#theWanderlist: Thomas Heatherwick’s Pacific Place

When people think of Design & Architecture in Hong Kong, they immediately think of large scale obvious works which define the overall city skyline… (ie. IM Pei’s Bank of China Tower, Sir Norman Foster’s HSBC Building, or twin towers… IFC or ICC) but which don’t really contribute much to our everyday lives beyond being a pretty object in the distance, unless you work there. Understandably, Hong Kong, one of the world’s top financial hubs, is built on the shoulders of banking sectors, which explains the reliance towards visible and skyline oriented iconic towers, developers are used to here. But unfortunately, the problem with contemporary architecture in Hong Kong is that the innovative, new, and cool buildings that #Archinerds like myself drool over don’t necessarily touch a vast majority of people on a human scale from day to day because high-design usually ends up becoming tall office towers not that well integrated on an urban level.

Hong Kong’s Swire Properties, a relatively boutique (but huge) development firm incorporated in the 70s, has within the last few years, made some odd-ball moves against the grain of how developers are integrating innovative architecture & design projects in the city which people can directly experience. Strategies for their projects are not usually centered around the biggest and brightest and whatever can be seen from Victoria Harbour, but how their design projects can help us rethink about “new” design on an approachable human scale rather an urban one.

Some of Swire’s bold moves include hiring not-so-cheap starchitects, like California’s Frank Gehry, to create signature buildings of new sculptural styles, such as one called the Opus, a feat relative to what’s buildable here within local building constraints.  While The Opus, IS as far-removed urbanistically as the other show-towers in Central Hong Kong, it’s made the developer move towards creating more fluid shaped and less boxy living spaces overall, thus affecting the thinking in design for their other property projects like the newly opened Argenta Tower by LWK & Partners or Mount Parker by DLN, for example.

Another odd-ball but sublime choice by SWIRE, is the UK’s Thomas Heatherwick, who had been hired for upgrading of the iconic Pacific Place shopping mall. This is another against-the-grain choice, because Heatherwick himself is not an architect, but a product designer and artist who’s made a name out of his sculptural urban artworks.

Thomas Heatherwick’s stone-cladfacade for the Upper House at Pacific Place.

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At Heatherwick Studio, a company Thomas Heatherwick founded in 1994, the designer employs a collaborative team of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and product specialists, focused on projects interested in human-scale form-making, an aspect of his studio which Heatherwick takes pride in. Working in conservative UK, gives Heatherwick an edge in dealing with projects like Pacific Place, especially in constraint-heavy Hong Kong.

Curved glass and hardwood, rare high-design applications by Thomas Heatherwick utilised in Pacific Place retail corridor.

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Materiality is very important to Heatherwick, who has applied architectural flourishes like “Elm” Veneer Wood on ceiling surfaces, “ASH” solid wood on balustrade rails” to formulate a human scale natural, warmer, and softer, palette.

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Every toilet stall is a throne, made by Heatherwick’s voluptuous forms at Pacific Place.

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Pacific Place, which officially unveiled its new design in 2011 to the public, gave Heatherwick an opportunity to let loose his wonderful sculptural tactics towards the pragmatic world of Mall planning. The good thing about all this is, that we normal people get to enjoy high-brow and high-quality design, estimated at HK$1.5 billion, for free just by visiting or shopping there. The challenge here, which Heatherwick revels in, is to make any programme seem like a design opportunity, making the project work even better than it has worked before. (See his work here for a pedestrian bridge, a stool, a bus, and stairs.)

As I #Wanderlist the mall, I get a photograph taken with my favourite Heatherwick feature, this “corset” light fixture at the Garden Court.

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NEXT: Where to go and what to visit? Check out our Pacific Place #Wanderlist on the following link

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14/09/29 Hong Kong on Lockdown, Photographs By Kyra Campbell

All photos via the Photographer’s Facebook Page available to the public to view and are copyright of the artist, Kyra Campbell. We thank the artist for allowing us to republish these photos which speak for themselves. 

However, I just want to say that I’m proud to live in a city which (for now), allows its citizens the civil liberties of freedom of speech that other cities of its stature enjoy, but whose citizens have the decorum to keep the issues what it is and who refrain from taking out their aggression by rioting, looting, and destroying property. In fact, they clean up after themselves, recycle and pick up trash, are respectful to each other, and share food and water with everyone in the crowd. I’ve seen nothing else like it in the world or in the news. There are no weapons here, no guns, knives, or anything of the sort. The citizens protect themselves with umbrellas, makeshift plastic bottle masks, and cling-wrap from the effects of tear gas (of which was used on them on the first eve of protest.) But generally, while Half of Hong Kong island has been on lockdown on the second day, Hong Kongers have stayed level-headed (for now), and the police have been kept at bay (they are tired as well.)

Everything else i’ve got to say about this, i’ve said and continue to say on my Twitter account.

We pray for the city. Stay Safe and Stay Strong Hong Kong!

PHOTOGRAPHS Kyra Campbell

JJ.

Face Me, Works by Shin Kwang Ho

The spotlight is on one of South Korean’s emerging painters, Shin Kwang Ho. Born in 1983, Shin is currently one of the most sought after figurative artists in the region. His style of work is quite is his signature use of oil paints in vibrant primary colours applied in a thick impasto. I DO personally love the work of George Baselitz and Hong Kong’s own Simon Birch (yeh I said it), because I like figures in painting, so its interesting to see Shin Kwang Ho’s take the theme and medium.

Yavuz Gallery in Singapore will be hosting his solo show starting today until November 9th, 2014.

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All Works above are “Untitled (2014)” Oil on Cavas. Sizes of Work vary. They are all painted by Shin Kwang Ho.

VISIT Shin Kwang Ho: Face Me . Yavuz Gallery, 9 Lock Road, #02-23 Singapore 108937 . T: +65-67343262

JJ.

#JJStyle: Moustache Looks Back At 5th Anniversary

Thanks to their blog, we now know that this month the gents at Hong Kong’s best casual tailoring shoppe, Moustache, are celebrating their 5th year anniversary… as in… they MADE IT TO FIVE YEARS!!! As Alex Daye (aka j.a.daye) stated in his blog post, where these inaugural lookbook images above are posted…they began their menswear journey during the financial tsunami at the end of the last decade. That said, it’s really funny how financial tsumanis tend to be a turning point for many people. I know it was for me (quitting my last job, and starting a new post … plus starting this blog), it just makes all of us that much more creative doesn’t it?

Everything you need to know about Moustache you can read on Alex’s blog (or mine since I tend to always feature them). Most importantly, Alex recounts over several blog posts how and what the inspirations were for their business and how it has evolved since then. It’s a great read.

I just wanted to re-blog/re-post these dapper images from their first lookbook, printed on seemingly luxurious matte paper. Alex models in the photos, which are taken by his business partner, Ellis Kreuger, who is also the head tailor at Moustache. The lookbook is a mixture of photographs of Alex in various Moustache-wear from their first collection, in different much loved sites all over Hong Kong… from Shek-O to Sheung Wan. The photos are juxtaposed with handwritten text by Alex, who used to be (and by the looks of the blog, still is) a writer.

Enjoy the style… and the City’s urban nostalgia!

READ On Hollywood Road, the Blog of J.A.Daye & Moustache / WEAR Moustache / 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / T:+852-25411955 

JJ.

Scene&Seen: Autumn Begins Anxiously, Group Show at Edouard Malingue

Celebrated UK artist, Andy Holden, seems relatively young to be grabbing the attention he’s been having, but he maybe too busy to be thinking about this. Showing at Edouard Malingue’s space this past month is relatively a breeze compared to the large scale grand shows he’s more known for in his home country, most notably at the Zabludowicz Collection, as well various hallmark shows at TATE Britain, and galleries in Germany and the Netherlands over the years since graduating a Bachelors of Arts at Goldsmiths College in 2005. His manifesto, MI!MS (Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity), an art movement he found in 2003 with friends which was refined for his last years’ show at Zabludowicz, may indirectly be at play at Edouard Malingue, via a display of googly-plastic eyeballs on a black backdrop, aptly titled “Eyes in Space”. The digital print was from 2012, before the grand MI!MS show, however you can pretty much tell his train of thought here in relation to self-surveillance, as an exploration of what it means to be ourselves in the Universe, perhaps.

Holden’s work, which is also a backdrop for Tetsumi Kudo’s 1963 piece, titled “You are metamorphosing”, a work about nuclear attack, mutant bodies, and radiation, is an appropriate welcoming environment for a group show, Anatomy of Anxieties, which is basically what it is… a mishmash of work curated by London’s Rowing Projects, dealing with “trauma” and the distortion of body image.

Beth Collar, Untitled 2014

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Beth Collar, Untitled 2012

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I love Edouard Malingue gallery, because this gallery seeks to always push buttons at the pulse of conversational topics which affect visual art and its fans right now, globally. I mean for example, just re-view my article on Robin Peckham’s show last year around this time titled SNEAKEROTICS… also about the body, but different. Peckham’s (ex-Saamlung) show was all about the ridiculous and glorious “Californian” distortion of bodies the way its perceived in the digital sphere, while this Rowing Project’s Anatomy of Anxieties show looks at bodies distorted, but from a very self-conscious perspective… ie. English. Where I found SNEAKEROTICS successfully funky, I found this current show generally all over the place… stylistically, aesthetically, and well… message wise. 

Cui Xinming, Sleepwalker-Summons 2013.

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Piece by piece the works are impressive. Let’s talk about Cindy Sherman’s 1986 rare photograph, “Untitled #165”, an iconic work of a grotesque male/female/animal in the woods being all kinds of blended cinematic archetypes at once, the underlying thread being something to fear and be feared by. 

Cindy Sherman.

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Another work which I felt worked amazingly for its space, is the 2011 video titled, “Modern Times Forever” by Superflex of the Stora Enso building in Helsinki by Alvar Aalto, decaying over 10 days. The facade on video mirrors the facade of the Hong Kong’s buildings outside (as I’ve photographed it) in seemingly similar geometry (of course this was not an inspiration, however I appreciate the siting and the context.)

Superflex.

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The 2D works representing groups and multiple figures, like the bacchanalia depicted by Rachel Maclean’s 2011 digital print, titled the “Massacre of the Innocents Reduced” and one on the opposite wall by Patrizio Di Massimo, titled “The Mistress (2014)”, is so much about its figurative composition and stylistic articulation within itself, that it’s quite hard to connect it with the show’s large theme… say the way Hans Bellmer’s 1937 silver gelatin prints of dismembered body forms, or the decaying face within Kudo’s mutant in a box successfully deals with the anxieties of stress and trauma on the self.

Rachel Maclean.

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Patrizio Di Massimo.

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Hans Bellmer.

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That said, the wide variety of works in the show, important works at that from a global assortment of artists from different time periods, is impressive, and goes to show the reach of Edouard Malingue gallery is willing to take in answering the demands of a high-profile-high-net-worth-gallery in relation to discourse and general education. Hosting celebrity shows is not as important for the gallery as making sure theirs is a space which hosts quality curatorial partnerships. This is a great example of it and you’ve got a little over a week to catch the show before it goes.

VISIT Anatomy of Anxieties at Edouard Malingue Gallery . Show Ends OCT 6 2014 . 1F, 8 Queens Road Central, Hong Kong . T: +852-28100317

JJ.

 

Female Figure Re-Viewed, Ceramic Works By Paulina Olowska

Polish artist, Paulina Olowska, made a stunning debut today in Hong Kong via her first solo show in this city at Simon Lee Gallery. All compositions, female sculptural forms in ceramics, are derived from actual key historical iconographic pieces. The works at Simon Lee situates these new 3D works adjacent to a series of the artist’s signature collages and paintings, and through this juxtaposition, Olowska can inform the viewer her references and perspectives on female form and its presence in Eastern and Western cultural mythologies.

The sculptures are icons which range from religious sources to purely secular, and deal with the female form’s posture and pose to represent the full spectrum of type. For example, her sculpture of the Virgin with Child, derived from existing wood sculptures in Poland, strike a strong contrast with her re-imagining of Max Klinger’s 1887 sculpture of Salome. Her religious sculptures show the female as a “comforter”, whereas the secular sculptures depict them as a “temptress” or “siren”.

Olowska’s previous works, especially with Simon Lee, typically is keen on representing female subject.. whether it be via the language of fashion, religion, pop-culture, and/or graphic-cultural history. While most of her works are two-dimensional, she’s not afraid to break the mold by working with various media; neon lights, puppet theaters, and full scale installation works… mediums dependent on the moment’s perspective.

That said, we are all excited about her ceramic work for Hong Kong. This intimate show is definitely worth a look.

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From Top To Bottom:

1) Paulina Olowska, Maria Die Schmerzensreiche (Mater Dolorosa) (after Pedro Roldan) 2014, Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

2) Paulina Olowska, Maria Mit Dem Schutzmantel Aus Ravensburg (after Michel Erhart oder Fredrich Schramm) 2014, Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

3) Paulina Olowska, Sainte Catherine 2014, Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

4) Paulina Olowska, Walderheimnis (after Robert Diez) 2014, Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

5) Paulina Olowska, Die Neue Salome (after Max Klinger) 2014, Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

6) Paulina Olowska, Holy Mary From Rabka 2014, Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery

VISIT Paulina Olowksa Ceramics . Simon Lee Gallery, 304, 3rd Floor Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852-28016252

JJ.

#theWanderlist: Heirloom Flavours in Manila Ancestral Home

I was looking through my iPhoto pictures today, and found these snapshots from my last working visit to Manila. Me and friends of mine went to have a nice private and quiet dinner at my favorite destination for classic and authentic Filipino fare at La Cocina de Tita Moning (Aunt Moning’s Kitchen), located in the Legarda Ancestral Home which is within the Presidential Palace Grounds.

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The kitchen has actually been in operation since 2001 so it’s nothing new, but everytime I go to the Legarda Home for dinner, everyone that eats there are local Manilenos, which is great since it’s good enough for the Filipinos, but never a destination for tourists and visitors. By placing it on this blog, I hope that more visitors to Manila can give it a try because not only is it not “sceney” (reservations have to be made in advance), but the heirloom recipes of by the family’s matriarch, Dona Romano Hernandez and brought to life by her granddaughter, Chef Suzette Montinola… are actually worth the urban journey. I call it a “journey”, because the house is located within the Palace grounds in old Manila (which has a military secured gate) and within a residential neighborhood at that, I assume most people will be coming from Makati or Alabang which is half an hour to an hour away.

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But at arrival, guests are ushered to the garden to have a welcome drink under tree lights made of Capiz shells. On a nice balmy yet windy evening, like ours last month, a quick drink and smoke here is an instant stress reliever. Nothing has changed since the house was made into a restaurant more than ten years ago. The trees around the back garden are decades old, and much of the back garden are covered by branches creating an intimate canopy. Since the house was built in the late 1930’s, the home, one of the first Art Deco structures in country, has undergone several iterations and updates… so while the main house works like a fusion Colonial-Filipino-Spanish home from a planning perspective, the house’s facade plays with Art Deco details, and the back garden, may be the newest extension and represents a chic-ly sixties/seventies mod leisure lifestyle… which is just fabulous.

De-compressing at the Legarda’s garden.

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Some drinks before dinner.

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Inside guests are allowed to walk into the patriarch, Dr. Alejandro Legarda’s, Library, Clinic (he was a famous OBGYN), Camera Equipment Room, and Antiques Radio Equipment Room, where he spent much of his time meeting people around the world as an amateur radio operator (this was pre twitter and facebook, people.) 

Intimate items once owned by the Doctor.

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Other items from the family’s past.

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What I loved about this house was that the whole family came together and decided to preserve not only the house’s architecture, but their family’s legacy and history by creating a museum of all the home’s spaces and items, and establish a restaurant of the family’s heirloom dishes. In addition, the family has decided together to create jobs for the home’s long time servants and drivers by allowing them to basically run and operate the restaurant and to serve visitors the dishes that the family was served themselves in this house. These days once the matriarch and patriarch passes away, the kids just can’t wait to divvy up the spoils, and then there goes the family legacy… so this kind of preservation is rare.

Beef Kare Kare with Shrimp Paste.

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A taste of the family’s Chicken Relleno.

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Refreshing desserts straight out of the history books.

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The food is fantastic and you can basically tailor-make a menu with the restaurant’s booking officer before you get there… whether you want the best Chef created menu, or if you have preferential dishes, or wanting something towards vegetarian or seafood fare… it’s all possible. Support the Legarda Home when in the city. It’s a great design and culinary destination, I strongly recommend.

My friends were certainly impressed.

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EAT La Cocina de Tita Moning . 315 San Rafael Street, San Miguel District, Manila . T: +632-7342146 . Reserve Here

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: Spanish Restaurants, Isono and Vasco, Shines With Cinematic Interiors

Hong Kong’s dining scene has just evolved with the inclusion of a new Spanish restaurant at the top of PMQ serving delicious and authentic Basque country dishes, hence the word, Vasco, one of the two restaurants in one double height space at the historic building. 

Designer, Joyce Wang, fresh off the heels of her work for Chinese fine dining destination, Mott32, and before that AMMO, has given patrons a new perspective on cinematic dining. Guests enter the two-level restaurant on the lower level, via Isono, the main bar and restaurant floor, serving casual Mediterranean-inspired dishes like mussels, ham, paella, and paired wine within a layered space of stone, leather, reflective copper surfaces, and timber. The main focal point of the space, the circular bar with a halo of radiating LED Lights above, and low standing globes of accent lights on the counter itself, bring the point home. Guests to Isono will notice a black and white movie playing on loop at the restaurant’s wall surface, bringing a touch of old-fashioned celluloid experience to the space itself.

While Isono’s interiors are relatively rustic, Vasco on the mezzanine floor above, is all about sleek styles. Patrons enjoy authentic Basque country fare while overlooking Central district’s views. Booth seating and a faceted screen glass wall define this area. On top of Isono’s circular bar, is a suspended private dining area, lightly veiled within a vertical copper screen, seating eight. 

Everything Joyce Wang creates is certainly of a moment and one that is strangely familiar, but also made of elements which are new and 100% bespoke. This is big pressure for the Chef to create food worthy of such an urban palace devoted to new Basque cuisine.

VISIT Isono and Vasco . 6F and 7F Block B, Police Married Quarters (PMW), 35 Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong / DESIGN Joyce Wang

JJ.

#JJStyle: MR PORTER Joins The Club

Club Monaco has never had amazing online presence Internationally, but… guess what MR PORTER has. And now the two have finally teamed up and are on their way to giving guys all around the world access to Club Monaco’s selection of delicious modern pieces for men. The label is a touch higher priced than a few other like-labels on the “affordable luxury” category, however the quality, fit, and materials used are impeccable. These are everyday classics that I personally feel are made to last.

MR PORTER is now the exclusive online global retailer for Club Monaco. And while we have Club Monaco in Hong Kong, it’s not available in many Asian cities, and with this new team up, everyone can have a bit of urban sophistication associated with the brand if they so desire.

FYI. All Express Shipping is free for MR PORTER customers in Hong Kong.

SHOP Club Monaco at MR PORTER

JJ.

#JJStyle: Don’t Bling, Be Normal. A Lesson in ‘Normcore’ From Gap Hong Kong / China

The Chinese fashion set who are used to so much bling, will have to think twice, especially when GAP in Hong Kong and China will start pushing out their version of ‘Normcore’ via their “Be Normal” campaign this fall 2014. That said, when Danish fashion designer who launched COS, Rebekka Bay, set out to fix all of GAP’s problems worldwide starting two years ago, i’m sure she never imagined that her whole re-focus on key simple pieces from the label’s “Americana” archives, would be simplified to the masses as an homage to normality. However timely it is… well, GAP’s newest campaign has made the “desire to fit in” or “the fear of standing out” (Urban Dictionary’s definition of the word ‘normcore’) a little something that everyone can / should strive towards. For those in the Mainland Chinese market so used to BLINGGG i’m sure there will be some effort involved.

Apparently “GAP’s Fall Campaign celebrates individuality by challenging the convention of dressing normal.” Amongst those who accepted the challenge, actress Angelica Huston, actress Elisabeth Moss, actor Michael K. Williams, actress Jena Malone, and actress Zosia Mamet.

via GAP China:

The campaign is rooted in the same core values the brand has unapologetically stood for over the past 45 years – individualism and the liberation that comes from confidently being your most authentic self. Dress Normal boldly instructs individuals to shape their own authentic, personal style – and intentionally challenges every one of us to dress for ourselves.

SHOP Gap Hong Kong

JJ.