Kowloon Building Mural at Facebook Headquarters (2014) / Caratoes
Well for those who have already forgotten… we reported three months ago that a Peter Yuill-looking mural (assumption based on Peter Yuill’s past series of work, but not by Peter Yuill), popped up in one of Facebook’s breakout lounges. In my blog post then, I stated that, for all the money that Facebook makes from Hong Kong and China, the lest they can do is actually pay for the real Hong Kong artists to do their signature styles of Hong Kong within the tech company’s brand new Hong Kong Headquarters… you know, to show respect for community, context, and authenticity, as well as to be part of contemporary culture.
(And duh, they actually used these same images to market themselves the week they opened!)
Facebook Hong Kong Headquarters, Interior Shot.
But instead of bringing those artists in, they put up works that “look like” works by the likes of Yuill (as i’ve stated), Pete Ross, and even deceased artists like King of Kowloon / Tsang Tsou Choi (even though there are many of his original works still available on sale… just look at BIBO restaurant, for example!)
Then I got an email… that same week. From a Hong Kong artist, who stated that my reporting was inaccurate and that in fact, Facebook Hong Kong DID hire a local Hong Kong artist to do all the murals on their wall. This artist’s name (ie. the person who emailed me) is Caratoes, also a contemporary of Peter Yuill’s. Her own work (that she’s more known for) of female figures in dream-like situations, is actually quite amazing. Caratoes is represented by some of the city’s best galleries, namely Above Second and Cat Street Gallery. I was and am still a fan.
via Caratoes, on her Facebook Work (from her email to me wanting to clarify the situation - not an actual artist’s statement - which we have requested three months ago, and still waiting):
"About the (Kowloon Mural in Facebook Hong Kong), they had a last minute request to have a tribute and a story to old Kowloon corner buildings. (Which) you still see often in Kowloon.
To paint buildings or humans realistically in black ink (which is a medium I use 90% of the time) might end up looking similar. As the goal is to achieve likeness of what is real. Just stating the obvious here.
As you know, for jobs like this, they ask around quite a few artists. One of them was Peter (Yuill) I found out later. It was their decision to go with whomever artist they think is suitable to execute their project and vision. I understand if you disagree. But that is your personal opinion.”
And there you have it.
The work at the Facebook Hong Kong Headquarters is indeed the work of a Local Hong Kong Artist, after all. Her name is Caratoes.
Just to remind you. Here are Peter Yuill’s architectural rendering works (of which he is known for.)
I haven’t really written much about the PMQ 元創方 (aka Police Married Quarters), since the building opened its doors to the public during Art Basel Hong Kong this past May. You can read about the building’s history at the Discover Hong Kong website, but in short the building that stands is the remnant structure that was the site of the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, the first dormitory for Chinese rank and file police officers and their family members… an attractive staff benefit to recruit new police officers. These days the building, which originally housed 140 single rooms and 28 double rooms, is now a heritage site as well as a designers hub / shopping mall for independent labels and shops from Hong Kong and importers based in Hong Kong.
Anyway, i’ve only written about the PMQ in context of other stories, like when I wrote about Isono/Vasco, Aberdeen Street Social, and Kapok. The reason why I haven’t really focused on PMQ itself is because I’m doing a wait-and-see approach on this project, or at least until the building/mall can stand on both feet with full tenant occupancy. I think 6 months into it, PMQ is definitely not bad. There were some hiccups (ie. 1600 Pandas filling the plaza, which was just horrid) but everything else is alright actually. In the end of the day, the city of Hong Kong, is better to have a “design-focused-hub” than not. Even though some designers who i’m personal friends with can’t afford a unit here, in a way they still partner with some other tenants to allow their goods to be sold here. And I don’t know about the selection process for an “X” amount of units, but I do believe that some curation and rent-price level is needed or else the there would be a wider and more random range of tenancies here than what already exists right now. (For example, some tenant spaces are fully and glamorously designed and fitted out, while the tenant adjacent would basically have an empty non-designed storehouse for product. All over the place.)
A good thing I just witnessed this Sunday, however, is a new initiative dubbed Design Market @ PMQ, an opportunity for those designers who can’t afford an actual space here, to be showcased at the PMQ’s public plaza on a Sunday. More than just a handful of designers touting womenswear and menswear are on display here with their pop-up booth and it’s excellent. There are some good finds I want to highlight… mainly the new accessories brand, North & Sparrow designed by a Brit graphic designer, named Andy Clarke, who lives in Hong Kong. We will be interviewing him soon. I believe he just showed up recently at The Hub HK and BluePrint Singapore.
Another cool thing I saw was this old school Heritage high-end menswear bag label, called Leon Flam. Not many people know about it just yet, but it’s distribution is mostly in France.
I really like the helmet bags.
Noted it’s not a Hong Kong-based independent brand. But without the PMQ, importers would have to rely on big department stores like Lane Crawford or Harvey Nichols to get some visible representation here. And I think the non-Lane Crawford route is a good win for consumers who are looking for more variety.
The Hong Kong based gift box company, Babaobox, was also here at the PMQ. Theirs is a curated gift box with real design and art products by actual art and design practitioners based in Hong Kong. For example if you get Babaobox Edition 1, you get original work and products from Michael Leung and Wilton Ip / Artonomos. Edition 2, titled “Obsessions”, gets you original art (a rug with rabbit poo and piss print) by highly celebrated artist, Adrian Wong and his wife, a textile seamstress, Samantha Reid. The box itself can be made into a sculptural object using tools provided by its designers, architects Marisa Yiu and Eric Shuldenfrei of ESKYIU.
Not a bad gift for yourself or for someone else for 999HKD! I mean… Original Art and Design, people! A collectible!
After the PMQ we headed up next door to say hi to my friend, Chef Mai Chow, at her SUPER FAMOUS and SUPER DELICIOUS bao stand, Little Bao.
She and her partner, Samantha Wong, from Little Square Street, were hosting a full on event for VANS (the shoes), with a block party, and a limited day-only menu which consisted of a 3-blend Angus Beef Bao Burger, Mirin Caramel Fires with sprinkles of furikake, and a delicious PBJ Ice Cream Bao (with Szechuan Strawberry Sauce.)
I mean…like what else can I say? Nothing. It’s sublime food.
And this fashion family, Thierry, an expectant mom Ingrid, and Charlotte, a blog stylista plus app developer of the super successful SPOTTLY app (which will be debuting in two weeks for Android, yay.)
To finish the day, a few of us went to PMQ’s Aberdeen Street Social for a sunset sundowner, namely to drink a spicy Whisky based cocktail. Delicious. (That’s an Adrian Wong piece in the back… the barber parlor lights.)
PMQ, and surrounding businesses… lots to offer for those looking for style and design from independent business owners with a cup of coffee a good bao in Hong Kong.
#theWanderlist: A Guide To Sartorial Style in Hong Kong
Well the cat’s out of the bag. My boss and an co-worker just walked up to me yesterday at the studio telling me that they just saw my video (above) in the Hong Kong Airport’s video screens and wondered why that was. Yes, there are people out there that don’t read this blog, or could care less what I do after hours… and most those people work with me. Which is great. So when they do let me know that they’ve seen me on Airport screens, it’s a bit funny to me.
About that video… this past summer I collaborated with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and producers at Singapore’s LiTV, to create some content for Hong Kong’s new global AD Campaign in Asia as well as to mark the arrival of the city’s new concierge app, MY HONG KONG GUIDE.
The campaign, themed around the caption, My Time for Renewal, takes three guys; Celebrity Chef Alvin Leung, Model / Host Jason Godfrey, and Me, and introduces audiences to our favorite spots all over Hong Kong. Alvin tells carnivores where to get their fill of beef, Jason tells tourists how best to explore the city while getting the right amount of sun, and I teach guys where (in my opinion) is the best place to source a uniquely bespoke look. If you’d like to follow my Sartorial guide through this city… you can watch the video, use the itinerary on the app, and read the post below for more information about each of my Hong Kong menswear destinations I truly support and recommend.
+ ELEMENTS OF A SUIT // Sham Shui Po District
You can begin your sartorial adventure by sourcing your own fabrics, lining material, and buttons at the (in)famous Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong. This little district is one of the poorest and most dense locations of public housing estates. However, it is also a destination for Electronic geeks looking for rare imports (prices are not that cheap), and Fashion designers looking to source materials and other items for their creations. I definitely know fellow blogger, Geneva, DIY blogger A Pair and A Spare comes here almost every week, and so does Paola, designer of her label, Tangram. Most recently, artist Michael Leung had formulated a Night Market Project initiative at Sham Shui Po, which you can read about here.
So much on offer here, it can be overwhelming.
However, for those who are brave enough to venture…
Will find plenty of very cool items to choose from.
So many shops line the streets for your sourcing needs.
With tons of fabric options for all your different suits.
For the sake of sourcing for the suit, there are a few areas on the street and some shops that do sell fabric for the outer shell and a suit’s lining. However, your tailor will also have a selection on offer. I suggest readers to come only to Sham Shui Po if only they have something particular that you are in search of, are trying to save a few bucks on material, or are looking for fabric for suit accessories like additional dress pants or dress shirts.
Remember, suiting fabric comes in various types beyond the Multi-Blend, Wool, or Polyester suits you are used to. Depending on the time of year or the event, you may opt for cotton, flannel, herringbone, linen, poplin, seersucker, or tweed.
+ BEST OF THE SPECS // Woo Ping Optical Co. in North Point
After Sham Shui Po, we ventured over to the iconic Mom & Pop owned, Woo Ping Optical, in North Point. This place has been around since 1974… and at arrival, I immediately noticed that nothing about that place has changed since the Seventies! Most notably, a really vibrant lady dressed in forever ‘81 (as in 1981), is always there to offer great customer service to all who visit.
At Woo Ping, they sell plenty of used and new Ray Bans from different eras (Generic, Japanese, and US Only models), and a bunch of retro Japanese glasses that still are very much back in vogue today.
The nice lady, Ms. Chan,… one half of Woo Ping Optical.
As it stands, frozen in time. Thank goodness.
Retro is now back in. You got the memo?
Which Japanese frames did I get? Guess.
The other half of Woo Ping Optical who refuses to get his photo taken.
I bought a pair of Japanese handcrafted green tortoise shell specs and prescription lenses to fit in. The perfect pair cost me around 400 hkd… TOTAL. Take that Lens Crafters!
Some behind the scenes of the updated Moustache shop.
Really excited to ‘design’ this summer wool jacket with Ellis and Alex.
The difference between a suit from Moustache and a suit from a tailor in TST, is that Ellis and Alex are real masters of the perfect “cut” with an eye focused on current fashion trends and styling. Meaning, you will most likely get a suit that is maybe a bit more playful and fashion forward with a cut that is right for your body type (ie. slimming), vs. a suit based off of a generic paper template which is easily adjustable for different measurements. The difference is a look that is 2014 versus 1984.
Moustache will also give the customer options for all types of outer shell and lining combinations, stitching types, collar and lapel shapes, pockets, vents, pleats, cuffs… really it’s like being part of a fashion designer’s process. While this may initially seem overwhelming, it’s really not, because Ellis explains the whole process so easily and he’s got a form he writes on to make it seem like everyone is putting together specs for a new race car or something. Plus, there are also some guys out there that don’t want the selection of 5 materials that everyone is forced to gorge on when getting a generic tailored suit or jacket. My summer suit is actually made of a lightweight maroon thin wool material, and lined with a lime green and black polka-dot lining. I originally ordered golden buttons, but ended up with red wool covered buttons. The whole look is comfortable, casual, and modern. These guys are so easy to work with and the suit is ready in about 4 weeks with two visits total before the pick up.
+ IF THE SHOE FITS // Shoe Artistry in Mongkok
Before we ventured back to Hong Kong side from Kowloon, we stopped over in a non-descript Mongkok building to visit Shoe Artistry located on the 2nd Level. Shoe Artistry is Hong Kong’s premier studio for handmade measure-to-make shoes and it’s founder, Central Saint Martins graduate Kit Lee, is a very passionate artisan.
Kit started Shoe Artistry as a way to help a friend find a way to make her own bespoke shoe to celebrate finishing her final degree. In the process they were able to discover the iconic MING KEE shoe makers in Jordan, and his collaboration with MING KEE allows Kit to find a new generation of consumers looking to create a bespoke shoe.
Very low-key shopfront, but Shoe Artistry is the best in Handmade shoes.
Colors and styles on offer make everything “on trend”.
Loving this shoe wall.
All the shoe forms for each client on the long shelf.
The difference between a hand made shoe and high priced Italian brand, is that at the end of the day, mass-produced shoes are designed to fit a variety of feet sizes and are most likely partly built by machines, whereas shoes at Shoe Artistry are 100% handmade, and are based off a hand drawing of your own unique foot. Shoes at Shoe Artistry are not cheap and run from about 250 to 500 USD depending on the complexity of the style. However, a bespoke shoe really does finish a bespoke suit quite nicely, AND the artisanal shoe’s design are custom made for each individual gentleman.
+ OLD FASHIONED BAR // Tai Lung Fung in Wanchai
Not really menswear or sartorial related, but since we’re on the right wavelength… a well suited man certainly will find himself right at home here at Tai Lung Fung, a watering hole tucked away behind the historic Stone Nullah Blue House. The chill space is actually more of a local then a destination bar, however its nostalgic decor and refreshing version of a Whiskey Old Fashioned makes this place a perfect night that is uniquely one-of-a-kind in Hong Kong.
That’s definitely where we ended, and I’m glad that we did. I can still taste that whiskey drink. Go before dinner or after (not during.)
SHOP Sham Shui Po . Exit Sham Shui Po Station / SHOP Woo Ping Optical Company . GF, 278 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong . T: +852-25717810 / WEAR Moustache . GF, 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan . T: +852-25411955 / WEAR Shoe Artistry . Office 4, 2F Prosperity Building, 61 Tung Choi Street, Kowloon . T: +852-27966018 / DRINK Tai Lung Fung . 5 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong . T: +852-25720055
The project, part of Canali’s 200 Stepsseries of videos and interviews published on L’Edizione, the brand’s editorial platform, aims to interview “male professionals” like myself from all around the world in a monthly series of videos and oral interviews examining each gentleman’s processes and craft. Each of the talent interviewed is dressed by Canali in tailored wear for that season, and is focused less on the 80-year old brand and more on the interviewees, their work, and inspiration.
Each 200 Steps story is created within a day’s shooting, and culminates in a 2-3 minute interview film, a 30-second “Word Association” film, and a full Q+A article explaining the full context behind each gentleman’s work. I was told that brand director, and a third generation Canali, Ms. Elisabetta Canali, picks the interviewees herself for the global website. I, for one, was surprised to have met her myself at the interview shoot here in Hong Kong. She’s quite cool in person, and was very “hands-on”… really overseeing the whole entire process.
For my story, Canali’s team wanted to focus on a designer-blogger’s thinking in relation to curation and the formulation of a story or perspective for the digital space. In order to express what I do and how this translates with tactility on film, their production team imagined a large square white canvas to hang centrally within the space… and throughout the two minute video, that canvas get’s filled with images i’ve taken over the years that have been placed on my various social media outlets thus far.
At first I was unsure, since i’ve only known my work to exist in a certain format online, and certainly not on a “white canvas”, however once i’ve spoken with their London team on the phone, and after they themselves have sent me mood board pegs of example “treatments”, portrait shots, and other reference concepts, I quickly got around to enjoying playing around with how they wanted to frame this whole thing to fit both me, my story, and their format.
Anyway, the rest is history as they say!
Some Behind-The-Scenes Photographs from our shoot….
The “White Canvas” at the start of the evening….
Gradually filling up slowly…
The canvas wasn’t allowed to sway back and forth, so the crew really took great pains to secure it on the set.
Each time a photograph was placed on the canvas, it was captured on film… sometimes two or three times.
The Director, Jon Clements, was really detail oriented as to the composition of the photographs on the canvas…
The production team at London’s Spring Creative, plus the brand team at Canali, picked out the all the photographs from all my social media accounts to be placed on this White Canvas. To be honest, when I started the website and the whole “Wanderlister” thing a few years ago… placing all these images online, there was no way I would have anticipated any of this to come to fruition from the content, that up to this point… i’ve only kept on the Digital Space.
Their team picked out the photographs to cover the five topics on my website; Architecture, Art, Design, Food, and Life/Style.
Taking a step back, seeing it all up there (I put up each of the photographs myself)… it was really something to see.
To step back and have all these things jump out from the computer, and be composed in the physical space like this was really cool, weird, strange, and in a way… a general cosmic affirmation of the whole thing that I do. Very interesting how it takes a collaboration with a big global brand, to really force one to assess and define their work. I definitely did some soul searching by doing this interview with Canali. Most of what I said was off-the-cuff, which surprised even myself. It’s like “A-ha”, so that’s what being an Architect by day, and a blogger by night in Asia is all about. It’s even news to me.
So for that, I thank Elisabetta Canali, the whole Canali House in Milan, and the guys Spring Creative in London for such a great opportunity. I really learned about myself though all of this as well.
Other 200 Steps profiles include the brand’s new Creative Consultant, fashion designer, Andrea Pompilo…
A wet and rain-soaked weekend is coming up, so I thought I’d share with you photos from two of my favorite Sunday brunch joints in Hong Kong… you know just in case those junk boating plans fall through. Whenever Sunday rolls around, everyone always asks the same question… What is the best brunch in Hong Kong??? And if you’re like me, you think it’s a Google search away, when in reality, the information you’d get online as feedback could even be more painful to get through. Let me help.
The “Best brunch” depends on a lot of factors for different people. Some are all about “views” and some are about “ambiance”. For me, that criteria is important, however in addition, I find the most important elements of a great Sunday brunch is that A. It has to be Western (unless it’s outright dimsum which is fine), B. It’s gotta serve amazing juice, coffee, and bloody maries, C. Eggs. It’s gotta serve eggs or eggy dishes well, and lastly D. The special Added extra something that only a unique restaurant can provide… and its not necessarily champagne. (Though that’s an easy tack on that’s very welcome.)
+ “Old World Becomes New Classic” // The Principal
The Principal, is one of Hong Kong’s classic hidden gems, located on a little tucked-in corner on Star Street. The restaurant, owned by the Press Room Group, IS a destination that doubles as a sleepy neighborhood locale. The interiors are fresh, clean, and crisp… and earthy. Reflected ceiling is in timber, the back wall is clad in light clay brick tiling, and the seating in a light beige and brown madras with a slight blue-grey tint. Tables all have a bit of plant life in a clay pot, everything seems very… mediterranean. The design for the fit out, by Australian studio, Hecker Guthrie, serves as a nice and subtle backdrop for the restaurant’s offerings, delicacies reminiscent of old world flavors, but adapted for a modern, urban palate which expects innovation.
Executive Chef, Jonay Armas, honed his craft in Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain, including La Terraza del Casino and El Chaflan in Madrid, and El Raco de Can Fabes in Barcelona. Regularly, meals at The Principal come in three “travel” inspired set menus, but for the Sunday Brunch, it’s the world’s buffet… direct to your table.
The menu begins with a “Picnic”, when the waiter brings to your table a wicker basket filled with items and things in glass jars, tin cans, and cheese wrapped in paper. Items in the basket, which are then carefully laid out on the table include; a Strawberry and rhubarb yoghurt mousse, cold cuts and cheese, liver pate, Moroccan-inspired hummus, Anchovies in Vinegar-garlic-olive oil, and freshly baked bread.
For some people in Europe, that’s it for Brunch… but if you’re a guest at the Principal, like me and my sister were… it’s the first course of a six course meal.
For the rest of the meal (you know, it’s 6 courses like I said), we were served a delicious ceviche, tempura made of seasonal vegetables, eggs cooked sunny side up in front of us and served with free range bacon, and lastly for savory, the Sunday Roast… a Spanish suckling pig served “Korean Style”, wrapped in lettuce.
And of course, there’s no full meal without… Desserts!
These beautiful creations include cakes that taste like Snickers Bars, frozen raspberries with pop rocks, Pina Colada Profiteroles, chocolate meringue lollipops, and of course… Churros. Delicious.
Service at The Principal is extremely on point, and attentive. And for a price of 740HKD, the six course Sunday Brunch also comes with bottomless Champagne (a Brut Le Mesnil-sur-Oger), a selection of Wine /Beer, Juices, fancy water, and Graffeo Coffee or Harney and Sons Teas. NOT BAD. Great even!
+ “Dockside and Farm Fresh Simplicty” // Fish & Meat
Fish & Meat is definitely one of my most favorite new restaurants in Hong Kong. Not only is it designed by one HK-based designer I admire (and whom I had the pleasure of interviewing before), Ben McCarthy of Charlie & Rose, but the Fish AND the Steak are both equally divine… at least for dinner! I was recently invited to taste the new brunch menu which has just launched last month… and it’s just not any other brunch menu… it’s brunch… with the addition of a BUTTERMILK. PANCAKE. STATION. I kid you not.
For mains on offer here (besides the Buttermilk Pancake Station itself with homemade toppings like Vanilla Cream and Caramel Sauce)… is an Organic poached egg Brioche with Truffle, Pan Fried Sea Bream with fennel and green pea puree, Organic Sunny Side Eggs, and a Cedar River Prime Sirloin… to name a few of what our table consumed.
Unlike The Principal, Fish & Meat is really visible to its neighborhood location on the corner of Glenealy and Wyndham Street, with the right amount of glazing on both sides to let plenty of sunshine in, and vantages to the city out. Ambiance? Design? Check. Views? Check.
Fish and Meat’s general philosophy, a sensitivity towards “farm to table” methods of sourcing, preparation, and serving are all on point even for Sunday Brunch and is evident. It really feels like you’re being served farm fresh food in a farm fresh environment. Compared to The Principal, you can get more relaxed here and be a little bit louder… but then again, it depends on what kind of mood you want for Sunday Brunch.
I also had my fill of the “Cold Buffet”, a selection of fresh oysters and mussels, and a few salads made of beetroot gravlax, crab, watercress, squash, asparagus, and even the basic Ceasar is also available. There’s a delicious farfalle pasta in red pesto and burrata also on offer for those carb-inclined.
Service at Fish & Meat is also quite good and personable, and generally matches the menu’s casual attitude. The mains are delicious, but you know… if you can do it… have the the Steak or the eggs. You won’t regret it!
So that’s my brunch wrap up, a picture summary of my two favorite brunch places. It’s not too sceney nor is it overwhelming. They’re both buffets on an intimate scale, and with each having their own unique offerings. If you check out any one of these brunch places this weekend, be sure to tag me on Instagram @theWanderlister, so I can inspect and comment on all your delicious #SundayBrunch #FoodPorn.
EAT The Principal . 9 Star Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong . T: +852-25633444 / EAT Fish & Meat, 32 Wyndham Mansions, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852-25656788