(Above: Feng Shui Master, Thierry Chow)
Those who know me personally know that my addiction to multi-tasking and juggling of several projects from both being a designer and blogger keeps me up on my toes so high that I’m basically flying on my own space ship. This is the reason why to some, I must look like some kind of “Space Cadet.” Additionally, some may also consider me “Spacey” because of my vocal (to my close friends) beliefs in the active exploration of a “non-physical”/ spiritual universe. What the!? You Ask? Let me explain.
This means that, although I’m personally not religious (spirituality too boxed up according to other people’s definition), I believe in a “metaphysical” order to the Universe, meaning that from my perspective on things, the Universe we see is a sliver of a portion and a by-product of what is actually REALLY out there. And just because one can’t materially and physically feel, see, and directly measure something, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This has been conceptually confirmed theoretically in science within the last 6 months.
Living in Hong Kong, has been an amazing contributor in helping me foster my interests in the esoteric study which among the many “spiritual” topics I’ve been interested in, is Feng Shui. Additionally, I’ve noticed that every successful or creative person I know in this city, even those who seemingly only believe in the worship of money, have at one point or another, seeked the counsel of a Chinese medicine doctor, a Feng-Shui master, or a neighborhood temple’s local clairvoyant. From the culture of “paper burning” as a way to honor the dead visibly on sidewalk streets, to the iconic towers of the city designed by the likes of Norman Foster and IM Pei, Feng Shui has had a presence almost everywhere, shaping this unique first world city.
Feng Shui is older than Christianity and dates back practices to around 6,000 years ago in China, and is essentially the study of the correlative relationship between each human being and their spatial universe, using maths to calculate your relational physical elements “fire, water, earth, metal”. What Feng Shui allows people (who believe in it) to do, is to manipulate the physical environment they live and work in, so that this environment can work on their favor from a more “balanced” standpoint, balancing luck in career, relationship, and health in an yearly basis in relation to each individual. For 2014, I’ve finally gained a new local Feng Shui expert (I used to rely on my hobbyist aunt from Texas) in the name of the very stylish, Thierry Chow.. With fellow spiritualist, writer, and social media personality, Johannes Pong (below right), we met up with Thierry, and her boyfriend, Canadian artist, Peter Yuill (below left), for a welcome dinner in the neighborhood to discuss more of her work as both a budding Feng Shui master and the converging of her practice with design work for a new generation of dual-language/dual-culture believers.
Thierry who has been featured locally with profiles in several magazines and websites like Sassy Hong Kong and Lifestyle Asia, has only just begun her practice. An apprentice of “legendary feng shui master”, Chow Hon Ming, her father, Thierry seeks to give modern solutions for people living in today’s world. She plans to soon design modern furniture and home items, which combine basic feng shui principles, that look and feel good from a design perspective. For the month of February, she even held events with her dad at the Little Square space on Square Street which is really fantastic for her new career because Little Square gets the cool young crowd, a completely different audience relative to your aunts and grandma, for example.
After dinner with Thierry and Peter, Thierry agreed to reorganize my home based on Feng Shui principles for 2014, as well as give me one of her special readings in which she assessed my whole life via that feng shui point of view. I’m here to tell you that Feng Shui needs not to be about old school crystals, weird statues, and balls with running water… in fact, as part of the modern incorporation and principals, it too can be stylish. Here are a few things I’ve had to do to integrate well spatially with 2014:
+ Money Corner
I had to get all “red” in the South Corner of my flat because this year my chances for wealth have doubled if this corner was “activated”. The aromatic diffuser, replaced fish bowls and tacky waterfall machines. Thank God for Thann Hong Kongat K11 and their diffusers! The red painting I sourced from Pinterest.com, plotted out in hi-resolution and framed myself. The charms (looking like a pot of Gold) are gifts from Mischa and John Hardy.
+ Lucky Wrist
Because I naturally have so much “fire”, Thierry advised me to wear less read, and more soothing colors to reflect colder elements like water and metal. Ie. Jewellery. Even though men have begun to wear more jewellery and wrist pieces as part of today’s Dandy-inspired looks, I’ve just preferred to wear watches. After asking readers on Twitter where I can source “silvers” and “golds”, my friend, Angus, told me that Kapok on St. Francis Yard sells the full range of Men’s Miansai bracelets. Any of them would work, but I decided to purchase the Rose Gold Cuff. It’s a solid brass base with a 24K Rose Gold plate. I’ve been MORE lucky ever since.
+ Green To Grow Relationships
My most favorite part about finding stuff for the home is filling it with plants. I was happy to buy more plants for the center portion of the flat, especially ones that looked a little more “floweri-sh”. Its best that one gets flowers for the relationship corner, however if the plant only looks like a flower, that can pass as well. Although I love flowers, they’re really a bit too high maintenance.
+ Red, Yet Earthly Work Chair
I was tempted to purchase this “Chinese” Style chair from Ikea, because according to Thierry, it’s best If my Western corner (My work corner) had more earthly elements. Also Red is a very lucky color for career, while the timber seat reflects more of the earthly vibe needed for this specific area, which is different for everyone. I ended up not getting the chair because it wasn’t available, and upon further research online, the chair had quality issues. I just wanted to point out, that solutions for Feng Shui can be stylish while also a fun challenge.
+ Socks for Lunar New Year
Despite the fact that I’m supposed to wear less red, universally, everyone is supposed to wear red socks to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The GAP in Hong Kong had these amazing knitted boot socks at 30% off. It’s a great excuse to buy great looking pair of socks, while sticking to this superstitious rules in a fun and stylish way.
I also wanted to point out for the month of February, BOOM Magazine released a special 2014 Feng Shui Almanac that totally looks old school. This is one of Thierry’s latest projects, and a way for her to make the practice be relevant to our generation and integrating her work with design. It’s quite cool. Some cool content on here is a guide on where you should stand at a bar in relation to your Chinese Horoscope and a guide to how to twerk.
(Twerking is not related to Feng Shui in anyway FYI.)
Also I spotted Peter’s work area he shares with Thierry. Thematically, he’s into metaphysics too.
Happy Go Lucky 2014 from Wanderlister.com!
Originally published on 05.Feb.2014 via INDESIGNLIVE HONG KONG
Born in 1929, LA-based architect, Frank Gehry, needs no introduction. Being relatively the most populist of all starchitects of his generation, Gehry is also easily the most touchy-feely of the bunch. A straightforward practitioner, his exploration of form is unabashedly sculptural without the theoretical mumbo jumbo that guides the fluid works of Zaha Hadid, Peter Eisenmann, and Thom Mayne of Morphosis, for example.
The architect-as-sculptor liberates Gehry to do what he does best, design form without constraints, which includes the computer. Those who have studied Gehry’s work know that his studio is filled with hundreds of physical models, and there’s the old legendary tale of his designing Bilbao from a cocktail napkin. But because this is architecture and his stuff needs to be built, his projects go through a process of rationalisation, which eventually has to work structurally, as well as respond to a site’s scale constraints.
Funny however that while his latest buildings and his non-habitable works like his corrugated cardboard furniture series – Easy Edges (1969-73), Experimental Edges (1979-82), and the Knoll Furniture Series (1989-92) – all focus on trying to make the thing kind of not look like the thing it is supposed to be, the Fish Lamp studies, of which the latest versions of them are currently on display at the Gagosian Gallery in Hong Kong, are exactly what he names them to be. The angle here is not really about the restraint of formal explorations as to what the fish can be, but really about the earlier brief that started it all, a request by Formica Corporation to Gehry to create something new with their plastic laminate product, ColorCore, in the early eighties. Gehry’s Formica product is a thin sheet of glossy plastic laminate, which when broken and ripped, reflect the scales of a fish when grouped together. The properties of the torn plastic gives the sculpture different levels of translucency, especially when the LED within the fish is turned on.
According to Gallerist Nadia Chan of Gagosian Hong Kong, these fish lamps, 33 new pieces in total and exhibited amongst four Gagosian galleries around the world, were all hand sketched by Gehry and are site specific to the floor plan. Eventually like all architectural works, his sketches are further studied on computer, and built in his California studio by hand. The hand-chipped fish scales are then individually glued piece by piece on a wire armature built based on the computer’s model.
Not a surprise, Gehry sells well, and the Hong Kong showing, tied with the Lunar New Year, is considered the grand finale of all four Gagosian shows. Hong Kong has the most new works of these Koi light sculptures, a lucky symbol by Chinese standards. An extra treat to Gehry fans is his inclusion of a big black alligator sculpture located at the very end of the visitor’s path.
The exhibition, ending on 1 March 2014, has already sold well for the gallery. A single fish or a school of them can be acquired making sure Gehry’s offerings easily adapt to Asian spaces. The architect originally planned to make a press appearance in Hong Kong for the show’s opening, but sources say, due to health and schedule, he was not able to make it to this side of the Pacific. Noting his age, this may very well be the last we see of new fish from Gehry at such a grand scale.
For those who want to see his fish on permanent exhibit, there is always the giant Fish Sculpture at Vila Olimpica at Barcelona (1989-92) and the Standing Glass Fish (1986) at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which will be situated at their sites pretty much forever.
VISIT Frank Gehry: Fish Lamps, Exhibition Ends 1 March 2014 . Gagosian Hong Kong . 7F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong
The other day I was hurrying to get to a meeting in Causeway Bay, when I a passed by this interesting window for the relatively newly established Hackett London flagship store across the street from Lee Gardens One. Against an unfortunately minimal ounce of hesitation on my end, and owing to the fact that walking into Hackett London’s Hong Kong store for the first time would most likely give me informative content for this style blog… I gingerly ventured in like some soldier of duty for all you readers.
I walked out with this jumper almost an hour later.
Thank you very much… 30% Off End of Season Sale. The choice was between that above, and this below.
A brand of the 80’s, Hackett is essentially a modern menswear lifestyle label focused on a style that is essentially and classically 100% English, yet with a contemporary twist.
The Hackett Shop in Hong Kong, big by any standards for this city with menswear and kids clothing in stock, is apparently a mere fraction of its globally iconic, Sloane Street flagship with lifestyle offerings way beyond what we have here.
Offerings in the UK include a spectacle range, grooming products, and barbers.
That said, men who visit the store in Hong Kong can enjoy personal and bespoke tailoring, and a bit of a drink in the bar.
I snooped on the Tailor at work.
As well as enjoyed laying out some key pieces on the adjacent fitting table.
Here are some key #JJStyle looks that the staff helped me put together. This one is me channeling classic Dr. Who.
And perhaps… my favorite look of the two, Dr. Who now.
The Hackett Hong Kong shop is split up among two levels, with different rooms catering to different looks. Some rooms are geared to formal looks, while others are geared to more casual sporty looks, and there’s a room for that safari travel look. There’s even a room for kids.
This room below is an homage to the English member’s only dining clubs.
Complete with British-centric books to peruse.
There’s also plenty of accessories of which to choose from.
And ties of a full range.
Made In England.
It sure is!
Hackett’s founders, Jeremy Hackett and Ashley Lloyd-Jennings’, portraits adorn the shop’s staircase walls.
I love this decor.
It’s good to have a bit of variety for menswear in this town don’t you think?
Here are some key looks for Spring-Summer 2014 via the label’s creative director, Michael Sondag (previously Tommy Hilfiger.) This season’s styles are inspired by the candid photographs of Terry O’Neill, the work of David Hockney (a recurring theme within most labels this season), and the things and objects one can find in the artist’s atelier.
Quite quirky and modern isn’t it?
WEAR Hackett London . GF, Eton Tower, 8 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong . +852-31010008
Because we were all free, and the opportunity came up to jet out of HK on Western and Chinese Valentine’s Day (ie. Lantern Festival) weekend, me and my friends went to Taipei for a last minute getaway trip care-of my pal, DJ Angus Wong’s, hospitality friends and family discount at the amazing W Taipei.
In total it was a 48 hour trip. We departed Friday night via Cathay Pacific and jumped on a plane to Taipei where we were immediately picked up by the W Hotel limo and whisked to the W Taipei less than an hour away from the airport for hotel check in… and then party immediately after. That first evening, Angus was hosting W Taipei’s 3rd Year Anniversary bash with W Singapore’s Mr. Has. When the W has these parties, they tend to fly in the big music guys from other W’s in the region. I’m a big fan of both Mr. Has and Angus so it was definitely a great way to start the evening and the weekend.
In terms of quality of design and quality of fit out, the W Taipei is a great urban hotel, that’s tasteful and cosy, doing great service to the W “lifestyle” which is pretty much party party party. I loved the public spaces, the heated pool, as well as the top floor bar/restaurant, Yen, with amazing views of the city.
The rooms are comfortable, and well layed out. All internal doors and walls can be hidden in the pocket, so the whole space can feel more open and more free. There’s a great spatial flow. If you make a reservation here, make sure to ask for a room with a window that faces the Taipei 101. It makes for a more dramatic effect.
The great thing about W Taipei is that the hotel is located right in the middle of an ever modernising CBD (Central Business District).
Right next door is the humongous Eslite Bookstore, the 24-hour bookstore with cool cafes and several design stores and independent fashion located within.
Also down the street from W and Eslite is the Taipei 101 Tower and mall where you can go up to check out all of Taipei from the top of the city. There aren’t too many skyscrapers in in Taipei so you can pretty much see everything around the tower 360 degrees.
But if you’re wanting your agenda away from malls as much as possible, then you can forego lux shopping for Taipei’s indie designer boutique lanes instead off Dunhua South Road.
My pals loved the Frapbois Shop… a teeny bopper destination shop which sold all things quirky from Frapbois, CdG, and Kenzo, to a name a few brands.
I loved this curated wasteland shop, called Artifacts… which is basically their version of Kapok or Colette, except less French.
You can drink Faro beer while you shop.
And check out the cool clientele.
It’s Taipei, so luxury indie goods are not cheap. That said I wasn’t really in a buying mood myself, so I settled for one of these key chains… guess which one I got?
There were some stores which sold awkward merchandise…
Like what’s that all about?
Of course, we also had to go to the original Din Tai Fung in Xinyi for some Xiao Long Bao. I’m not kidding… it’s certainly the best, and for some reason, tastes way different than the Hong Kong DTFs… much lighter and tastes more fresh.
We went on some random time… like 4pm, so the wait for a table was only about 15 minutes, compared to the 2 hours it takes to get a table during peak hours.
When in Taipei, make sure to have a sip of TenRen’s Tea, the best fresh hot and cold tea in the city. Lucky us in Hong Kong, we’ve got a location in Sheung Wan and another one in Causeway Bay’s Eslite location now. So refreshing.
If you want to walk off your Din Tai Fung, this TenRen’s location also on Xinyi Road, is your best bet. Also listed by Frommer’s as the location to go to.
A brisk walk down Xinyi Road and subsequently, Yongkang Street, will let you discover very cool old antique galleries, junk shops, and japanese cafes worth exploring with your camera.
There’s this random community oriented shop that sells its space to a different business owner everyday. The owner can sell their products AND hold interactive workshops about it.
I got so excited checking out their product of the day… some bamboo type contraption that you heat up on hot coal and hit your knees with… that i completely forgot to get the name of the shop. Nonetheless, if you just walk down on Xinyi Road, you can’t miss it. They even asked to take a photos of us, and were super excited to do so as well. Taiwanese people are all so super friendly.
Other cool things to see, a really amazing junks shop complex in a community space on 60 Yongkang Street. Really interesting selection of stores, each with their own unique offerings.
And if you’re lucky… you can meet this man who plays a mean two-string violin.
I just want to take the time to apologize to my buddy, artist Joao Vasco Paiva, from the bottom of my heart for not posting about his exhibition much sooner. Paiva’s latest and best show yet, titled Near and Elsewhere, for Edouard Malingue Gallery, launched in late November and lasted for almost two months. Of course I should have posted about it in December or January, when it was most helpful, but with the year’s end and me flying to Texas and back… there seemed to be no time. But Alas… wait no more, here it is… better late than… well later.
Portugal born Paiva, is an active art practitioner in Hong Kong. At a relatively young age, 29, Paiva moved head first right into producing art after graduating with distinction for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Media in 2008 in Hong Kong. Now his career is shooting straight up, being one of the Saamlung Gallery pioneers in collaboration with curator, Robin Peckham, in 2011-2012, and has since exhibited in museums and galleries in Hong Kong, Portugal, UK, Australia, Hungary, New York, and London. The Near and Elsewhere show at Edouard Malingue marks Paiva’s second solo showing, the first being hosted at the Goethe Institute in Hong Kong earlier last year.
The formal studies for Near and Elsewhere reflect Paiva’s own method of archiving Hong Kong’s public space and urban by-products. The objects in the exhibition is essentially a collection of neglected pieces of the everyday. From “boarded-up shop fronts camouflaged by a collage of ads, cast-off plexi strips, and mark-ridden fences used to prop severed wood”, Paiva looks at the unconscious development of form in common and useful space, as a way to underpin an exploration for new composition.
Untitled (from the Wanchai Market 3) 2013 . Oil on Stone Resin
A practice in displaying found object THIS IS NOT. Paiva’s obsession with documentation of Hong Kong, puts him in line pretty much with the likes of these “expat artists”, those born outside the city, but spend their lives reveling in the gloriousness of this alien world… the works of Architects, MAP Office, and photographer, Michael Wolf, come to mind immediately. Paiva’s collection of 2D stacks of planes in different shades of white within “The Brief Moment in Time” series, or the Untitled Speed Bumps or Untitled Styrofoam boxes in resin, pretty much scream Hong Kong as a signifier, however these are new items. While MAP Office draws and writes to deconstruct the sometimes absurd nature of the city as a form of documentation, and Michael Wolf, magnifies the residential building facade of Hong Kong as a seductive vertical veil, Paiva processes the neglected pieces as a way to properly validate their formal existence, either by re sculpturing them exactly as they were but with new medium, or giving them a painted and glossy finish to really accentuate their uniqueness… as with the Untitled Lumberyard pieces.
They may not be objects of desire in a traditional sense, but Paiva makes a good case that all objects are in fact desirable, because none would have been crafted or invented without its usefulness, of which all these pieces at one point in their lifetime in Hong Kong… were very useful.
Untitled (from the Wanchai Market 1) 2013 . Oil on Stone Resin
Untitled (from the Wanchai Market 2) 2013 . Oil on Stone Resin
Untitled (Corner) 2013 . Dental Stone Gypsum
From a Brief Moment In Time Series 2013 . Oil in Wooden Board
Friends and Supporters of Joao Vasco Paiva. Monocle editor, Aisha Spiers and her partner Jared.
Artist, Jin Meyerson, and Thyvane’s Roger Ouk.
My favorite piece… Untitled (Lumberyard Array 2) 2013 . Latex on Wood, with Steel Base.
Apparently some of the forms where photographed and imported into Sketch Up and rationalized and made new… it’s really fascinating how Paiva imports the found object, develops it, and re exports it as the art.
Big show, big sign. Congrats Joao!
MORE INFORMATION Joao Vasco Paiva’s Near and Elsewhere for Edouard Malingue Gallery