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.
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.
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.
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.
Seen&Scene: Joao Vasco Paiva Processes Hong Kong, One Neglected Object at a Time
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.
DESIGN NOTES: HK's East Kowloon By Design, What To See
Due to a really slow work month, me and my designers took one afternoon off to check out this year’s architectural pavilions on exhibit for the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (UABB) in Hong Kong. For those of you who have lived in Hong Kong for a while, and are a bit confused, the “Bi-City” is a politically correct way to say Hong Kong and Shenzhen without having to worry which city to name first in the official title.
I really wish they would just stick with one brand, one logo, one website, or at least have each a clear web link for information between the two. The HK site has a small tiny logo in the lower left hand side which links to the SZ programme (but the logo looks like sponsor…not actually part of the programme). The SZ site has no link back to Hong Kong. That said once you’ve gone past the initial confusion and realize it’s both the same biennale, you have until February 28 to spend half a day on the Hong Kong showing, and a full day on the Shenzhen showing.
I have yet to visit the Shenzhen arm of the exhibition, but at least me and my designers were able to spend a couple of hours checking out the Hong Kong exhibits which are “bi-harbour”, meaning the sites for the shows are both on the Kowloon side of the Harbour in Kwun Tong, and the Hong Kong side in North Point/Fortress Hill.
The Kwun Tong site is fascinating. For those visitors who only know Hong Kong via the glittering towers of Central or the hilly terrain of Lantau, Kwun Tong was once one of Hong Kong’s most highly industrial areas centered around the salt trade amongst other things.
The neighborhood is currently undergoing an kind of development renaissance since the government will be putting in place an MTR connection here, in part to serve the newly opened Kai Tak Cruise Terminal designed by Foster + Partners on a strip of site that was once the Kai Tak Airport, which is parallel to the Kwun Tong Promenade… the site of the UABB. Of course with any development, controversy always follows, and the UABB, a bi-annual event that seeks to question the urbanistic growth between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, was a target of activists who wanted to focus on the the Government’s pro-development schemes of the Kwun Tong neighborhood. Even some of the event organisers and partners were not allowed into the programme’s opening day of which Chief Executive, CY Leung was in attendance.
That said, here are some highlight photographs* from the Hong Kong exhibit that you should take note of:
+ EKEO (Energizing Kowloon East Office) Hong Kong Head Office Temporary Building / Designed by Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) and the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD)
The most interesting part about this is actually the temporary building which houses the exhibition, designed by the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD). The building was completed in 6 months, taking 3 months for design, and 3 months for construction. Housing 20 staff members, the building used recycled freight containers for a modular scheme, amongst utilisation of raw bamboo, low flow water technology, daylight sensors, recycled aggregates to help lower its carbon footprint overall.
+ House of Red . House of Blue / Designed by Kacey Wong
Kacey Wong’s introverted House of Red . House of Blue pavilion is an open air library cocooned in a croissant-like pavilion made of burnt wood and chopped down tree trunks. The books in the pavilion set amongst the seats and the trunks of trees, all focus on the subject on Hong Kong and China’s built environment and building culture.
+ Make Out City / Designed by Architectkidd, CHAT, Studiomake, Thingsmatter
Make Out City is an interesting formal work designed by Bangkok designers, Architectkidd, CHAT, Studiomake, and Thingsmatter. All the pieces for this lookout platform with two seats were fabricated by hand in Bangkok and shipped to Hong Kong. According to the designers, the work “illustrates the hybridized manner in which (they) like to fabricate things. It is a long, skinny lookout platform (which allows) visitors to climb out and gaze out onto the water.” Additionally they wanted to point out that the piece is made of four separate components; stair, structure, platform, and periscope. Which I suppose is why it takes four designers to design the whole thing?
+ Kwun Tong Promenade Stage 1 / Designed by Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) and the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD)
Above, Herzog & de Meuron’s winning M+ Building Competition.
The M+ Museum, the main cultural anchor of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), is slated to open in 2017. However, prior to its launch, the museum and its curatorial teams have been busy spending the last several months giving form to its vision as a “museum of visual culture” via a continuous effort on the building of its works – local, regional, and global. Prior to the unveiling of the museum’s Architecture Collection at ArtisTree last week, the museum so far has had a jump start with the news of its Sigg Collectionthanks to a sizeable donation of over 1,500 pieces by Swiss collector, Uli Sigg, the world’s largest universally recognised private collector of Chinese contemporary art from the 1970’s to present.
Below, Utopic constructs by Urbanus, Steven Holl, and MAD Architects.
Excluding the Sigg Collection, M+ has since recently acquired around 800 works to date, of which 80 per cent are by local artists and designers. A percentage of this is of course the Architecture collection, the first and only one of its kind in Asia, consisting of models and drawings of realised and unrealised architectural and urban projects as it relates to Hong Kong and China, including all shortlisted entries to the actual design of M+ itself. The show, part of the museum’s “Mobile M+”series of exhibitions allow Hong Kong’s citizens to engage with the museum’s curated programmes in the people’s turf (site specific shows all over town), and is certainly more than a peek of things to come. This allows curator, Aric Chen, and Assistant Curator, Shirley Surya, to present their vision of what it means to house a permanent collection of Architecture as it relates to visual culture and the Hong Kong context.
Above, M+ Building Design entries by Shigeru Ban and Renzo Piano, respectively.
As of now, the vision for the exhibition – excluding the M+ competition collection – is posited via five lenses: Place Making (Architecture within locality), Crossed Transfers (Architectural form studies beyond cultural borders), Urban Laboratory (manifested urban strategies as it relates to Hong Kong), Critical Futures (grand Utopic ideals), and Digital Reality (conceptualisation of space via Computer-aided Design). I’m pretty sure the narratives will continue to evolve even beyond the Museum’s actual opening, as new issues and frameworks present themselves from now until then. However as it is presented at this moment, the chapters work well at indexing a varied collection, defined by multiple mediums.
Above, brick work by Jiakun Architects.
Scale models of stand-alone buildings from designers Ai Wei Wei, Steven Holl, and William Lim of CL3 are placed adjacent to full sized brick works via Jiakun Architects’ “Rebirth Brick” project for the survivors of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Original courtyard drawings by modernist master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are exhibited adjacent to studies of courtyards by Jackson Wong Chack Sang, who founded Wong & Ouyang. Of course models of completed typical Hong Kong residential towers by Rocco Design Architects and unbuilt dream towers by MAD are expected of architecture shows, but it’s the critical studies by the likes of artists such as MAP Office, anothermountainman, and Cao Fei, that really give us a full picture of the affect of Hong Kong and China’s building culture.
Below, Photographs by anothermountainman.
MAD Office’s Laurent Gutierrez and Valerie Portefaix question the grim practice of luxury tower design as subservient to the developer’s marketing message, usually as muddled euro-centric desires of the nouveau riche. Anothermountainman’s large-scale photographic prints reframe China and Taiwan’s uncompleted development dreams. Perhaps the best work that spoke to me in the whole collection is the one by artist Cao Fei, titled “The Birth of RMB City (2007)”, a video simulation of a virtual city comprising an amalgamation of architectures from China, Macau, and Hong Kong, built and destroyed within the online world of Second Life. I call it a critique of a building frenzy led by money; others would define it as an introspective work of the built environment.
Below, Cao Fei’s “RMB CIty” Video Installation and works by MAP Office.
According to curator Aric Chen, “collecting architecture requires both humility and judgment… (with) a constant awareness that what and how a museum collects can have an impact on architectural practice itself.” The impact of such a collection to the building industry will only be clear several years from now, however with so much being torn down and built in China and Hong Kong these days, a building archive such as this one is necessary if only to define an architectural identity before it disappears completely to yet another one of the region’s bullet speed urban redevelopment projects.
VISIT Mobile M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection will be held from 10 Jan – 9 Feb 2014. Opens daily from 10am – 8pm. ArtisTree, 1F Cornwall House, Taikoo Place, Island East, Hong Kong.
My experiences in Wanchai pretty much defined my first few years’ experiences in Hong Kong as a whole. You see, Wanchai was the location of the first design office that I worked in, and it’s also the neighborhood where I moved into 9 years ago when arriving to this city. No, I’m not talking about “Suzie Wong’s” red-light Wanchai special, I’m talking about “SOJO”, the area South of Johnston Road defined by cool cafes, and destination bars, restaurants, design stores, with a sprinkling of unique fashion shops, designer furniture store, and art galleries.
Below, Brunch at Stone Nullah Tavern.
What defines SOJO as different from today’s Sheung Wan, is that SOJO is still pretty much an up-and-coming neighborhood, with more affordable rent, less expats than Central, and still a bit flexible for designers to set up a home or a shop front. Additionally Wanchai’s SOJO district has a much bigger stake of the city area than Sheung Wan, with various blocks to explore off Queen’s Road East and Johnston Road for style savvy city-trekkers like me.
If I wanted to explore Wanchai’s SOJO on foot, I’d start my journey getting off the A3 Exit at the Wanchai MTR, explore the markets across the street on Wan Chai Road, while finding my way up to Queen’s Road to explore architectures that range from Old Heritage like the Old Wanchai Market or the Blue House, to 80’s modern, to completely contemporary buildings, like the Hotel Indigo by Aedas and the Opus by Frank Gehry, which can be seen from the street.
Other side streets off Queen’s Road East not to be missed, the future re-development of Lee Tung Street / Wedding Card Street as a pedestrian only shopping haven, Ship Street the location of the famous 22 Ships Restaurant by Jason Atherton, and St. Francis Street which connects to Moon, Star, and Sun Streets, where the Monocle Magazine Bureau and Kapok Shops are located.
Below, late night drinks at Tai Lung Fung
That said for my weekend stay last month, I started my everyday exploration at the Hotel Indigo, where the team there graciously invited me to stay for two nights in exchange for a blog post about them and the surrounding neighborhood. Writing about design and boutique hotels, are right up my alley… pun intended.
Because I’ve written so much about Ship Street and Star Streets on this blog, I thought that the stay at Hotel Indigo would be a great opportunity for me to really explore everything on the Eastern end of SOJO. Historical buildings not to be missed include the Old Wan Chai Post Office constructed in 1912, and now an Environmental Resource Centre. Of course it is hard to miss the Blue House on Stone Nullah Lane, for its strikingly iconic blue painted façade. The Blue House and the adjacent Yellow House behind it are currently being renovated to become a “living museum” which should be open in a few more years. Up the road is the beautiful Pak Kai Temple, worth a visit. The Old Wanchai Market from the 1930s has been converted into a residential tower podium which some may find garish, while others may just appreciate for the fact that it was never torn down at all.
Hotel Indigo was a real pleasant surprise, in that the hotel was playful without being overtly theatrical like most boutique hotels in Asia. The interior design moments in each of the spaces within the tower’s 29 floors were sensual without it being too dark or trendy-try-hard. The best part of the hotel, thank God, are its 138 rooms, which generally come in two tiers, a studio type suite, or a 1-Bedroom + Living Room Grande suite.
Two weeks ago, I decided to give myself a break and purchased a last minute ticket online to fly back for my annual family Christmas get together in Fort Worth, Texas (aka “The Lonestar State”)… my hometown.
As expected with most all-American (relatively) mid-sized towns like Fort Worth, everything is all spread out. In Texas we call this spread a “sprawl”, the opposite of Hong Kong density.
Texas is SPRAWLING.
Below and Above, The Kimbell Museum designed by Louis Khan.
For this brief non-Asia specific blog post, I wanted to present my photos of Texan “sprawl” as it relates to some of Fort Worth’s most unique cultural treasures, a group of world class museums which emerge lightly like an oasis on a sea of a very flat wintery beige landscape.
First off, I find the sheer existence of these museums, with their breathtaking and unique collections set… in the middle of Fort Worth’s vast flat grassland really oddly fascinating. How did these clusters of museums get built on this site… amongst the flatness, the occasional taco stand, the gas station, and some 1950’s post-war reconstruction government edifices, in the first place?!
Well thanks to Oil Money and a very philanthropic minded Oil Family (the Bass Family), all these museums stand here today. That said, I’m thankful to have had such an access to the Kimbell Art Museum’s rare permanent collections at such formative years. The Kimbell houses a highly curated and select collection of important works by old-world masters such as, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, El Greco, Velazquez, in an intimate building designed by none other than a master, Louis Kahn. It’s no surprise that I ended up following a creative career path with that kind of cultural influence in my own back yard.
As I recently walked in and around Kahn’s introverted yet timeless building most notable for its series of barrel-vaulted roofs, I was immediately transported back to all those moments when my relationship with art and architecture first bloomed right there in that very museum.
Above, the Kimbell Extension by Renzo Piano.
Other buildings I visited in the museum complex; the newly opened glass roof extension to The Kimbell, by Italian architect, Renzo Piano. Across the street, and about twice the size of the Kahn’s Kimbell, at two full stories, my other favorite; The Modern, by Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, with a collection of contemporary masterpieces.
Below, The Modern by Tadao Ando.
Both buildings by Piano and Ando, with their repetitive roof forms, also sit lightly on a generally flat site just like The Kimbell. Both designs are strongly influenced by Khan’s Kimbell planning, the Kimbell being at the core of Fort Worth’s museum complex, tying three beautiful modern buildings together.
Lucky Forth Worth.
I just want to add that before I flew to Texas, I was graciously gifted one of only 74 limited edition travel satchels… a special red and blue colored Seventy Eight Percent ”Dimitri”, designed by an amazing person, Hong Kong based- Israeli designer, Shai Levy, a creative I covered on this blog several times before.
What makes the bag special is that it is Seventy Eight Percent’s first collaborative bag ever, this one with noted New York accessories designer, Eddie Borgo, a jewellery wunderkid who is known for his luxuriously sleek-yet-punk triangular and pyramid shaped motifs. This bag’s print of “interlocking triangles” is definitely a great example of that formal obsession with the triangle…. my favorite shape.
Below, Bag by Seventy Eight Percent x Eddie Borgo, Levi’s Jeans, Club Monaco Blazer, Watch by Daniel Wellington, shirt by J.Crew, Shoes by Ralph Lauren.
The “Dimitri” Eddie Borgo bag was a perfect travel companion to the States for me. I was able to fit everything in this stress-free and stylish lightweight carry-all… my SLR camera, sunglasses, passport, travel documents, wallet, iPad, keys, diary, and smartphone. With everything that I placed inside, it was still a surprisingly light carry.
Material of the leather is vegetable tanned (great for the environment), and the canvas a Japanese cotton.
The limited edition Eddie Borgo bag is available now at Lane CrawfordHong Kong (IFC, Harbour City, Times Square Causeway Bay) and Lane Crawford online and comes in Beige and Brown. Another collaborative line is with Brooklyn-based artist, Julia Chiang, available in all Blue and Beige and Green. A portion of the proceeds of the collaborative bags go to the Changing Lives Foundation, a foundation focused on reaching out to underprivileged youngsters in Hong Kong and Mainland.
And because it’s red and blue, it was THE perfect travel accessory for a trip to the U.S.of.A! It was good to be back, albeit briefly.
Have Books, Will Travel. Discover New Cities in 2014 With These Top Travel Guides
From Left to right; it’s a Mexican Cathedral in Panay Philippines, Villa Savoye in Poissy by Le Corbusier, The Gates in Central Park by artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, a Harajuku Girl in Tokyo, and lastly the Santa Maria Dela Pace, my favorite church in Rome.
There’s just something about traveling. I LOVE TO TRAVEL. My blog was almost called “The Wanderluster” or “The Wanderlust” if it wasn’t for it being such a popular if not albeit appropriately cliche and overused word to label almost any travel/style based blog and/or Pinterest mood board these days. IE. The URL was already taken. So, I turned the “u” with an “i” on the title, and as they say… the rest was social media history!
As you can see at the photo collage above, when I travel, I always look out for Architecture old and new, fashion trends I see on the street, and unique exhibitions, both indoor and outdoor. Traveling allows me to break with life’s daily monotony, and I always rely on Traveling to remind me that life is lived in different ways by different people, and their cultures and societal norms can help inform a new perspective, which is definitely something I can utilize in my design work and lifestyle choices.
One of my biggest 2014 resolutions, is to attempt to visit new places i’ve never been in Asia, as well as continue to discover the new in my city, Hong Kong, and in the surrounding Pearl River Delta region. To help me with this resolution, I’ve narrowed down four books to help me with this whole discovery.
Not only are these books really beautiful graphically and to the touch (which totally speaks to my design-oriented sensibilities), the four titles also allow me to plan travel itineraries via 4 unique time scales; lifestyle pampering for just a moment, day long architectural walks in my city, 2-day regional jaunts, and long weekend adventures throughout Asia. By the end of the year, i’ll let you know how it all turned out i’m sure.
+ 0-6HOURS / Wallpaper* City Guides Hong Kong 2014
To be honest in the age of the internet, I almost completely forgot about Wallpaper* City Guides. While there was a time that I relied on these guides solely to help me anchor my urban trips, I’ve found them less useful over the years, especially when there are blogs (like mine) that tell you what’s the cool in a city that continually evolves as much as Hong Kong does.
As my final end-of-2013 wrap-up-post before the blog sees new stories for 2014, I’d like to revisit 10 of our most read post from last year. These posts are not necessarily my most favorite, or the ones i’m in love with (heck the ones I loved the most turned out to be the least read…so who knows).
Anyway what this list successfully shows is a skimmed overview of the trends and events that got people interested on Wanderlister.com. Highlights include Monocle Magazine’s big Hong Kong and APAC tour, Art Basel’s inaugural Asian branded fair, the emergence of proudly made Hong Kong labels like PYE, the popularity of public inflatable Art, and the turn to Southeast Asian and Filipino cuisine in the city.
Anyway, 2013 was so so cool in so many ways, hope 2014 is even better!
13 FEB 25 - The Monocle Shop in Hong Kong recently entertained friends and family of Monocle Magazine via a block party, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Tyler Brule, Advertising Director, Anders Braso, and Hong Kong’s newest bureau chief,Aisha Speirs, as part of their big APAC push.
13 MAY 19 - Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK) arrives for the first time in our great city with tons of buzz. For those who are new to all this, all you need to know that this art fair in Hong Kong is the 3rd largest art fair in the world, third only to Art Basel in Basel and Art Basel in Miami. Before we get further into the fair, so much is happening around the city with “OFF-Basel” (Official and Unofficial) Activities in the build up to opening night.
13 MAY 04 - Bangkok is quite good with super “Designed” Wallpaper*-esque nightlife concepts and offerings and has been since the emergence of “IT” joints like Bed Supper Club, FACE Bar, and Fallabella in the last decade. While those bars are a memory of what they once were, making waves as of late are two new hotspots located high above the city with, SCARLETT, perfect for those wanting a sunset with a scene, and a new “speakeasy” very low underground, at the new/old Maggie Choo’s, for those wanting a bit of naughty privacy.
Eat, Shop, and Be Merry... The Last #Wanderlist Of The Year
It’s countdown to Christmas, and it’s the second to last Sunday before the new year, 2014. I’ve had a minor cold for the last two days, which has finally gotten a tad better. With a bright sun shining through the window, I couldn’t wait to get out into Hong Kong to have a mid-morning family brunch somewhere new… and by family, I mean my sister, Bernadette, and my gal pal, Louise.
The offerings for dining destinations in the city multiply each month. Not knowing which new place to try, Louise definitely knew where we should at least be headed… the corner of Upper Station Street and Tai Ping Shan Streets in Sheung Wan where not one, but three new cafe/bistros have just opened up; namely the Upper Modern Bistro by Michelin rated chef, Philippe Orrico, ANTIPODEAN Cafe an all around coffee house, and lastly, NOSH Tai Ping Shan, a very airy and open western eatery on the top end of the street. We finally settled at NOSH because a friend of mine, Eugene, is helping run the place and the crisp cool weather today was perfect for seating at the cafe’s window bar table. I sat on the outside, while Bernadette and Louise sat on the inside.
For Hong Kong, with increasingly strict outdoor street seating laws, but very tight spaces for restaurant planning flexibilities, some restaurants are starting to get really smart about using the establishment’s facade edges to try to place in more seats. It’s al fresco, but just not “all the way” alfresco.
Scene&Seen: Pop Ups and Markets, Oh My! Finding The Perfect Gifts From HK's Best Designers
Before this year, 2013, comes to a full close, I would like to say Thanks and give some Gratitude to the faces and creatives who inspire me on a week to week basis. It’s because of them that theWanderlister+ Blog exists. Hong Kong is obviously an entrepreneurial city, but it’s also city known for a people who multi-task, can easily create and make what they want to do, formulate networks that can help, and make something out of nothing. If you’ve got a “will”, there are definitely multiple routes in the city to get to where you want and need to be. This blog not only reflects my real passion about all things style and design in Hong Kong, but it’s also gone to help other people discover the best and the coolest in all things, design, art, architecture, interiors, fashion, and style, and the people and friends who make that happen from my perspective. Not only in this city, but other cities in the Asian Region as well.
So Thank You creative people of Hong Kong! :)
Speaking of creative people, it’s Christmas time once again. And gift giving season is in full force this week, until next week when people all over the city will be celebrating Christmas with their loved ones. All the best independent fashion brands have in some way or another, hosted amazing pop-up events to make sure you keep your eye on unique offerings from them over the typical goods available at the mall! After exhaustingly visiting my share of them within the last few weeks, let me #Wanderlist for you the best of the best. Starting with…
+ TANGRAM FOR GOODS OF DESIRE / Unisex Fashion
Just in the nick of time, Tangram collaborated with Goods of Desire for an extremely successful capsule collection called, Tangram for Goods of Desire. The collection, which sold quite rapidly on its opening night, is only available in the iconic Hollywood Road location, taking up almost all the Ground Floor Space, as a uniquely branded pop-up store-in-store concept. As seen in my previous post of the collection’s lookbook, the style is very casual, youthful, and playful, and there are some pieces, like the silk coat i’m wearing above, that great for guys as well. I was debating on whether to get the silk one, or the one that’s made of luxurious wool… and I ended up purchasing the silk one and am still quite happy about my choice.
However the brains behind G.O.D., Douglas and Ben, did end up surprising me this week with the wool coat anyway.
DESIGN NOTES: Sou Fujimoto at BODW 2014, Discovery Through Designing "IN-Between"
I didn’t get to see and visit much of BODW Business of Design Week 2013 this year, however, the one talk I DID get to see was the one I wanted to see from when I first heard about the speaker lineup, and that was the talk of architect, Sou Fujimoto. Fujimoto, who visited us in Hong Kong from Tokyo, is currently riding high off of his latest work, the much celebrated pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London’s historically iconic Kensington Gardens. Not only did I get to listen to this designer’s very engaging talk, I also had a chance to meet with him one-on-one (really briefly) before he went on stage. He was nice, friendly, and a generally pleasant guy to have a chat with, and between meeting him personally and listening to his talk, this relatively young Architect (born in 1971) who Toyo Ito just named is Japan’s “next big thing” at his press conference at BODW, was in rare position, even amongst other architects… to play.
The issues he was most concerned about, as stated in his visual presentation, was to play in a state in which a project exists; “between architecture and landscape”, “between furniture and architecture”, “between inside and outside”, and of course as in the case of the Serpentine Pavilion… “Between nature and architecture”.
Ahh the beauty of ambiguity which the best architects find themselves choreographed in.
As a corporate architect I sat watching the talk in complete envy of Fujimoto’s position and creative power. But like all “Starchitects”, Fujimoto hasn’t rushed his career to build the biggest or wildest things, but instead has taken the time to pick and choose projects which enabled him to articulate the obsession with “in-betweeness” as an opportunity to play at white forms in repetition.
An “MC Escher”esque cafe in Taiwan with stairs over stairs over stairs… (I’ll take the ground floor table please.)
A building made of arches, over arches, over arches, for a competition in the Middle East…
The stacked landscape of ramps over ramps for an extension building to the Kunsthalle Bielefeld.
This crazy invisible house in Japan made with transparent boxes stacked over other boxes…
And other houses he designed which pretty much rely on stacking same forms over same forms…
And check out his house-as-a-column design… the form of the house being defined by floor slabs stacked on other floor slabs… an idea of the programmable column which was derived from his study of the Sendai Mediatheque project by his idol, Toyo Ito… funny that.
That said. It’s really not surprising that his Serpentine Pavilion from this summer, looks like this.
Which I believe, may be the best offering yet for Serpentine Gallery… and between any gallery and architect for that matter! Fujimoto’s ambiguous position about architecture, in turn makes him naturally ambiguous to form making. In the age where most architects we know are just following the Chinese Yuan wherever it leads them (usually to an “iconic” form built cheaply)… its nice to know that there are still architects out there who are unafraid to step back and let the process of form-making take the lead. The Serpentine Pavilion is a product of process of a career based on the study of repetitive language, and questioning the validity of pre-conceived formal expressions. The grid in his work is a natural bi-product of his being Japanese (hello Ando and his Tatami geometries!) and the cheekiness is the the natural assimilation of Dutch upside down pragmaticism, which in a way has affected how a certain generation of architects have begun to tackle their projects post Delirious, New York by Rem Koolhaas.
Anyway i’m going on way too long on this post. But the point is, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and listening to Sou Fujimoto, and I thank BODW Business of Design Week for the opportunity. He lives on his “cloud” and so do most successful architects, and of course they need to be on that cloud or else why would you pay them? To regurgitate what already exists? Actually… most Developers do… but that’s besides the point. Fujimoto is clearly a visionary and a design vanguard that the profession needs at this stage. Let Zaha build her stadiums, and while she does that, Fujimoto can build his pavilions and toilets in the garden… and teach all of us new things in the process.
Who knew that there are still new and fresh ideas out there? Especially in the realm of Architecture.
Chatting with Toyo Ito… where he said that “Sou Fujimoto is the next big thing in Japanese Architecture.”
*FYI Clicking on some of the photos in this post will take you to the original source page.
Design Notes: Updates on Central Police Station (CPS) by Herzog & de Meuron
I stumbled upon these two renderings of the CPS Central Police Station the other day on the ARUP website. What’s notable about these images is that 1) they’re not cloudy and abstract like the previous official images of the project and 2) they show the building massing performance OUTSIDE the CPS property and gives us a good example of how the iconic building may be perceived from afar. What I also appreciate about the building is that the facade and skin system has been refined and it looks quite interesting. I do have to say that its Swiss designers, Herzog & de Meuron’s earlier works show a real interest not only in tactile materiality in their facade systems, but also in the color, hue, and texture, their materials create as a way to contextualize the object within the existing environment. Earlier works play with glass, stone, and use of rougher copper or CORten hues. The latest two projects for Hong Kong, the CPS and now M+, really do play it safe with its use of white. Even the first scheme for CPS (the bamboo scaffolding homage) was green steel. Is this a choice by the architects to play it safe as a result of Hong Kong’s extremely prickly and conservative building approvals environment? Who knows. Hope to get more information about the Jockey Club’s CPS project in the next few months… and who the possible tenant running the heritage & contemporary art museum will be.
Another shop we love that’s made a crossing over (ie. crossing the Harbour into Kowloon), is Kapok, sending over their Kapok TOOLS brand into prime shopping mall property into Harbour City’s Ocean Terminal. (I consider the K11 branch a pop up). This shop makes Kapok’s 7th store (YES 7!) and 8 if you count the pop up in Paris just this past month. With four in Hong Kong, and three in Singapore, and one online shop, it’s only a matter of time whether shop curator and propietor, Arnault Castel, will ever start a label of his own. He has enough “K”lout.
Speaking of labels, there are a few Kapok-monogrammed items, like his collaboration with swimwear darlings, TIMO, and his “K” caps above.
Also, Arnault, start a music label and you’re all set to go!
From choice vintage Rolexes on consignment to proper jackets, suits, trousers, Made-in-USA shirts, and down to special necessary sartorial details like pocket squares and socks straight from Japan, Club Monaco’s The Men’s Shop has expanded to a location close to you. What WAS supposed to be a 10-month long test Pop-Up on St. Frances Yard in Hong Kong, the Men’s Shop concept proved so successful, that it’s practically rolled out in every new Club Monaco fit out in major cities.
For those who follow me on Instagram, you know I love me some Club Monaco… it’s classic, it’s modern, it’s casual, well made, and best of all, non-pretentious… everything that I love about dressing well. And as you know I helped spread the message when Club Monaco launched their Men’s Shop concept here in Hong Kong last year (which I still shop in), so it was quite a surprise to discover the concept in Harbour City close to where I work.
I’ve also seen some photographs of the latest New York fit outs which incorporate the Strand bookstore which I think is pretty fresh. Anyway, just in time for the Holidays when you have to dress your best, there’s definitely a space for you at Club Monaco’s The Men’s Shop.
I’m a big fan of timber wall finishes, slate tiles, and persian rugs. Now where’s the whisky?
WEAR Club Monaco The Men’s Shop . Shop 2336, LVL 2, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui . T: +852-21185647
Based on my last post, as you can tell, most people brought their style to the West Kowloon Cultural District last weekend at the 2013 Clockenflap Music & Arts Festival. (Which I embarrassingly called “2014” in that post for a whole week, why? Who knows… anyway moving on.)
Here are my Top 3 Best of Style trends I spotted for guys last weekend. Enjoy!
+ MOVEABLE FEAST / Pulled Pork Sandwich 60HKD
Indeed, the most stylish thing I spotted for any guy at the festival is not a fashion accessory, but this damn sexy Pulled Pork Sandwich from Moveable Feast. Growing up in Texas, I was always a step away from amazing Pulled Pork, Barbecue Sauce, Coleslaw, and Buttermilk Bread… someone had the bright idea to slop all those together and serve them at Clockenflap. And best yet, I spotted them everywhere, on guys dressed super stylish, like our Gentleman, Ken, posing above with the sandwich in J.Crew and a very cool pair of New Balance kicks. The last sexy thing about a guy anyone wants to see, is a guy on a diet. Everyone prefers to hang out with stylish guys who eats anything he wants… and sensibly. Carry around Pulled Pork Sandwich! Eat well! Feel well! Look Well!
Okay guys, I give up. I can’t seem to find any more information about this bag online. However, it is VANS, and the color… the big size… the square style… the single flap detail with the leather notch… it’s all really spot on. The best part is that the guy whose wearing it, wears it perfectly with a single v-neck white-T, jeans cuffed just right, and simple leather shoes to match… meaning with a bag like that, it’s the bag that’s meant to be stand out and be the main style piece here.
VANS (an official Brand Sponsor of Clockenflap) is having quite a presence in Hong Kong these days. The best part is, it got me to REALLY start looking at VANS again as a viable accesssory to my wardrobe. And i’m 33 years old! I haven’t worn them since I was 15 or 16 in the 90s. Crazy. I love their upgrade… and obviously, I’m loving their Liberty London collaboration as well since i own two pairs.
So we met these guys from Float Captain Surf Supply Co. for the first time at Clockenflap at the “markets” there. The market in general was so-so Hong Kong standard (trinkets and arts-craft high school variety), but these guys, a Hong Kong-based brand called Float Captain, should really be playing with the big boys and going “POP UP” with the likes of Tangram, niin, MISCHA, and THYVANE. I personally love the black and white cap. Can’t wait to hear, and see more of these guys.
Scene&Seen: Our Fellow 'Flappers at Clockenflap 2013
Minus a few hiccups, mainly Canadian band, Metric’s, sound going offline for about 20 minutes, and a bit of early wardrobe malfunction on my end from not sitting properly on the grass… everything was pretty much heavenly at this year’s 2013 Clockenflap Music & Arts Festival in Hong Kong at the West Kowloon Cultural District… probably the best Clockenflap its ever been. Everyone, expats and Hong Kongnese alike, had a band or two they loved to see at the line up, and for the most part everyone was pretty happy with the offerings of indie rock and pop throughout the festival’s three stages over two and a half days. I went to Clockenflap for the first time last year, but I found this year to be bigger and more enjoyable; from the line up selection, the food selection, the drinks selection (two coffee houses!), and the family entertainment… there was plenty of it.
The VANS and Moustache Bearded Lady booths supplied interesting “sideshows” that were quite unique and memorable. At VANS girls had manicures on offer while guys got a real barbershop treatment. At the Moustache Bearded Lady Tent, party goers were treated to Lilian Chang’s traditional Cantonese pop standards of yesteryear, Magic with Magician Stuart Palm, and choreographed burlesque dancing from our girl friends, which included Tangram designer, Paola Sinisterra. The kids also seemed to love the big White Cloud in the middle of the park, designed by Marc & Chantal. My friend, Jason Schlabach, was one of the team’s main designers for the inflatable pavilion’s cloud which housed the light writing activities. The cloud was really beautiful. And Especially at night when it’s all lit up.
I don’t want to get too much into it on this post, but between my drinks at the (BELVEDERE) RED VIP Tent, The Carlsberg Tents, and the Somersby Cider Hangout, I have to thank my lucky stars my pal, Katrina, was there by the end of Sunday night to escort someone like me home… a less than stellar example of Mr. Ole-Dapper-Gentleman-Me. Okay I was practically “sloshed”.
Before I get more into photos of my favorite ‘Flappers from this past weekend, I’d like to thank (BELVEDERE) RED for hosting us this past weekend at CLOCKENFLAP, and for Erica Fong and Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong website for style spotting me in my favorite jumper of the year, the KENZO x Opening Ceremony collab with all the Eyes. I also matched the jumper with my VANS x Liberty London collab paisley red shoes for that last day… (which as you can see in the photographs… it was a crisp winter’s Hong Kong day with not a cloud in the sky!)
Clockenflap 2014, was by far the best Music Festival Hong Kong has ever seen so far and for proof, check out photos of my favorite people I spotted at this weekend’s event. Everyone’s having such a great time out.
On Friday night… Burlesque Dancers.
Lillian Chang at the Bearded Lady Tent.
Lifestyle Asia’s Editor, Erica and her partner.
Katrina and Jason S.
Australia’s Best (Susan and Jason R), with Jason S.
Melinda of Ztylistas. Check out her awesome Tom Ford Specs.
My Lovely sister, Bernadette, in head-to-toe Denim&Supply.
We both loved Tegan and Sara’s performance. So amazing.
I almost saw everyone there that weekend! Everyone was in great form.
And then… day turned into night…
The party continued forward as everyone went to the Your Mum Stage to listen to my pal DJ Angus Wong play.
And finally… METRIC! In two acts due to the busted speakers. Oh well. They sounded great nonetheless… but just one note… Drugs + Emily Haines + Long Blonde Extensions + Big Screen Stadium TV = Not Flattering. But again, she was professional, and sounded really amazing.
And I barely remembered taking this shot for 2 Many DJ’s. I was exhausted to say the least.
theW+ Guide To 7 Design Events in 7 Days for 'Design Week 2013' in Hong Kong
It’s Design Week in Hong Kong and it starts today, Wednesday, November 27th 2013. There’s no official design week in the city, not yet anyway/or not really one worth paying attention for, but if there was any kind of “Design Week”, the next 7 Days will pretty much fill your Design-starved well. Here are the Top 7 Design Things to do for the next 7 Days in Hong Kong.
+ TANGRAM x G.O.D & THE POP UP SHOP / Wednesday 13 NOV 27 and Monday 13 DEC 02 . G.O.D and The Space Hollywood Road . SOHO District
It’s all about HK’s amazing independent fashion tonight, Wednesday, and next Monday and Tuesday, all taking place on Hollywood Road in Hong Kong’s very cool SOHO District. Tangram will be launching their capsule collection with G.O.D. and fashion accessories brands M.I.S.C.H.A. and NIIN spearheads an amazing collection selection of labels, including Seventy Eight Percent, Cecilia Ma Couture, Mary Ching, Cordelia Bradley Millinery, J.J. Threads, and Daydream Nation, OR, Marijoli, Le Petite Caravane, and THYVANE (phew did we forget anyone?) for this one night shopping event at The Pop Up Shop at The Space. And don’t confuse this with another fashion event next Monday and Tuesday hosted by the Fashion Collective, a two day pop-up also at The Space with brands such as ABNS A Boy Named Sue, 15 Squarestreet, NIIN, THYVANE, Mime Vintage, plus vintage furniture by Casa Capriz, and flowers by Gemma Hayden Blest.
+ JOAO VASCO PAIVA / Thursday 13 NOV 28 . Edouard Malingue Gallery . Queens Road Central . CENTRAL District
Joao Vasco Paiva, a multi-layered, multi-media artist who walks a fine line between art and design expressions, is opening his latest solo show in town this Thursday night, hosted by the Edouard Malingue Gallery in Central. Always using Hong Kong as his muse, this particular show for the HK-based, Portuguese native artist, looks further into revealing the collective unconscious layer created by the city dweller. The show will have video, 2D, and 3D sculptural works.
+ DETOUR 2013: CURATING THE CITY / Friday 29 NOV 2013 . Hong Kong Island Various Locations
Launching Friday night, 29th November 2012, Detour 2013 will focus on bringing HK’s design exhibits beyond one location (as in previous years) to 5 locations around town; The Central Oasis Gallery, The Police Married Quarters (PMQ) in SOHO, The Henessy in Wanchai, Oi! in North Point, and finally the Shau Kei Wan Tram Terminus. This year’s organizers with Ambassadors of Design Hong Kong, are focused on bringing guests out to Hong Kong via special Detour Trams to discuss urbanism and design via workshops on trams and off. To see the complete programme schedule click on the link below or click on this Facebook Link.
+ HONG KONG INDESIGN / Saturday 13 NOV 30 . Hong Kong Island Various Locations
Over 200 brands in 20 Showroom locations, Hong Kong Indesign is Hong Kong’s first ever Architecture and Interior Design oriented showrooms open house. Which means for one day, visitors can experience special project installations, lunches, events, talks, workshops from showroom to showroom over wine and canapes. No one will be walking because several shuttle buses are ready to transport guests from various show spaces from SOHO, to Wanchai, the Eastern area of Hong Kong. Brands and galleries participating and exhibiting include; Dedon, BW, Steelcase, ViA Poltrona Frau, ViA Poliforn Varenna, and much more. Events start at 9AM and end around 6PM.
+ IN BED WITH DESIGNERS + DESIGN TALK / Saturday 30 NOV 2013 & Sunday 01 DEC 2013 . Mini Hotel . CAUSEWAY BAY District
Join us this Saturday 6:15PM at the Mini Hotel in Causeway Bay when we discuss all things design, in bed of course, with other like minded fellows in Hong Kong like industrial designer, Michael Young, HKDC’s William To, KAPOK’s proprietor, Arnault Castel, writer Daniel Kong, and ourselves plus many more. The Design Talk is part of a larger initiative called In Bed With Designers, where for two days, 50 Designers will take over 3 floors in the hotel to display and sell their wares. This event is organized by design e-commerce site buymedesign in association with Maison & Objet Asia.
+ BUSINESS OF DESIGN WEEK BODW / Monday 02 DEC 2013 . HKCEC . WANCHAI District
BODW Business of Design Week is Asia’s leading annual event on Design, Innovation, and Branding… as it relates to Business. Now in it’s 9th year, the latest BODW will focus on works by this year’s partner country, Belgium. For 1 week, industry visitors and design fanatics will get a chance to visit 11 Major Programmes, listen to 100 international speakers, and visit a variety of booths and exhibits. Special guests this year include Sou Fujimoto, Toyo Ito, William Lim, Six Lee, Joyce Wang, and Codelfy.
+ MARC & CHANTAL x CLOCKENFLAP MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL / Fri 28 NOV - Sun 01 DEC 2013 . West Kowloon Cultural District
Okay not really a “Design” event per se, but this three day music festival in Kowloon, Clockenflap, is really one of a kind. There will be design and art installations throughout, including an amazing series of interactive light installations all around by Marc & Chantal who are celebrating their 20th year anniversary. Here’s a little series of previews of the “light drawings” that guests will be able to play with…
#theWanderlist: In The Mood For Gastronomic Affairs? Serge et le Phoque
The woman in that photo above is confused. She’s confused because everything about this mysterious restaurant, located in Wanchai’s side streets off Queens Road East, is so understated. Everything from a facade that’s just plain glass, basic no plastic plywood furniture, no signage, no visual clutter, basic painted walls, and no faux-crystal, makes the new restaurant, Serge et le Phoque, across the street from Wanchai Cooked Food Market… just so… un-Hong Kong. Thank God.
Even by expat dining destination standards in the city, it’s so so so underratedly chill. No hostess on the sidewalk begging you to come in, no poster on the front door telling you what “Theme” Sunday is supposed to be (because in Hong Kong… to survive as a concept restaurant… you’ve go to theme EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK!)
In exchange for Serge et le Phoque’s defiantly minimalist aesthetics and ambiance, you get a blank palette that sets back for the food. And Oh… the food. Just making me think of that experience, i’m literally salivating at the thought. Let me just put it this way… eating at Serge et le Phoque, is the equivalent of eating at say… an art gallery, where the degustation menu is the exhibition on display. And yes, this is saying a lot. And speaking highly of this restaurant is less than what they deserve/trying to achieve… it’s not enough! Chef Christophe Pele (photo below right) literally returns once a month from Paris to oversee this restaurant and to play in the kitchen with resident chef, Nic Chew (ex- L’atelier Robuchon and Saint Betty’s) which is run by restaurateurs, Charles Pelletier (photo below left) and Frederic Peneau, an ex architect (which explains the cool designer-ish surroundings, also former owner of Cafe Burq and current owner of Le Chateaubriand). Fred’s son came up with the random restaurant name (translating to “Serge and the Seals”) and the whole team combined worked hard in setting up a new kind of continental restaurant in the city focused on providing a no frills, no drama, unpretentious space where the quality of the food is the only taste left on one’s tongue by the end of the night.
And the taste… I still dream of it, one month after. My friend, Louise, and I took our pal Tangram’s designer, Paola Sinisterra for her birthday dinner last month. A few other friends came by to join, and we made a Sunday night of it. What make it more special was that Chef Christophe was in town to work that Sunday evening, putting together a special one-night only menu for the party! Some items were available on the regular menu, but other items, were based on ingredients he just purchased for that day, which may someday make it as an official offering.
Seen&Scene: From The Vault Shanghai, DIOR and Lane Crawford Go Big or Go Broke
Shanghai is so glamorous these days. I don’t live there. I don’t wish to live there, but like Singapore… it’s fun to visit… for a weekend. And like Singapore, it’s glam, but the kind that Hong Kong is glam in the way it’s defined as a luxury brands destination multiplied by 100. Whereas Singapore is glam in a bigger-is-better and a there’s-so-much-green-space-and-fresh-air kind of way… which Shanghai is not.
In my last business trip to Shanghai in October I was able to check out this Esprit DIOR cocktail, previewing a special pop-up exhibition of Dior archived dresses and sketches at the MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai thanks to my pal Katrina. Actually it was a really unique week since most of us Hong Kongers were in Shanghai for our respective jobs and it just so happened to coincide with Shanghai Fashion Week, which culminated at the DIOR MOCA Cocktail and later on for the opening of the new 150,000 sq.ft. (4/5?) story tall Lane Crawford at the Shanghai Times Square. Even ZARA at the Shanghai Time Square had a cocktail party… I mean, ZARA? They never do any marketing of any sort. Who knows how much DIOR and Lane Crawford paid for such glam events, however if you’re a fashion brand, and you don’t Go Big or Go Broke in Shanghai, then you’re probably missing out on Shanghai’s consumer renaissance.
Apologies for these really poor photographs. My early flight made me forget two of my blogging cameras and had to rely on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to capture the “glam”. Enjoy the photos!
+ ESPRIT DIOR / MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai
I’ve never been to the MOCA in Shanghai, however as part of the museum’s desire “to promote artistic and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world”, they were glad to host the House of Dior for three month exhibition to display their archives. The cocktail evening for guests and clients of DIOR was nice, and the sheer amount of dresses (100 in total) and sketches on display was quite special. I was shocked to learn that the exhibition was not free, especially since it’s essentially a marketing exhibition for fashion brand. However the standard rate at 30 Yuan is really not that expensive, and i’m sure it separates only serious patrons vs the masses. Plenty of photographs by iconic stylists and photographers, like Patrick Demarchelier, and beautiful collaborative works of art made for this exhibit by some of China’s top current artists curated by Florence Muller.
Video work by Qiu Zhijie lined the entrance ramp, and several paintings of Mr. Dior by Zhang Huan, Yan Peiming, and Zheng Fanzhi, were situated around the path amongst iconic dresses laid out in thematic sections like, Pink and Red, Versailles, Paris, and Garden (all Raf Simons.) I really enjoyed the presence of an actual beading practitioner from the French atelier. It was beautiful to see these pieces go from sketch, to application, to finished works of art. We had a great time.
VISIT Esprit DIOR . MOCA - People’s Park, 231 Naning West Road, Shanghai 200003, China . 13 SEP 2013 - 20 NOV 2013
+ LANE CRAWFORD SHANGHAI / Times Square in Xin Tian Di
After leaving the Esprit DIOR cocktail, the gang then went on to Time Square Shanghai at Xin Tian Di to meet up with a larger Hong Kong crew who just so happened to be in the city that night or who were collaborating the Lane Crawford Department Store for their grand opening… 7 years after it closed it’s last shop here. And “Grand Opening” was an understatement as our car pulled up to a red carpet which was complete with strobe lights on all sides. For a moment there I thought this was not a usual LC launch like you see in Hong Kong… this was a Lane Crawford Movie Premier!
It was surprising to see just how many from Hong Kong were there that night. People I saw (and i’m sure there were more I didn’t see since I was only there for an hour) included; Alex Daye and Ellis Kreuger, tailors of Moustache manning their themed bar, bag designer Michelle Lai of MISCHA (they carry her bags there), Tangram designer Paola Sinisterra, jewellery and accessories designer Kate Barnett, my blogger pals Denise Lai and Jason Lam (who are actually based in Shanghai now), style editor and blogger Diviah Harilela, online editor Avery Booker, photographer Laurent Segretier, and of course my buddies, Louise, Katrina, and Hammer & Needle’s designer Jason Reason.
On the run up to it, everyone was on the same crazy whatsapp thread trying to find a place to meet up before the event and after. We all ended up meeting around the Moustache bar on a section of the 4th Floor. Place all of us in a Lane Crawford party in Central IFC and we’d take up the whole party, but our group was only about 5% of who was there, since there was a guest list of about 4,000 people. As our buddy, PR Guru, Nick Cakebread of BBDO who ran the DIOR event said, they must have collated every guest list there was in town. Anyone in Shanghai who possibly went to events were all there that night.
In the age of online e-commerce, it’s interesting to see such investment in brick and mortars like Lane Crawford Shanghai plus the newly opened 10 Corso Como there, and re-opened Galeries Lafayette in Beijing. After all we still need shops like this to help educate “style”, “Taste”, “feel”, and “fit”, in the ever growing luxuries market there… something that’s hard to transcend via a computer screen.
SHOP Lane Crawford Shanghai . Time Square, 99 Huai Hai Zhong Road, Shanghai, China . T: 400-1201483 . H: 10am to 10pm M-SUN
#JJStyle: Independent Kickstarter Brand, RPMWEST Jeans, Kicks It With Me In Hong Kong
New denim darlings on the scene, RPMWEST, founded in May 2012 by Manuel Rappard, a former Google employee and NYU Graduate, has successfully raised over 100,000 USD this year via their Kickstarter campaign to launch amazing jeans for gentlemen, that is democratically ethical, as much as it stylish. I first heard about the brand via my friend Paul S., a cross-continental fashion photographer, who’s cousin is married to an RPMWEST collaborator. Paul S. also shot the latest lookbook which can be seen in this blog here. The San Francisco based brand prides itself on the quality of the denim, a Raw Japanese Selvedge, and its artisan craftsmanship, 100% made-in-the-USA.
Not that “none-made-in-the-USA” items are bad, per se, it’s just that in this day and age when it’s tough to guarantee exploit-free labor practices, an investment is made to go towards building an artisan trade in close proximity to where the jeans are actually designed and conceptualized. This idea of USA made jeans is not new, but the price tag, under 100USD, makes the production of artisan jeans more accessible to a market beyond the luxury buyer… which is great!
With the success of their Kickstarter campaign, the RMPWEST guys are now able to not only make their dreams (high quality fancy homegrown jeans at a not so fancy price) come true, but also implement a “Home Try On” program, where they can send three pairs to anywhere in the world (including Hong Kong), and you keep the pair that fits you the best. Right now, RPMWEST is shipping single pairs to kickstarter investors and brand supporters (including me!) and will open their website (hopefully) in November to a growing wait list, just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
A few more details… i’m wearing the New Classics with a stiff raw selvedge. (Less stiff over time.) The name “Selvedge” is reserved for denim made on vintage shuttle looms, which is how it was usually produced by classic brands prior to the 1970’s. This selvedge is usually heavier and higher quality than other denims you’re used to. Another thing that most brands these days get wrong with new Selvedge or Selvedge reproductions, is that the cutting is all wrong for the material. Thank God the moment I tried RMPWEST New Classic’s on, I immediately loved the fit. It’s roomy where it needs to be (around the thighs and knees), and fit snuggly where you want it to be (around the hips, bum, and calves.)
Photos above also show the details that come along with the Jean; Chain Stitching, 100% Leather brand patch, Metal Tack buttons, reinforced front pockets, reinforced back pockets (plane with no crazy design), and tucked belt loops (Will not rip off.) I’m truly proud of these guys’ Kickstarter project, and that they’re actually making less of a brand profit with zero retail markup, in order to make socially conscious jeans more available to a market looking for high quality that doesn’t break the bank.
#JJStyle: Mr Porter Meets Hong Kong Menswear, A/W 2013
Sometimes I wonder how my love for fashion began, especially because I grew up in Forth Worth, Texas, where I had very limited access to style and trends. As i look back at that (relatively) small city, and where my love for self-styling actually began, it’s even a wonder how I was able to literally “scrape” by and be content with just what we had there for choice. My taste in Fashion was shaped by the STYLE sections of the Dallas Morning News, and copies of Details or W Magazine, that was available at the local Wal-Mart. Sure local Department Stores; Nordstroms, Neiman Marcus, and Dillard’s, carried my then favorite brands; Prada, DKNY (very different in the 90s), and Hugo Boss, but they never carried any of the styles that were at the time deemed too edgy for that Texan market.
Looking back, I was one of those weird boys in High School that put together runway looks via re-appropriated GAP and Banana Republic wares, and additionally… I spent hours at the Vintage Thrift Shop. Anyway, I was thinking about all of this as I was modelling Thom Browne on the roof of Hong Kong’s Woolloomooloo Bar in Wanchai for a Mr. Porter Profile on Hong Kong’s “stylish” gents. I wouldn’t say I’m the most fashionable guy in the city, I think the rest of the guys in the shoot are way more fashionable than me… (Looking at you Sean and Roger!)… and definitely I’ve had my regrettable phases (one whole year wearing nothing but neon in HK as an homage to DIPLO, for example), but definitely its nice to know that my “style” obsession does not go unnoticed. Alot of people may say, “who cares about style or fashion?”. But I say, “I Do. I care.” I want to look good, I want to feel good, and it makes me happy.
PS. Oh and by the way, my camera I take on vacation is my tiny Fuji X-F1 NOT an X-S1 as the article states… but thanks Tom M. Ford for the interview, Dan May for the amazing styling, and last and the best, Jason Capobianco for the photographs. Grace Lam you rock for putting my name in. It’s really cool of you.
Here’s some behind the scenes photos from the shoot!
Jason and Mr. May having a chat on concepts.
The most stylish gents, Sean Fitzpatrick and the fabulous Dickey Blue.
Roger Ouk looking dapper and very serious!
Met this Boy Wonder, a 17 year old professional Race Car Driver, named Matthew Solomon, whose father owns Electric Sekki.
Jason’s wife, Voguechina Editor, Grace Lam, came by to take a peek with the little one.
#theWanderlist: At La Cantoche, Child's Play Can Equate to Seriously Great Dining
Sheung Wan’s tiny and unassuming Wa Lane is a low-key little street relative to the adjacent Hollywood Road, a dining and shopping destination for most of Hong Kong’s tourists. While some new restaurants (Chachawan, 208 Duecento Otto, and Heirloom for example) can still afford prime Hollywood Road frontage, other eating establishments like the one year old La Cantoche (The Canteen) take on lanes like Wa Lane to make they’re own little mark in an already crowded dining market like Hong Kong’s. Additionally for this city, it is expected that a restaurant’s marketing is tied to an overt dining concept and theatrical dinner experience, La Canotche by contrast is absent of any formulaic choreography, yet wins points all around for what’s most important; Food, Concept, and Ambience.
The Food, delicious French-Vietnamese fare with a slightly Arabic twist. The Concept, casual hearty home-style “soul” food to share. The Ambience, a relaxed, no frills, no pressure, no pretense bistro, that’s as playful as a teenage boy’s bedroom. For all this combined, we only have owner, David Sung to thank.
Everything about La Cantoche reflects Sung’s heritage and roots. All the dishes are derived from food his parents used to prepare for him and flavours he grew up with in France. The movies projected on whitewashed brick walls walls, the foosball table, Michael Jackson’s “BAD” written on a on the 2nd floor loft, and Super Famicom and games which are displayed on the wall adjacent to the ground floor bar, all reflect pieces of Sung’s youth. For the night I went there for a tasting, Sung was there to serve and personally introduce each dish himself. He was proud, enthusiastic, and after I tasted the meal, he had every right to be so.
If you’ve been following me on my Instagram page, then you’d probably already know two things about me; 1) I post quite ALOT and 2) I love #menswear. Any cool new fashion thing I find, love, and purchase or get, then I pretty much manage to share on there. The two photos above are typical my #JJStyle shots, and show my newest obsession, the Swedish casual watch brand, Daniel Wellington, which launched in the summer of 2011.
This preppy watch for gents and ladies is known for their simple and thin watchcase which comes in rose gold and silver. A big trend these days is the “interchangeable” strap. With Daniel Wellington’s they come in natostrap and leatherstrap. Actually, i’ve seen a new collection from TIMEX which has the same idea. But what I love about these DW’s is that its really elegant and unassuming. You see in my two photos above I paired the same watch with a Pal Zileri Jacket in one photo and Club Monaco shirt in another.
Even my friend Liz, an architect, ordered one online. This one below is hers, which is an Instagram photo I took over brunch at Classifieds.
The DW watches are sold in over 30 countries and have been featured in magazines like Vogue, GQ, and Elle. And now all styles are available for Asia online. I even saw them at the Kapok Shop on Sun Street in Wanchai a few weeks ago.
From now until the end of November, as in November 30, 2013, if you order a watch at Daniel Wellington ONLINE, Wanderlister.com readers can get a 15% discount with the CODE: “WANDERLISTER” for all online orders. Regular mail usually takes 14 days, via UPS it’s 2-5 days.
Seen&Scene: Ai WeiWei Frames Hong Kong Artists; Artists Respond In Kind
This evening, friends, supporters, and media, were invited to Duddell’s 4th Floor to preview Chinese artist, Ai WeiWei’s first curated exhibition in Hong Kong titled, Framed. What is in fact being framed, is literally the work of 13 of Hong Kong’s finest art practitioners, hand selected by Ai WeiWei himself; Nadim Abbas, Kitty Chou, Ho Sin Tung, Frog King, Kum Chi-Keung, Kwan Sheung Chi, Michael Lau, Kingsley Ng, MAP Office, Tozer Pak Sheung Chuen, Angela Su, Tsang Kin Wah, and Stanley Wong anothermountainman.
Before the opening party, a private gathering was hosted by Duddell’s founder, Alan Lo and M+’s Executive Director, Lars Nittve, for an intimate panel discussion with some of the artists in the group show, plus a special welcome video of WeiWei himself introducing the exhibition.
The 45 minute long discussion was focused primarily on the idea of “Framing” and being “Framed”. Some of the artists, like Tozer Pak Sheung Chuen, yearned to work outside the frame conceptually and physically imposed by WeiWei (a wooden frame uniform about 65 x 65 cm, square). Other artists welcomed the possibility of the frame’s unifying factor, like Kitty Chou’s work. MAP Office took the idea of the Frame as an opportunity to focus on the curator, WeiWei, stating that the artists are not the focus of the show, but WeiWei himself because essentially the works are a reaction to the curator’s theme. MAP Office’s response reflects on the different facets of Ai WeiWei, a man, an island, trapped “within his own kingdom, and defined by his own territory in China”. Ho Sin Tung’s portrait of Ai WeiWei, titled Alien 2013 (seen at the top of the post), framed a portrait of the curator within the imposed timber frame as his response.
Frog King’s Frog Fun 2013 piece which hangs proudly on the feature stair’s main landing, is all “balls-out”, literally, and proposes play in reference to his 20-plus year relationship with Ai WeiWei.
Work by Tsang Kin Wah, MomFDadFDaughterFTeacherFJesusF MaryFBillFMonicaFPoliticianFPastorFKidFMomFTeen… 2007.
While it is true that Duddell’s is not your typical gallery exhibition space, it is a bar/restaurant/members-club, with atraditional spaces for exhibiting works of art. It is in this context of which Ai WeiWei was intrigued, and uses the idea of the frame as a way to bring focus to Duddell’s position, not only its contribution to Hong Kong’s maturing cultural landscape, but also in the way this newly minted venue can bridge Hong Kong artist to a more global contemporary audience.
In the foreword for the exhibition’s book, Ai WeiWei states:
When these artists have chosen to work with me at their own will, changes have already occurred, and change is what culture has longed for and worked towards… With the political conditions and social developments today (categorizing cultural activity by regions) are no longer applicable in the age of digital communication and globalization. A good exhibition or a good artist may come from any social background, or we can say that backgrounds are no longer relevant. This is a remarkable feat; I wish that all artists residing in Hong Kong will be blessed by this era.
In the paragraph before, Ai Weiwei stresses; that “Framed” as a theme hints at the “absurdity of our conditions.” And that continually expressing Hong Kong’s history, and links to its colonial past whether politics or art or both, is an “inevitable fable” and maybe a complete “rejection” of any “adaptation” that is taking place right now today.
Work by Nadim Abbas, The Trial of Lady Chatterley 2013.
Work by Michael Lau, Chrazymichael 2010.
Work by Kum Chi-Keung, Hand 2006.
Duddell’s seemingly takes pride in being a truly Hong Kong product, from the perspective of Hong Kong as a city of the world. Members of Duddell’s may identify with the idea that being a true Hong Konger also means being a global citizen, and that they’re one and the same. Whether that’s a position Hong Kong’s artists are ready to take on board after this show, depends on them. It’s interesting to note that it takes a curator of Ai Weiwei’s stature to have to coax such an idea of “globalness” to Hong Kong’s own cloistered art community… and he’s doing all this from the confines of his compound thousands of miles away… as an alien and outsider looking in.
#theWanderlist: Eames Exhibition Solidifies Singapore As Asia's Newly Crowned Design Capital
Eight years ago, when I first moved to Asia and made a quick visit to Singapore, I was so bored out of my mind. I had no idea what to do, and the first step into Clark Quay, I was ready to go away. Last month, my pal DJ Angus Wong, asked me to accompany him to check out the new W Hotel Singapore at Sentosa Cove, as the hotel was celebrating its first anniversary, and he was working the event.
Here’s Angus all lit up on the streets of SG.
I didn’t stay at the W Hotel, opting instead to stay at the centrally located Hotel 1929 on the super cool Keong Saik Road (more on that neighborhood in another post.)
Needless to say in the three days I was there, I had such a blast and had so much fun, I couldn’t believe that I was hanging out in the same city that turned me off all those years ago. Singapore has really evolved, and dare I say, surpassed Hong Kong in just 8 years! What really surprised Angus and I even more was that “shopping” was hardly on the itinerary (as is usually the case with him and I both). Instead we busied ourselves exploring the city’s streets on foot, taking photographs of the latest modern architectures, the newly restored Chinese shophouses that line several downtown neighborhood clusters, devoured Hawker foods, checked out design shops and galleries, drank plenty of coffee, and most importantly, he and I caught up with some of the larger design exhibitions unique to Singapore, like the very special Essential Eamesexhibit at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, co-sponsored by the Herman Miller designer furniture company.
The show, which has a roughly 6 month run, is focused on the work of Charles Ormond Eames (1907-1978) and his partner Bernice Alexandra “Ray” Eames (1912-1988), two American designers who helped define America’s unique architectural, industrial, and graphic styles in the mid-20th Century. These days it’s so rare to make such a mark the way the designers of last Century were able to help create and shape visual and aesthetic cultures from the things we see, the things we touch, to the things that house us, as the Eames duo has done. The exhibition, based on the book, An Eames Primer, by the Eames’ grandson, Eames Demetrios, chronicles the partners’ life and works, and breaks down the exhibition via multiple sectors of work… such as Art, Prints, Toys, Architecture, Graphics, and ultimately wrapping it all up with the things they’ve made that still affect us to this day… an exhibition of all their chairs made in cooperation with Herman Miller.
Recognize any of these chairs above? You know you’ve seen them before. In restaurants, bars, office lobbies, office conference spaces, homes, lounges, your friends living rooms, dining rooms…. you name it. I mean not only are the chairs truly functional and comfortable to sit in, the look is iconic, ageless, and is still considered modern to this very day. Some of the chairs like the Stacking Chair DDS or the Plastic Armchairs and Side Chairsthat come in various candy colors, were designed in the 1950’s! The Lounge Ottomans are still in vogue today, at least in my friends’ living rooms. And The Aluminum Desk Chairs, are still being utilised in every cool office meeting room i’ve been too recently.
I love it when the chairs gets deconstructed as they do above.
#theWanderlist: Top 7 Design Finds at Chatuchak Market and The Siam Hotel
Our Bangkok stay at The Siam Hotel last month was just so glam. Usually when I go on these blogger/press visits it’s just me by myself. But it was really nice when I found out that my HK Crew would be there staying at that 39-room resort that same weekend. If you read my previous post on The Siam, I basically gave a photo-tour of the whole property, as well as the back story on how this unique hotel came to be. By the end of the post, I came to realization that the Thais in general are a very sentimental people. I wouldn’t expect such a personal luxury hotel like The Siam to pop up in China or Hong Kong (if it did it would be so commercialized then attached to some hotel chain). What makes The Siam Hotel so special is that it’s an independent brand, owned by one family where the personal touch by its owners and its skilled staff is the key to making the whole property work. The sentimentality here is in the addition of every furniture, sculpture, decor, and artwork, hand picked by its founder, Krissada Sukosol Clapp, a pop/rock icon in that country, and a lover of pop-culture antiques and collectables, as well as mid-century furniture.
As a fun itinerary, I took the crew to Chatuchak Market (JJ Market) close by from the hotel to check out where Krissada and some of Asia’s most famous designers and decorators go to source vintage furniture and collectibles. Ie. If you stay in The Siam Hotel and love it so much, here are a few shops a few blocks away where you can take home a piece or two of history and maybe you can outfit your own home just like The Siam Hotel!
For those in love with Taxidermy or framed butterflies around the house can look no further than Nature Decoration located in Zone B Soi 2 of Chatuchak. Their collection of birds, foxes, skulls, reptiles, and insects is quite impressive… and almost lifelike. Sourced from places around the world, its proprietor, Phueng, can pretty much get you anything you’re looking for. While I personally prefer an-animal-carcass-free zone myself, some people may think an added touch like Taxidermy is a good way to add some “wild” gesture to any space.
#theWanderlist: Part Museum, Part Resort, Family Owned, The Siam Hotel, Brings A Glorious Past To Life
If you hadn’t seen it, you wouldn’t believe it was even there. Especially in modern day Bangkok, it’s hard to believe this low density low-rise luxury property can even exist here within such a dense urban environment like Bangkok’s. The Siam Hotel, a riverside resort hotel dressed in the guise of a manor-like ancestral Asian home, is a product of its own very special circumstances.
What makes this independently operated hotel quite a find is that the property, and the land it sits on, located uniquely in and around the Royal Palace on the Chao Phraya River, are collectively owned by the legendary Sukosol Family, founders and proprietors of this hotel. For those who are not up to speed, the Sukosol Family that owns the The Siam Hotel today, is a descendant of the great Kamol Sukosol, an entrepreneur who imported and distributed brands, GE and Mazda to Thailand. What makes the hotel special is that its site, acquired by Kamol in 1973, sits adjacent to the Royal Palace automatically making it subject to height restrictions (nothing can be taller than the Palace within a certain radius). Leaving the structure and all structures around a certain radius of the palace, low rise (which is definitely not the case in the Bangkok we all know… around Central World and RAMA 1). And in Bangkok, where ancestral land is split up evenly amongst heirs, most land is left critically undeveloped because no one can usually decide what to do with it. It’s certainly a lucky thing that the immediate Sukosol Family is small enough to make decisions around the dinner table based on consensus, and what they all decided to do, was to build a hotel on this special land.
To add to the unique story, the family’s matriarch, legendary singer and hotelier, Kamala Sukosol, and her son, young pop icon, Krissada Sukosol Clapp, are extensive collectors of Ancient Chinese antiques (Kamala’s obsession), and early 20th century to mid century furniture including Pop Culture Memorabilia (Kriss’ obsession). Before the hotel was even a concept, Kamala and Krissada have been already been thinking about different ways to utilize the land in respect to its special site, while simultaneously finding a way to create a place to house their extensive collection of antiques. The story of how The Siam Hotel came to be, formulated while I was speaking privately with its visionary, Kriss, over sunset cocktails my first evening there, and moreover the next afternoon with the hotel’s GM, Jason Friedman (a legend in his own right). I realised that The Siam Hotel is one of those unique family projects, driven not by bottom line profits (how could you with such site restrictions), but by certain creative desires, sheer necessity to display special works of art, familial heritage, and romance for days gone by… all elements which make The Siam, a truly intimate experience for anyone visiting, with that added handcrafted touch. To stay at The Siam Hotel, is to stay at the family’s home.