department, Cotter Christian, with his partner, Josh.

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One last piece to show off… this work by James Hong (which happened the next day.) Where supporters and fans were able to explore Hong Kong’s islands and playfully lay claim to them using one of several flags.

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VISIT Islands Off The Shores Of Asia Exhibition . Ends Dec 7, 2014 . Free Admission . Spring 3F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong . T: +852-21104370 / VISIT Para Site Art Space 

JJ.

theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: The Velodrome

One of the biggest trends (thankfully) that has arrived to Hong Kong within the last 4-5 years, is the embrace by a large percentage of the city’s population towards cycling. A visible sign of its trendy popularity, recreational cyclists are now everywhere to be seen in the city, but much more so at night when it’s so much safer to avoid the city’s smoggy roads and dangerous traffic.  Heck, I’m even surprised the cycling trend has caught on in the first place! Even on Facebook, the non-profit Hong Kong Cycling Alliance Group and Fan Pages attract close to 5,000 members and counting, aimed at forging a harmonious relationship between the city and the city’s bikers through safety education programmes and pro-urban cycling advocacy. 

In the suburbs of Tseung Kwan O, we find the newest sign of cycling’s popularity with this year’s unveiling of one of the the region’s first official indoor velodromes designed specifically for the competitive Hong Kong Cycling Team and all bike enthusiasts alike.

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The beautiful yet sculpturally iconic Hong Kong Velodrome designed by P&T Group and Ove Arup, aims to bring cycling’s competitive games to this city. Costing about HK$600 million to construct in total, the building is programmatically effective, hosting the main 250-metre cycling track, plus spaces for multi-purpose sporting use, a restaurant, and a pro-bicycle shop, while also being highly sustainable. Water harvesting, photovoltaic panels plus solar panels on the roof, generate heat and energy savings.

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The most distinctive feature of the Hong Kong Velodrome (my favorite feature actually) are the building’s elliptical form and ribbed roof apparently inspired by the profile of a bicycle helmet. The zig-zagging ridges of the building’s crown gives the form a sense of lightness and height meant to reduce the overall bulk of the massive new building.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome was full of life and activity, inside AND outside. The day I visited there were so many kids cycling around the piazza, a nice welcoming space for a city that is far from being bike-friendly.

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So amazing to see this kind of playful and helpful activity between kids.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome is surrounded by a network of pedestrian bridges, linking the building with the overall stadium adjacent and public pedestrian park pathways.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome was built for cycling competitions, but that day, it was all about badminton in the its multi-use/multi-purpose spaces.

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A beautiful red tiled iconic oval Customer Service Desk, welcomes all guests at arrival.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Hong Kong Velodrome was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn/Winter 2014’s Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Hong Kong Velodrome Park . 105 Po Hong Road, Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong . Hang Hau MTR Station Exit B . T: +852-28788621 / DESIGN P&T Group / STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

Ming Wong’s Latest Sci-Fi Extravaganza

I actually have a larger blog post coming up about Spring Workshop & Para Site Art Space’s newest and biggest group show which opened last weekend, titled Islands Off the Shores of Asia. This amazing show, is a rare treat for Hong Kong, and according to Spring’s founder, Mimi Brown, is their biggest endeavor, working with the largest number of artists Spring has ever put on. The show is curated by Para Site’s Director, Cosmin Costinas and Inti Guerrero, Associate Artistic Director-Curator of TEOR/etica, Costa Rica.

Before I get any further (which I will do in a later post about the show opening), I’d like to immediately upload these images we have just received from one of the artists participating in the exhibition. We thank the artist, Spring Workshop, and Para Site for letting us repost these images to you all of Singaporean / Berlin performance artist, Ming Wong’s sci-fi installation within the group show, titled Windows on the World 世界之窗 (2014), where he is dressed up as a heroine-cosmonaut exploring deep space.

Thematically, Islands Off the Shores of Asia, is looking at the current ideological turn towards nationalism and confrontation within the region… specifically the small uninhabited islands which are invisible on maps, but are now the object of territorial claims by every single nation in East Asia (and Southeast Asia, actually.) It’s within this thematic line in which Ming Wong (who usually works and prefers working in a dirt cheap budget… which he takes pride in) extracts inspiration from Tarkovsky’s Solaris  (1972), to formulate a cinematic experience of exploration and plot creation reflecting whatever is left of Chinese nation-building as it is tied to the conquering of land (and resources) at the edge of its perceived boundary.

This work is made possible in part by collaboration with Thomas Tsang of Dehow Projects.

More about this group show to come.

VISIT Ming Wong at Islands Off The Shores of Asia, a show by Spring Workshop and Para Site . Spring, 3F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong . T: +852-21104370 . TUE-SUN 12-6PM . Free Admission / ARTIST Ming Wong

JJ.