theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: Design Institute

Hong Kong’s latest architectural renaissance jump-started within the educational sector in 2010 with the iconic, Hong Kong Design Institute aka. the HKDI located in Tseung Kwan O.This highly original building was first conceptualized less than 10 years ago after it won first place in an ideas competition for the non-profit public school devoted to all things Design. Since it was built, construction of other design schools with similarly iconic avant-garde architectures in the city followed, all authored by award winning and globally recognized architects such as Daniel Libeskind for the Run Run Shaw Media Centre (2011) and Zaha Hadid for her “Innovation” Tower (2014) at CUHK’s Kowloon campus.

Pedestrians can access the vertical campus on many levels.

The difference between the Hadid and Libeskind campuses and the HKDI, is that HKDI’s winning architects don’t have the starchitect status nor long building history of the other two. Named CAAU (Codelfy & Associes Architectes Urbanistes), the Lille and Paris, France based studios, have basically hit jackpot with this winning project. At 42,000m2 large, HKDI is the first ever completed building within their company portfolio, and it’s a beautiful and thoughtful one at that… everything works spatially and volume-wise, with no gimmicky forms or odd cheap finishes.

And after walking around the school’s site two weeks ago, I was completely convinced that CAAU could not have done a better job with the HKDI, which is a feat in itself considering Hong Kong’s complicated construction process (especially with all the permits to build anything a-traditional here.)

Internal streets on many levels connect the building with surrounding environments.

HKDI, which can house up to 4,000 students, is most notable for its four tree-tower trunks clad in a lattice steel diamond shaped-structure holding up an awe-inspiring glass box raised 7-storeys high. Dubbed the “White Sheet”, the architects saw this sheet as a “metaphorical presentation of creativity”, floating in air, connecting all other parts of the campus’ multidisciplinary functions, many meters above ground.

The glass box above is the metaphorical ‘White Sheet’ of Creativity. Photographed by Lightseed Studio.

The otherwise flat site, has been made more dynamic with all auditoriums, dining, and gallery functions placed within an artificial plinth on the ground, sandwiching the towers housing the classrooms, with the glass box on top holding other shared functions like study areas and the main library (with a view.)

Towers clad in lattice steel structure.

From a detail standpoint, this building is far superior structurally, materially, and finishes-wise, than the other buildings in Hong Kong of its ilk by far more seasoned architects. The 60m long escalator which takes students from ground level to the glass box, works well enough exactly how it was intended to work, and the external lattice structure which was constructed on site (not-prefabricated at all) is the the building’s overall design signature which looks neat with no water rust on the paint and with very clean joint details amongst all its structural parts. It still looks new after so many years.

While CAAU was the design architect, the project was made possible with collaboration with P&T Group, the local architects who designed our last Architectural tour stop, The Velodrome. Ove Arup Hong Kong is the project’s structural engineering team (also same with the Velodrome). The HKDI was first established in 2002, and houses departments for Design, Fashion/Textile, Printing/ Digital Media, and Multimedia + Internet Technology.

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Glass canopy brings light in while protecting interior open spaces from the elements.

Latticework structure of the HKDI built on site looks as good as new.

There are very elegant moments here when the tree trunk goes beyond the glass box above. (It could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t.)

So many sublime moments to connect and contemplate.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Hong Kong Hong Kong Design Institute was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn / Winter 2014’s Simon Holloway Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Hong Kong Design Institute . 3 King Ling Road, Tseung Kwan O, NT HK . Tiu Keng Leng MTR Station Exit A2 . T: +852-39282994 / DESIGN CAAU Codelfy & Associates Architects Urban Planners / STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

New Hong Kong

The #OccupyCentral movement in Hong Kong has officially made waves (appropriately so) globally within mainstream media. There were some very dark and ugly moments (when masked thugs and triads attacked the students to represent #AntiOccupyCentral sentiment), but generally, the protesters and student’s general genteel, respectful, and patient demeanors (overall) is something universally celebrated and nothing this world has ever seen before coming out of such a city-wide protest, that as of today, has gone on for about two weeks.

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Some of the best things to come out of the protest, include all the installation art (via HKHELD) and graphic art (via FASTCODESIGN) by various supporters. Another amazing thing to see is that students have since installed makeshift beds and “No camera flash, no noise” study areas, which is very cute to see… thereby re-enforcing the nerdy Asian stereo type that we all LOVE to study (even when we are being rebellious protesters.) Some funny non-Occupy Central stuff has also occured, including Jon Stewart’s holistic (and hilarious) take on the protests, plus CY Leung’s (Hong Kong’s Chief Executive) daughter’s weird random Facebook rant about shopping with Tax Payer’s money (via COCONUTS HONG KONG).

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But for me, one of the best things that has arisen and evolved from Occupy Central, is the emergence of a non-consumer focused youth re-appropriating important central spaces in their city for a non-consumer cause. Ie. Citizens of Hong Kong are taking back plazas, streets, and public spaces to actually use it as an open space for Civic Reasons… to discuss politics, beliefs, ideas, and concepts. This is where a creative consciousness can evolve from… which is not necessarily something that can be discovered in a classroom. (I realize a civic square or space where kids do nothing is rare in Hong Kong and normal in other cities, but because land value here is so high, and open spaces are scarce… it just doesnt exist in such central locations.)

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The second best thing to come out of all this is…for two weeks now, major areas of Hong Kong have been car and pollution free. Which means, one is able to walk on the city’s main avenues and boulevards… slowly, and from a vantage point never before experienced. Suddenly roads are open, and with camera in hand, Hong Kong’s most beautiful architecture (modern and colonial) can fully be appreciated with a slow stroll and a rare smog-free point of view.

Enjoy the photos kids!

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VISIT Hong Kong 

JJ.

theW+ Architectural Tours with Hogan: The Velodrome

One of the biggest trends (thankfully) that has arrived to Hong Kong within the last 4-5 years, is the embrace by a large percentage of the city’s population towards cycling. A visible sign of its trendy popularity, recreational cyclists are now everywhere to be seen in the city, but much more so at night when it’s so much safer to avoid the city’s smoggy roads and dangerous traffic.  Heck, I’m even surprised the cycling trend has caught on in the first place! Even on Facebook, the non-profit Hong Kong Cycling Alliance Group and Fan Pages attract close to 5,000 members and counting, aimed at forging a harmonious relationship between the city and the city’s bikers through safety education programmes and pro-urban cycling advocacy. 

In the suburbs of Tseung Kwan O, we find the newest sign of cycling’s popularity with this year’s unveiling of one of the the region’s first official indoor velodromes designed specifically for the competitive Hong Kong Cycling Team and all bike enthusiasts alike.

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The beautiful yet sculpturally iconic Hong Kong Velodrome designed by P&T Group and Ove Arup, aims to bring cycling’s competitive games to this city. Costing about HK$600 million to construct in total, the building is programmatically effective, hosting the main 250-metre cycling track, plus spaces for multi-purpose sporting use, a restaurant, and a pro-bicycle shop, while also being highly sustainable. Water harvesting, photovoltaic panels plus solar panels on the roof, generate heat and energy savings.

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The most distinctive feature of the Hong Kong Velodrome (my favorite feature actually) are the building’s elliptical form and ribbed roof apparently inspired by the profile of a bicycle helmet. The zig-zagging ridges of the building’s crown gives the form a sense of lightness and height meant to reduce the overall bulk of the massive new building.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome was full of life and activity, inside AND outside. The day I visited there were so many kids cycling around the piazza, a nice welcoming space for a city that is far from being bike-friendly.

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So amazing to see this kind of playful and helpful activity between kids.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome is surrounded by a network of pedestrian bridges, linking the building with the overall stadium adjacent and public pedestrian park pathways.

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The Hong Kong Velodrome was built for cycling competitions, but that day, it was all about badminton in the its multi-use/multi-purpose spaces.

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A beautiful red tiled iconic oval Customer Service Desk, welcomes all guests at arrival.

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Our Architectural Tour at the Hong Kong Velodrome was made possible through partnership with Hogan Autumn/Winter 2014’s Collection for Casual Business. For three decades, Hogan has provided comfort and style for gentlemen everywhere. These days a plugged-in and fast paced society has changed the way we travel, choosing instead destinations that allow us to discover, explore, and document our creative inspiration. For smart shoes that allow guys like us to negotiate, network, and explore the world from day to evening, Hogan is there.

WEAR Hogan / VISIT Hong Kong Velodrome Park . 105 Po Hong Road, Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong . Hang Hau MTR Station Exit B . T: +852-28788621 / DESIGN P&T Group / STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY Ken Wu - Lightseed Studio

JJ.

#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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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.

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.

#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.

DESIGN NOTES: London’s V&A Museum To Open Design Museum in Shenzhen, 2016

Something new and note worthy, and to arrive in 2016 is Shenzhen’s future Shekou Museum, which will act as China’s first major public building devoted strictly to all things “Design”. What’s more, London’s Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum has officially signed a partnership and operations agreement to have its first Asian outpost at the new building to be designed by Japanese modernist architect, Fumihiko Maki.

The 27.2 Million USD museum, located in Shenzhen’s Shekou District, is situated in a masterplan also designed by Maki dubbed the “Shenzhen Sea World Cultural Arts Centre” (which made my eyebrow raised but whatever) and is a full on project developed by China Merchants Group (CMG). In the contract between the V&A and CMG, the English institution has agreed to play an advisory role for the museum, developing content for future rotating shows and exhibiting from their own collection. According to a statement released by the V&A, it aims to use its collaboration with CMG to promote the best of Chinese design to an international audience and vice versa. Hong Kong’s M+ museum geared towards “visual culture”, which basically means “design”, will open a year later in 2017.

DESIGN Fumihiko Maki / VISIT Shenzhen: City of Design

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: Past, Present, and Pancakes at Stack

You think pancakes are delicious… now think of a place in Hong Kong which serves pancakes and crepes all day… then think about those pancakes and crepes be specially prepared and paired with a different kind of alcoholic beverage for each pancake… and then now think about eating those pancakes and crepes in a really cool corner shop with a super fresh “retro-chic” look by the Award Winning architectural design team at WALL Studio…. now think about the Twins Kitchen / Common Ground team making your pancakes…then you’ve pretty much got the hottest new all-day breakfast destination in town at STACK in Sai Ying Pun, of course (where else?)

STACK is a new destination dining concept by twins, Josh and Caleb Ng from Common Ground, focused on creating a pancake joint serving American style carb loaded goodies just the way you want them. But the all day pancake experience is also available with a little protein… we’re talking short ribs, seafood, and pulled pork… amongst other items on the menu.

According to the founders and the designers, the interior concept for STACK is about celebrating the fusion between past and present, extrapolating from the history and the current transformation of the Sai Ying Pun district. Walking in, you’d notice a combination of patterned tiles and iron gates reminiscent of architecture and sidewalks of Hong Kong of ‘yore. The interior and exterior neon signage reflects Hong Kong’s disco heyday in the 70’s… exactly the last time “Wanchai” was cool.

Stack opens on July 12th and will be serving drinks and dinner from 6pm to 11:30pm everyday… but closed on Mondays. See you there! (Get a jog in before hand! You’ll need it!)

EAT STACK . GF 1, 3rd Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong . T: +852 25499787 / DESIGN Wall . 2C, 3-5 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852 98634306

JJ.

Design Notes: Layers of Time Peeled and Revealed at Mott 32

New to open in Hong Kong, a fantastic dining experience designed by one of the city’s “IT” designers, Joyce Wang, for a new modern Cantonese restaurant in the city, Mott 32. Wang who has since made a name with her previous work, AMMO, at the Asia Society, is back at it with her signature detail-oriented and intricate design moves. Since its launch Mott 32 received generally positive reviews, however the interiors here really take centre stage, demanding attention from its clientele.

The site of the restaurant, located in the basement  of the Standard Chartered Bank Building on Des Voeux Road, receives no natural daylight or views… so to counter this, Wang initiated a centrally focused and inward directed design zoning plan with all various dining areas centered around a grand custom-built architectural skylight within the main dining zone, giving impression of actual daylight. The skylight itself is inspired by the Bank’s architectural characteristics, mirroring the octagonal columns found within the original building.

From the central dining space there are 5 private rooms and a bar area which radiate beyond the central core of the plan, each decorated according to theme. For example, one room has a “Sun Yat Sen-inspired mural”, another a collection of antique chandeliers, and another decorated with a chandelier that looks like an abacus. My two favorite rooms are the 10 Downing Street Room, a “surreal street scene”, clad with Shanghainese-style brick work in an undulating pattern, and the Tangerine Room, decorated with Chinese paintbrushes of various sizes mounted on two wall surfaces giving a grand symmetric tableau.

Via Joyce Wang:

The restaurant tells the story of the basement of an important bank building in Hong Kong and how it has evolved through time. We imagined its former life as a storage facility for family heirlooms forgotten by wealthy Chinese immigrants, and later as staff quarters for bank employees and guards. We imagined pieces of history left behind organically. The process of design was to unearth these clues layer by layer to expose an authentic narrative, so the final tableau tells a compelling  story  that’s  not  overly  styled.  The  objects  are  clues  to  the  larger political and social history of Hong Kong. 

Make sure to watch out for graffiti and propaganda scripts on columns, hinting a passage of time, and a large feature wall of flowers and butterflies made of metallic thread embroidery on a hand-painted silk backdrop. Other details, I’ll let you discover for yourself.

EAT Mott 32 . Standard Chartered Building, 4 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852 28858688 / DESIGN Joyce Wang

JJ.