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.

#theWanderlist: Gateway to Bombay, Our 5 Historic Hotspots

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Those who follow me on my Instagram account already know that I’ve spent Easter 2014 in Mumbai, whichfor this post, i’ll be calling, Bombay, as the locales do!

The trip was notable because it was my first time ever in India, acting only as a plus one for Jim, who booked his tickets first in order to meet old friends from London who now live within Bombay’s city centre. I usually spend my Easter vacations at home in the Philippines, but since tickets to Bombay from Hong Kong are a sliver of a Philippine fare these days, I thought I’d save money and actually fly to India on Jet Airways for less than 2,000 HKD with tax. Most Hong Kong people are scared of India, which is why tickets are so cheap…I believe.

India and specifically, Mumbai, has had a very long history which runs about three centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. The city, which was once a Portuguese and British Colonial trade outpost since around beginning at about 1500 to mid-1600’s, plays an important role today as India’s Economic, Cultural, and Entertainment centre. The port city is located right on the Arabian Sea, and its character as a waterfront destination is very much still active to this day. As of 2011, the population of the Bombay has reached to about 12.5 million inhabitants, and continues to attract migrants from all over the country to help contribute to its melting pot of different cultures which consists of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Sikhs.

For our three day Easter tour, we focused our itinerary mainly on two kinds of destinations; the first part being Heritage Sites (unavoidable since the whole city is well preserved) and the second part we tried to find Design and Lifestyle Destinations that are making a contribution towards Indian contemporary life now. This two part approach to planning Bombay is pretty much how I’ll split up both my blog posts on this wonderful city.

Here is a quick rundown of all the most important “Must Visit” Cultural Heritage Sites we checked out during our visit there.

—————————————-

+ HOTEL // The Taj Mahal Palace

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

We were originally going to do Bombay “backpack” style, but after seeing images of the The Taj Mahal Palace in both my Wallpaper* and New York Times 36 Hours guides, it wasn’t too hard for Jim to convince me to be a part of history and stay at India’s first five star hotel which turned out to be the only way to really experience the country for the first time. This seaside hotel is in the centre of India’s old historic city located in Colaba, at the tip of the Archipelago. Although it was partially destroyed due to the 2008 terrorist attack on the old palace wing (where we stayed), the hotel has been fully restored, and is once again its full-on fabulous self.

The building, commissioned by Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata, founder of the Tata Group, opened its doors to its first guests on the 16th of December in 1903. This year marks its 110th Anniversary, and the building is still undergoing restoration works to this very day… preserving its contemporary and modern art collection (which runs by the hundreds), as well as its original architectural finishes, materiality, and colours.

Even though we booked the Tower rooms (built in the 1970s) there was an opening and we were lucky enough to have been upgraded to the Palace rooms with butler service on the 6th floor overlooking all of Mumbai and the fabulous grand swimming pool (which used to be the front carriageway and central fountains.) We were given a behind-the-scenes guided tour of several of the palace suites, including the suite where John Lennon and Yoko Ono shacked up for 5 days without leaving, the Ravi Shankar suite where his daughter Norah Jones spent the night, and the Tata Suite… the hotel’s humongous Presidential suite (next to our bedroom) where President Obama stayed. All these suites had an amazing view of the Gateway Arch. If you stay here make sure to have a room that allows you to have an iconic breakfast experience at the historic Taj Mahal Palace Sea Lounge and keep an eye out for weekend Indian wedding performances in the central atrium dome, making an already festive stay… that much more theatric!

Additionally, you may watch out for a memorial outside the Tower lobby for the victims who died at the hands of the 2008 terrorist attacks. The “Tree of Life” sculpture that stands out there once stood in the same area where it was bombed. Thankfully… the tree sculpture was spared and now standing with the names of those who passed away.

It’s a fabulous hotel, with amazing service. I’d stay there again in a heartbeat!

STAY The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower . Apollo Blunder, Mumbai 400 001, Maharashtra, India . T: +92 22 6665 3366

—————————————-

+ MUSEUM // The Prince of Wales Museum ie. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

image

image

image

image

image

Built in the same Indo-Saracenic style of architecture as the Taj Mahal Palace, and in fact designed at the same time, The Prince of Wales Museum, opened as an actual museum only in 1922… but only after it was utilised first as Hospital in the First World War.

Today, the Museum, named Shivaji who founded the Maratha Empire, houses and displays a unique collection of Indian Archaeological and Natural History Archives. Art works collected by benefactors from the prestigious Tata Family are also on display, depicting mostly English pastoral art along sides Chinese and Japanese Porcelain and various religious artifacts.

The museum’s offerings is a mixed almost messy-yet-charming-bag. However the buildings and gardens surrounding this century old structure are so lush and wonderful, you’ll forget how things are supposed to be and just appreciate visiting a museum the way people have visited it all these years. Not much has changed with the way this museum is run. Nothing about it is “contemporary” or “new” in any respect, and we love it.

VISIT Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya . 159 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai 400023 . T: +91 022 2284448

—————————————-

+ MONUMENT // The Gateway Arch of India

image

image

Because it was right outside our hotel, The Gateway of India was our first tourist stop. And out of all the tourist destinations we’ve seen, its generally a horrific “trap” with tons of hustlers. That said if you can ignore them, it’s certainly beautiful piece of work… a basalt based structure that stands 26 meters high to commemorate the landing of the King George V and Queen Mary at the Apollo Bunder, the site, in 1911. Funny thing about the Gateway, it was originally built out of Papier Mache for quite a while. The finished Arch, also in the Indo-Saracenic Style, was fully completed in 1924. 

The last British troops marched out ceremoniously through the arch after India received its Independence from British rule in 1948. Today you have to arrive here or leave here if taking the boat to our next stop… The Elephanta Island…

VISIT The Gateway Arch of India . Apollo Bunder, Shivaji Marg, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India . T: +91 22 2284 1877

—————————————-

+ TEMPLE // The Elephanta Caves

image

image

image

image

image

The day we visited, Good Friday, was also the day India celebrated its Archeological Heritage Day. A Good thing for us, the Elephanta Caves in the Elephanta Island located in Mumbai Harbour… was free! After gleefully saving about 150 rupees (2 USD), we went inside to check out all the amazing man-made caves at the top of the island, originally called Gharapuri. There are about six man made caves in total to visit, however the one to see is really the big Main Cave where at the end of the central Nave on the north-south axis, is the awesomely preserved sculpture of Shiva with three faces… about six meters in height. One of India’s most notably significant works of history, the three faced Trimurti Sadashiva piece represents destruction (male to the left), protection (centre), and creation (female to the right).

Thank God at least this piece is well preserved. The Portuguese, who used the site for firing practice around the 1600s, haphazard management by the city, and increasing amount of visitors, endangers what’s left of the sculptures here. The other caves have no sculptures, since they have been moved to the Prince of Wales and other museums for archiving. 

What we did appreciate was that foreigners were the minority visitors. Most who were around here were Indians from other parts of the country. We also enjoyed seeing school children sketch out parts of the sculptures… it was nice to see. Expect an hours boat ride each way from the Gateway Arch. The crowd is very VERY local Indian, and you pretty much get into any boat which departs every 10 minutes. Depending on the crowd you get in the boat with you… it’s sure to be an adventure.

VISIT The Elephanta Caves . Gharapuri, Maharashtra 400094, India . T: +91 22 2204 4040

—————————————-

+ ARCHITECTURE // Ghandi’s Mani Bhavan and The Laburnum Mansions

image

image

image

image

image

If you want to see Bombay’s luxuriously historic houses… you’ll want to take a walk down Laburnum Road in the lush Gamdevi Precinct near Downtown. Mahatma Gandhi lived at the mansion called, Mani Bhavan on #19 Laburnum Road, from 1917 to 1934. The three-story mansion actually belonged to his patron, however this was Ghandi’s headquarters during a pivotal time in history when he coordinated and initiated the Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadesih, Khadi, and Khilafat movements.

The building was immediately turned into a memorial in 1955, 7 years after his assassination in 1948. If you go, you’ll basically see a full library of Ghandi’s books plus other books devoted to Ghand-ist principles of Peace, Non-Violence, and Human Equality. There’s a movie and more books on the 2nd floor, his bedroom on the third floor, with a full on diorama (actually helpful) of putting his life on multiple perspectives… and in scale.

However, as an architect, I find the house was nice and interesting to visit, as well as walking down the same street to check out similar luscious turn-of-the-century homes in various degrees of preservation. Overall its a nice quiet residential street, and very interesting for those looking closer into the life of a historical leader as well as a contextual representation of a specific time and place of which this street is a great example.

VISIT Mani Bhavan . 19 Laburnum Road, Gamdevi, Mumbai 400 007, India . T: +91 22 2380 5864

—————————————-

+ OTHER INTERESTING SITES in BOMBAY

image

image

image

image

We also briefly checked out other amazing sites like the Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shvaji Terminus), a great piece of architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Site based on the St. Pancras Railway Station in London. We also saw the incredible Dhobi Ghat, washer’s area next to the main railway and new Bombay city centre. Around our hotel there’s so much Art-Deco structures, and a great example of it is the REGAL Cinema structure, which today still shows a series of Bollywood Films. The only temple in the city we visited was the Jain Temple on Ridge Road on Malabar Hill. It was opulent, yet boutique in scale.

But for all these other sites one, one really has to take a train, to do the laundry, to watch a movie, or to worship in order to really appreciate the essence of each place. They’re all nice to visit, but if you only have a day or two for a Heritage visit in Bombay, the Top 5 sites should do the trick for you.

JJ.

The Vertical City, Renderings of Hong Kong’s Iconic Facades by Architect, Daphne Mandel

Architect, turned artist, Daphne Mandel, moved to Hong Kong six years ago in 2008. Having worked in landscape and architecture in Paris, and even co-founding a studio, Daphne’s life has led her to this side of the globe where she began to pursue a new path in Art. The tight and compact scale of Hong Kong in relation to a more open and spread out Paris made it a bit difficult for her to easily transition to her work in landscape and urban planning to fit within this seemingly chaotic and piecemeal planning scale of the Asian City. However, it’s exactly in the compact vertical nature of the city, and the unique texture of Hong Kong’s concrete jungle, that Mandel has extracted a new inspiration. Her work, a series of renderings of the city’s facades, is a way for her to process the new find, and re-compose this information into a strikingly visual composition. The exhibition, which launched last week at the new Man Mo Café located within Hong Kong’s tight antique alleyways, is a perfect fit to present a series of works, inserting back within the context, paintings which are in direct reference of it.

We speak briefly with Daphne in relation to exciting her “Hong Kong Facades” series.

—————-

theW+: Tell me about your latest works exhibiting at Man Mo Cafe?

Daphne Mandel: The ‘Hong Kong Facades’ series is inspired by the city’s wild and restless urbanisation.  Hong Kong’s brutal urbanscape is for me a constant source of inspiration.  The density, the giant facades and the accumulation of elements on different scales, levels and layers create a fascinating visual and graphic scene.  I like to explore the rough beauty of these urban contrasts while introducing a good dose of poetry, absurdity, and humour.  The use of different media permits me to transpose a sense of realism and combine it with unexpected or surreal elements.  While the result is never meant to be serious or controversial,  it is about revisiting these compact and opaque urbanscapes by telling new stories. It’s the fruit of pure imagination.

Man Mo Café is symbolically and largely by coincidence the perfect location for this show.  It is anchored in the middle of Cat Street Antique market (Upper Lascar Row), in the heart of Sheung Wan.  A congregation of antique dealers, oversize ceramics shop, curio merchants and metal workers coexist with the nearby upscale art galleries of Hollywood Road.  These juxtapositions and contrasts are among the essences of my inspiration.

theW+: When did you start rendering Hong Kong’s facades and why is rendering these facades important to you?

DM: As an architect, the phase I am always more excited about in the whole project proposal process is the rendering. Once one has resolved all the constraints regarding the program, the function, the technical and financial, there comes the challenge of how to express the product for the sell, and how to tell a story about ambiance, space, material, textures through the power of images.

My ‘Hong Kong Façades’ series is free of any project reality and constraints. It is only the expression of a fantasy world illustrated inside or outside the city facades.  You will rarely find representation of human beings in my art works.  It’s a way to disconnect my works from any sense of reality.

theW+: Tell us about your background, where you are from, and why you live in Hong Kong.

DM: I was born in Lausanne, Switzerland to a French father and a Dutch mother and grew up in Paris.  I studied architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning in Versailles and graduated in 2000.  I co-founded the Paris based landscape architecture and urban planning firm, Gilot&Mandel Paysage.  We were named the “Best Young Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture Professionals” in France (2006) for our work.  Our firm designed landscape urban projects of various scales, including public parks, city centres, cultural sites, and sports venues in France and abroad. 

The reason of my move to Hong Kong (2008) is unrelated to my career but turned out to be an incredible source of inspiration to explore other means of creative and artistic expression.

theW+: Besides Hong Kong’s facades, what other things do you like to paint?

DM: So far, Hong Kong has been my main subject and I feel that I could continue to explore it for much longer under many angles. All of my art works are conceived in the same way I render images for an architectural or urban planning project… using mixed media such as painting, collage and digital printing.  

My first work experience in an architectural studio was at Edouard François Studio (Paris).  There, I was taught to try to maintain the conceptual dimension of the project all the way through its final representation as opposed to try to reach ultra realism.  That way, the poetry and the magic of the concept was more likely to survive through the realization of the project.

theW+: Have you completely given up your previous career as a designer? If so where will go from here (career wise)? If not how do you think each of your work lives will help each other out inspirationally?

DM: I remain active as an architect and I have recently been involved in a large landscape design project in Korea for the training center of an insurance company.  There are potentially more design projects for me in the near future in Seoul.  Being an artist is a fairly new experience. I was so pleased to encounter a very positive and enthusiastic response, which encouraged me to pursue that route.

These two routes are totally interconnected and I could have never produced these artworks without having worked as an architect before. These two activities are definitely feeding the other, in terms of representational technique and inspirational themes.

VISIT Hong Kong Facades by Daphne Mandel . Exhibit Ends 2014 MAY 20 . Man Mo Café, 40 Upper Lascar Row (Cat Street/Off Hollywood road), Sheung Wan, Hong Kong . T:+852 2644 5644 . Tue to Sun, 12 - 3pm and 6pm - midnight

JJ.

Zaha Zings! New Tower For PolyU Design (PHOTOS)

image

image

image

image

image

Okay. Let me just put it out there and get the obvious criticisms i’ve been hearing on and on about about Zaha Hadid’s design for the new new PolyU Design Jockey Club Innovation Tower out the way. Ready? Here goes:

CRITIC: The Tower is out of context with the rest of the Hong Kong PolyU Campus in Hung Hom.

ME: This is a criticism that most new “avant-garde” iconic buildings get around the world in relation to their context. And really… the language of this urban brutalist dream that is the HK PolyU campus is a product of its time and does not reflect what design innovators are doing at this point in time. Any further investment in architecture should support new ways of form exploration and form making.

CRITIC: The Tower facade, defined by a series of white aluminium fins is too flimsy.

ME: Actually I think it’s quite okay. I get that the horizontal striations are generally in line with the rest of HK Poly U’s Horizontal red bricked striations.

CRITIC: The windows and the buildings are too difficult to clean and maintain. They need to erect bamboo scaffolding to clean each area.

ME: You got me on that one. 

CRITIC: The floor layouts are too crazy.

ME: Actually the floor layouts are not bad. Each floor is a kind of place that is different from floor to floor. The corridors are as important as a place of gathering as are the classrooms. I would imagine design students could be more open to congregate within these playful spaces than traditional narrow corridors and boxy classrooms.

The vertical circulation without use of lifts is easy, using a main escalator from the Ground Floor Gallery to the First Floor, with subsequent floors connecting via a series of easy sloped staircases which are quite comfortable.

CRITIC: The paint job is a cheap white paint with no gloss or special finish. Design students can just easily scratch it.

ME: Agreed. I too am worried about the white paint used in the interior spaces, since it is a design school and different materials are always being lugged around by students.

———————————

image

Now that all those critical statements are out of the way and addressed, lets focus on the Good. Yesterday we had the pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting at the Innovation Tower’s official opening to the public with Zaha Hadid and company in tow. After seeing a series of speeches, all the guests were immediately invited to rush into the new building to what turned out to be an open house.

image

Here’s a few facts; the PolyU Design school was first established in 1964, which makes it 50 Year Old. In 2009 BusinessWeek rated its Master’s program as one of the World’s 30 Best Design Thinking Programmes. In 2013, PolyU Design became the only school in Asia to get in on Business Insider’s World’s Best 25 Design School list. While there is no Architecture Programme being housed here, they do teach Art / Education, Communication Design, Digital Media, Interior Design, Interactive Media, Product Design, Design Business, and Multimedia Entertainment Technology. 

image

Construction work on the school began in 2009, shortly after Zaha Hadid was named Design Architect. Four years later, the building completed in August 2013. In total, it houses 15,000 square meters of net floor area, accommodating about 1,800 staff and students.

image

While true that the building has its faults (what building has none?) overall the impression that I get here is that a Zaha building was achievable in a conservative city full of red tape like Hong Kong, and by the looks of some of the finishes… seemingly with the constraints of the allocated budget, which, correct me if i’m wrong, was about 40 million usd. 

BRAVA. TO. HER.

I mean, look at these spatial moments. It’s pure ArchiPron!

Read More

#theWanderlist: Zaha Hadid x Stuart Weitzman in Hong Kong

image

London based award winning Architect, Zaha Hadid, is everywhere in Hong Kong these days. For one, I’ll be attending the inauguration for her project for Hong Kong Poly U in two weeks, the Innovation Tower, Zaha’s first stand alone building in the city. Additionally, for those who have been shopping at Landmark Men’s Neil Barrett store in Central within the last two years, would get more than a hint that the shop is a Zaha-designed store. And priced at a whopping 1,500Euros online, sources say that Zaha’s United Nude shoe collaboration has been a hit in this city and mainland China as well.

image

Now taking our love for shoes and architecture to the next level, look what I spotted walking around the Hong Kong IFC Mall the other night… Hong Kong’s brand new Stuart Weitzman flagship, one of a handful in the world designed by Zaha Hadid. Hong Kong and the Milan stores are some of the first in operation. Other locations to follow include New York City, Rome, and possibly London and Beijing.

image

While the stores will conceptually be unique to each location, Hadid tells DEZEEN Blog that each “design is divided into invariant and adaptive elements to establish unique relationships within each worldwide location,” yet will all be conceptually and formally developed as if from the same family. This is to help establish the spatial direction as that uniquely of the Stuart Weitzman brand.

Enjoy my photos, and check out the shops (for architectural study of course. ahem.)

————————

Other Photos Spotted Online:

image

image

image

image

VISIT Stuart Weitzman Hong Kong . Shop 3076, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong / DESIGN Zaha Hadid Architects

JJ.