DESIGN NOTES: Restaurant in Historic Building, A Must-See Style Destination

Aberdeen Street Social may have been operating for a few months now, but I bet you haven’t seen photos like these of the new Restaurant/Cafe/Bar’s design concept by award-winning, Shanghai based, Neri & Hu Design Research Office. The just-released images of the restaurant’s interiors reflect the unique collaboration between the designers, Lyndon Neri and Rosanna Hu, with the restaurant’s founder, Yenn Wong, with Michelin-rated star, Chef Jason Atherton. To add more creativity to the mix, the whole bar/restaurant is situated in a re-appropriated historic building which used to house the Junior Police Clubhouse and Junior School within the just opened, Police Married Quarters (PMQ) Design complex. Plus at the Cafe’s entrance on ground floor, guests won’t miss a fantastic new interactive art piece, by 2014 Sovereign Asian Art Prize winner, Adrian Wong, of a series of octagonal barber shop poles on a clover mosaic, pieces which are reclaimed from a residence within the PMQ itself.

The concept for the interiors and the restaurant is all about creating an inclusive environment of convivial social get-togethers over meals, cocktails, and dessert. The ground floor is defined by its large bar and cake display, plus two rows of tables for groups of any size, while the dining room upstairs is for more intimate experiences, with all tables enhanced by bespoke pendant lamps. An outdoor patio, a room length balcony, and a garden terrace framing the property allows guests to stretch out within this special urban oasis.

To complete the social experience, the Managers are outfitted in Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers, a line designed especially by award-winning designer, Thom Browne.

via Lyndon Neri, principal designer:

"We decided to rejuvenate the convivial spirit within the ancillary building of what was once the Junior Police Clubhouse (JPC) and Junior school at PMQ by creating an ambient atmosphere to encourage creative minds to gather and interact with each other."

This isn’t the first time Neri & Hu has worked with Yenn Wong, check out their other collaborative projects here.

EAT Aberdeen Street Social . JPC, GF 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong (entrance at Hollywood Road intersection of Aberdeen Street) . T: +852.28660300 . Reservations are necessary / DESIGN Neri & Hu

JJ.

#JJStyle: J.Crew’s Crosby Cuts Slim Suits For The Big Guy

Newly opened J.Crew has had a specialized suiting store for its successful “Ludlow” line of suits for some time now. The Level 3 Suiting Shop in the On Lan Street location has everything one needs from a casual suit to a black tie affair, plus a more personalized custom service if needed… that is if you look good in Ludlow. And fortunately for my friend, DJ Angus Wong, while it looks great on a long and lean guy like him, it looks awfully awkard on a big and stocky guy like me. And now that i’m working that much harder in the gym, the Ludlow suit won’t get closer to the ‘right’ fit.

This month, J.Crew finally makes a slim cut suit for the Big Guys like us, with hopefully a new iconic line… “The Crosby”. Now available in only 17 shops around the world (including Hong Kong) plus online, the initial line will come in 4 styles for the coming fall plus two Online-Only styles in a herringbone and wool flannel. Other things to note, the Crosby is especially designed for an Athletic fit (think Don Draper), which means extra rooms in key areas like arms, chest, legs, and a slightly wider lapel. Other details in the Crosby borrow from the Ludlow. The fabric in the suit come from some of the more respected mills around the world, with key details finished by hand.

For the first campaign, J.Crew suited up the New York Knights rugby team to show how great a Crosby suit looks on a bulkier body. The jackets are around 4,000 HKD while the pants are around 2,200 HKD.

WEAR J.Crew, The Suit Shop . 9 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES:  Your Own Working Loft Space In Chai Wan, Finally

With more and more creative start ups, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and freelancers in the city, investors in Hong Kong are finally giving some of these non-corporate dreamers a stab at an atypical non-corporate kind of working environment to cater to this niche, but steadily growing market of self employed heroes. In the last few years we’ve seen spaces like The Hive, Regus, or Garage pop up in Central… but sometimes even then, these things get too crowded or too corporate.

That said some of us have friends who work in these big loft spaces in Chai Wan or Wong Chuk Hang, and are completely envious of their free-wheeling artsy lives. Well envy no more… now launched in Chai Wan is a new “New York like” decorated loft space about 3000 square foot large designed just for future-space-starved-free-wheelers. Puerta del Sol, as it is called, co founded by Harold de Puymorin with two other partners, aims to offer a new kind of hot desk venue, that allows community engagement plus admin services to anybody in need of such a space.

Designers, Artists, Architects, Photographers, Writers, PR gurus, heck even accountants, are all welcome here. Plus Puerta del Sol can aid members with Business Registrations, VISAs, marketing, legal, and accounting services. Anyway to lift freelancers of the ground… which is great for a whopping 1,888 HKD a month of membership don’t you think?

"Open Hearts, Open Minds" is the Puerta del Sol motto… I care more about "Open Space" and "Open Community", and in Hong Kong where that’s hardly on offer, hopefully the "scene" proposed at Puerta del Sol is the answer we’ve all been looking for.

Plus the loft’s design looks completely amazing.

VISIT Puerta del Sol Hong Kong . Reality Tower, 4 Sun On Street, Unit 8 D, Siu Sai Wan, Hong Kong

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: A Compact Cafe, Nespresso Wins Red Dot Award

In my house, like the bachelor that I am, I can make you anything you want… as long as it’s whisky straight up or coffee. That’s it. (Well I just added Protein shakes to the menu. If you’re into that kind of thing.) For Whisky, I can give you scotch or something from Japan. For coffee, it’s an Illy Espresso, beans from a plunger, or my personal favorite… a Livanto, Carmelito, Vanilio, or Arpeggio blend from Nespresso.

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I’ve been a big fan of Nespresso since the product became more global in the early 2000’s. (The first patent for the machine was in 1996, while the Nespresso system itself was invented in 1976?!!?) I’ve had a few of their machines in the last decade. We even have one in my design office.

Anyway, this July, Nespresso Hong Kong sent me a surprise gift, a whopping brand new Nespresso Inissia machine with an accompanying Aeroccino milk frother in black. Pretty cool. In addition they sent me a box of  almost each of the 22 Grand Crus in their current library. For those who are not in Nespresso, there maybe a chance you’ve just had a Grand Cru flavour that just didn’t taste right for you. For example, hotels with machines usually carry the Fortissio Lungo, Ristretto, Decaffeinato, Indriya from India, or Cosi… all the flavours I do not like, is too bitter, or is too bland…. in my personal opinion. If it wasn’t for this box of samples, I wouldn’t have been able to discover new flavours beyond the Arpeggio, Kazaar, Capriccio, or Roma, which I drink. If you’re confused by all these names, dont be… the best thing to do if you’re curious about Nespresso, is to A) go to the new Flagship store in the IFC everyday and get free samples at the Espresso bar (I dare you), or B), buy a box of samples from Nespresso and write a little note, like I do, after you taste each one to rate / discover your favourite ones. (Obviously i’m obsessed.)

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Other things to note… the new Inissia machine now available in Hong Kong and Asia, is the recipient of the prestigious annual Red Dot Award 2014 for best Product Design. The machine, designed by Antoine Cahen’s Les Atelier du Nord from Switzerland, is apparently a result of designers and engineers working together in close cooperation. This featherweight machine is very light and compact, the base only measuring 23x12 CM. The design is also focused on ergonomics and user interface. The handle opens and closes the machine, and one two buttons press for two different quantities of coffee, simple as that. The Jury prized the Inissia for reducing the machine to base essentials of use, and it’s small compact size makes it ideal for small kitchens… including those we are used to in Hong Kong.

You can actually play with the machine at the newly opened flagship in the IFC mall in Central Hong Kong. In addition, the IFC has various models of the Inissia in various colours.

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Also the IFC Flagship for Nespresso can teach you how to make simple coffees, to more complex drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, caramel macchiatos, and even their 2014 summer drinks like the “Tropical Mango Coffee”.

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That said i’d like to note that NOT EVERYONE IS A FAN OF NESPRESSO because of its potential contribution to waste (as with all other cartridge-based consumer product out there).

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This BUZZFEED article that an angry friend sent me pretty much outlines why people refuse to have this or other coffee-pod machines at home. This article from “Zero Waste Europe” is better at explaining what is going on with capsule waste, coffee’s organic waste, and the environment. I suggest you read these articles too if you plan on being a responsible owner of a Nespresso Machine.  

Nespresso is not for everyone, but I like it… and that said, it’s my responsibility as a consumer to make sure I dispose of these capsules, as much as i take care in recycling my waste papers and plastics at home and work. Online there’s more information from Nespresso about their collection and recycling methods per region, and at the store there’s a big BIG area all about capsule waste issues and a collection area for your used capsules, plus capsule bags for you to take home. Make sure to store all  your used capsules in these bags in your fridge to keep the whole thing from getting overly moldy.

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I guess I want to re-iterate… if you buy a Nespresso machine because like me, you like it so much… or drive a car, or own a dog, or purchase a house, or drink from water bottles daily, or take lots flights… be a responsible owner, and think of your waste, your carbon foot print, your plants, pets, and everything else. Just use common sense, and think of recycling your used pods.

Back to the Nespresso flagship… in a way, the IFC Flagship store is a design haven for the brand. On offer are all the different types of Nespresso machines, including the higher end machinew with more vintage looks.

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Also on offer for fans are cups, glasses, and Travel mugs.

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It’s Delicious. But Drink Responsibly. Recycle Them!

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VISIT Nespresso IFC Mall . Shop 1058, Podium 1, ifc Mall, HK Central / DESIGN Les Ateliers du Nord  

JJ.

#JJStyle: Hong Kong’s Fierce Finest in Style-Off

This Sunday and for the next five Sundays after, the new PMQ (Police Married Quarters) in Hong Kong’s chic SOHO District, will be hosting the brand new Design Market @ PMQ, an initiative created to provide a platform for the city’s emerging independent designers to showcase and sell their products on a regular basis.

To support the initiative, Hong Kong’s fiercest and most stylish movers and shakers have banded together to create a “Style-Off” ad campaign, not only by celebrating the featured designer’s own creations, but also by taking part in an editorial shoot with PMQ’s architecture as a backdrop.

From top to bottom, the participating influencers include, amazing fashion blogger, CarrieBloomwood aka. Carrie Kwok, writer Christophe Wong, the Refinery’s creative director, Elizabeth Lau, Vogue China’s contributing fashion editor (my girl) Grace Lam, stylist Jasmine Smith, and Art Director Kenneth Wong.

According to Design Market, the campaign was formulated to raise awareness of young and emerging designers and to give advice to the general public on how to “Change Your Fashion Perspective” by experimenting with new styles and designs (aka. HK there’s more to fashion than Giordano and Comme Des Garcons!) 

Different Designers’ key pieces are mixed and match to create unique bespoke looks for each of the influencers in the shoot.

Future dates for Design Market @ PMQ, are Sunday August 24, October, 5, October 12, November 2, and November 9, 2014.

VISIT Design Market @ PMQ . 35 Aberdeen Street Social, Central Hong Kong

JJ.

#theWanderlist: Art Pops With Food at BIBO

When I first started writing this blog about four years ago, one of the initial goals with theWanderlister+ was to elevate Hong Kong’s cool subculture must-sees to a level where everyone who was interested about the city’s most stylishly cool and creative hotspots, can find it easily. When theWanderlister+ began, there were a few options for a blog post, and now many years later… I can’t even keep track of what this city has now on offer. This is how much Hong Kong has changed over time, and now I am in a situation where i’m only blogging about new restaurants like Nouveau French restaurants like BIBO months since it opened its snazzy gold doors in April. That said, I wish I’ve covered it sooner. Here’s why.

BIBO is one one of those “Wanderlister-ish” destination restaurants i’ve been wanting to try for a long time, but the obvious pile up of flashy street art (as could be seen through the restaurant’s shopfront windows on Upper Lascar Row aka. Cat Street) just seemed too intimidating and overwhelming. However, whoever the owners of BIBO are, they definitely paid quite a hefty sum to get some of the world’s “IT” pop-street artists to work on some site-specific pieces in the space. While Facebook Hong Kong is making controversy as news spreads regarding their practice of seemingly ripping off of local artists’ works to serve their interior design, BIBO meanwhile makes proud statements that they paid for their art which is admirable. The Global artists on display here are not only given a permanent stage in the city, but they are being compensated for their equally visible work.

Facebook has works that look like the King of Kowloon’s on their walls, but BIBO has an actual piece by the deceased local artist! And for sure Hong Kong makes Facebook makes way more moolah than Bibo can ever see from this city.

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Other works at BIBO that are impactful, include a huge etched portrait in concrete by Vhills aka Alexandre Farto. And to the right of that some stylistic graffiti work by German artist, Stohead.

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A major presence in the main dining room and visible from the lane outside is a large timber sculpture from KAWS. I thought it was a tad ostentatious when passing by, but after sitting in the dining room, I realised that its big scale actually works for the space.

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Several other pieces to note are some video-game inspired graphics by guerilla artist, Invader, as well as a few quiet pieces by Banksy.

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Men, if you use the urinal, you’ll be having an intimate moment with a Damien Hirst’s pills.

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Outside the WC’s… a rare hand drawing by deceased American artist, Keith Haring.

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And even up to now, according to management, there are still new acquisitions only days or weeks old, as the space’s design and decor is apparently in a constant state of flux based on acquisition and inclusion of new pieces. Accent works by Murakami, Kusama, Basquiat, and Shepard Fairy line the bar and the library reading areas.

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If you’re a fan of BIBO’s bar and cocktails like I am, you’ll be having another moment with JR’s pensive eyes. JR was last in the city via a collaborative show with Galerie Perrotin here.

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There’s just so much visual stimuli here. It’s great actually. Like this work by Jonone.

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If I have to be critical about something, and I believe there’s always room for improvement about everything… it’s that there needs to be work thats representational of Hong Kong’s own art scene, NOW. And like the food and the wine (which are amazing by the way), everything at BIBO is an imported culture of “cool”. That’s my only gripe, which is an important point to make.

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I went to a press dinner with lifestyle writer extraordinaire, Johannes Pong, and my friend Ann-Marie, who is a secret chef and a critical foodie, and she and I both agreed, the food and service at BIBO is completely excellent. And she is super critical, so I trust her view on everything food.

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Everything on offer is the work of Chef Mutaro Balde (formerly of Alain Ducasse at The Plaza Athenee) who is in charge of creating food that is French, Continental, Playful, and Innovative. Highlights of our meal include a very tasty Vegetarian Salad made of figs, artichokes, and asparagus, an anchovy and parmesan mac and cheese, and the l’oeuf mayo’ which is an egg with creamy yolk. We also tried something called ‘la Saint Jacques’ which is a dish of scallops with fresh pesto garnish, and a ‘foie gras poele’, a foie gras pan seared on grenadine-poached rhubarb.

BIBO has a comprehensive wine list and an amazing house sommelier by the name of Wallace Lo, who recently won Best Sommelier of Hong Kong 2014. Price wise, if you were to do dinner from starters to dessert, and pair it all with wine, a night at BIBO can set you back at about 1500-2000 HKD a person. That said, the food and the ‘underground art gallery’ ambiance are worth the visit if you’re looking to create a unique urban dinner experience for yourself.

We’re all definitely returning real soon.

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EAT BIBO . GF 163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan . T: +852-256 3188

JJ.

Interfacing Western and Eastern Identities, Works by Gongkar Gyatso

From 18 September to November, Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong will unveil a brand new show displaying work of Gonkar Gyatso, one of Tibet’s “pre-eminent contemporary artist”, whose work is focused on bridging both Eastern and Western culture via tongue in cheek compositions which speak to viewers from both sides of the globe.

For Pop Phraseology, Gyatso will combine references to traditional Tibetan life with that of the mass-media culture. The interfacing is the sum of works that will be on display, a collection that Gyatso does on both his 2D and 3D pieces.

Via Gallerist Pearl Lam:

Gyatso is deeply moved by the need to preserve and celebrate his own culture and just as artists like Judy Chicago, who seeks to make the vernacular of womanhood part of our discourse, or Glenn Ligon, who works to talk about Black Identity in America, or Yinka Shonibare, who uses the textiles of his heritage to address issues of colonialism, Gyatso inserts Buddhist and Tibetan iconography into our daily lives. They all ask, where is our place? What is our role? And, where are we going from here? It is a fascinating and inspiring discourse to be engaged in.

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From Top to Bottom: Wisdom of the 1% (2013) 60x40in, Meditations In and Out of Love (2014) 60x60in, Pendulum of Autonomy (2014) 60x80in, Untitled - Silver Base (2014) 60x80in, Untitled - Blue Base (2012) 16x18x12in.

VISIT ‘Pop Phraseology’ a Gonkar Gyatso Solo Exhibition . 18 SEP – NOV 2014 . Pearl Lam Galleries, 6F, 12 Pedder Street, Central, HK

JJ.

#JJStyle: Three Words. MISCHA. Camo. Collection.

As a long time fan, friend, and supporter of MISCHA’s founder/designer, Michelle Lai, i’m very pleased to announce the arrival of an amazing new capsule line she’s created that’s adventurous, innovative, yet still very “on-brand”, dubbed The Camo Collection. 

The Camo Collection retains MISCHA’s signature hexagonal graphic prints, but splatters it all with a new fluid camouflage motif defined by a traditional muted green, but with vibrant pops of color to mix it up. With the new Camo Collection, MISCHA not only breaks out of the brand’s two-tone japanese-inspired motif of the full-on hexagon shape wallpapering the bags, but she may also have to get used to a new kind of clientele… men.

While there have been talks about a 100% menswear collection from MISCHA for a long time (and there still might be in the foreseeable future), this Camo Collection does a great job catering to both women and men who are already big fans of the MISCHA product and aesthetic. That said I expect the line to gain a few MORE fans as well. Much More. The look and the print is something I have not seen in the market, which I think only works here because of the hexagon pattern giving the whole print a really cool base to play off of.

To further celebrate the arrival of the capsule line, MISCHA collaborates with both Lane Crawford and Kapok to supply the shops with limited edition pieces designed exclusively for each store. A limited edition Messenger Backpack (not shown on this post) will be available at all Lane Crawford stores from August 2014 and a special Kapok version of the “Jet Set Tote” featuring Kapok-exclusive colourways and details will also be available at the same time.

I know what I want…  definitely “the Voyager Duffel”, its the best way to escape in style. 

WEAR MISCHA

JJ.

#JJStyle: 200 Steps With Canali - Behind The Scenes

JJ Acuna interview for 200 Steps, Canali.com from Canali on Vimeo.

Before I procrastinate even further this month, since i’m (as of today) quite backlogged on so much work in general… I wanted to put everything on hold and take a moment to give a big warm THANK YOU and show my gratitude to the Italian suiting brand, Canali, for reaching out to us all the way here in Asia for a secret project that we’ve been working on together since March 2014 this year... a profile collaboration for their global web portal, Canali.com.

The project, part of Canali’s 200 Steps series 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.

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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!

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Some Behind-The-Scenes Photographs from our shoot….

The “White Canvas” at the start of the evening….

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Gradually filling up slowly…

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The canvas wasn’t allowed to sway back and forth, so the crew really took great pains to secure it on the set.

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Each time a photograph was placed on the canvas, it was captured on film… sometimes two or three times.

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The Director, Jon Clements, was really detail oriented as to the composition of the photographs on the canvas…

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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.

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Taking a step back, seeing it all up there (I put up each of the photographs myself)… it was really something to see. 

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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.

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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.

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Other 200 Steps profiles include the brand’s new Creative Consultant, fashion designer, Andrea Pompilo

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Design duo, Barber and Osgerby

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Stage actor, Tony Stephens

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And Typographical artist, Job Wouters.

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Check out our FULL INTERVIEW with Canali via 200 Steps plus our “Words Association” Video.

WEAR Canali . Wheelock House, Shop C, Ground Floor, 20 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852 2918 1745

JJ.

#theWanderlist: F11 Photographic Museum Opens in Happy Valley, Housed in Restored Art Deco Structure

Here’s something new in the neighborhood, the F11 Photographic Museum located in Happy Valley Hong Kong will mark its official opening with a Best in Show exhibition by legendary American photographer, Elliott Erwitt, who will himself attend the museum’s launch on September 18th. Erwitt is expected to sign copies of his latest book, Regarding Women that same week.

Best in Show is curated by the museum’s owner, Douglas So who is a former corporate lawyer and philanthropist, and photography expert, India Dhargalkar, and will feature over 50 original photographs from Erwitt’s collection.

“Our vision for F11 Photographic Museum is to generate interest in photography and an appreciation for the art form,” explains So. “We do this through our curated collection of rare cameras, books and prints. In choosing to house the museum in a Grade III historic building, we also hope to encourage more private conservation and revitalisation of Hong Kong’s heritage properties.”

The new museum occupies a three-storey Art Deco ex-residential building, newly restored in the neighborhood’s Yuk Sau Street. The ground and first floors are expected to house exhibitions, while the second floor will be a private museum to showcase… a VAST DISPLAY OF LEICA CAMERAS, including a Model A Anastigmat from 1925… which was the first year Leitz sold cameras to the public. The upper level of the museum will be home to over 1000 titles from the Magnum Book collection, including many rare and first signed editions and maquettes… available to the public for research purposes.

VISIT Elliott Erwitt’s ‘Best In Show’ Exhibition at the  F11 Photographic Museum 18 September to 30 November . 11 Yuk Sau Street, Happy Valley, Hong Kong . T: +852-65161122 

JJ.