Now that the festivities have wound down, and the fireworks have popped, I would just like to say, how proud I am of Hong Kong giving Taipei a run for its buck by stepping up the plate as the “Go-To” destination for all things New Years (both Western and Chinese.)
I remember 5 or 6 years ago, when I celebrated my first New Years Eve on top of the IFC, at midnight, us revelers hardly even saw a squirt of anything coming out of the HK Cultural Centre across the Harbour… well these days look… ALL TOWERS ON.
(IMG VIA NEWSCOMAU)
Hong Kong is really stepping up to the plate to remain Asia’s World City.
That said, others kept it low key in their own neighborhoods and/or at home, and we kept our end quite chilled and relaxed. A great friend of mine, Jade, offered a meal at home, then rafter the whole gang joined the #HKSocial Crew dressed to the nines for a night of “Hollywood Glamour” at my first party at the Hullet House, HK’s ONLY premier Boutique Hotel that’s so exclusive, they only offer 13 bedrooms!
#HKSocial @ the Hullet House. (L-R, Elle the Starlet of Impact Asia, Casey the Crooner of the Popcorn Media Network, Connie the Serious Actress of CONNVOYAGE Travel Blog, Josie the Ingenue of Regus, and Me the Producer!)
My glorious dates for the night; Jade, Sam, and Genevieve. Glam, Dashing, and Fiery.
And Casey the Crooner with the Producer! :) (I managed to fit in my new “Flat Top” glasses I just got from the Henry Holland for Le Specs collection available at I.T and my NEVIL Triwa Watch available at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.)
But while the Fireworks showed exactly how “First Class” Hong Kong wanted to be, it’s amazing system of barricades and police barriers was exactly a case of 2 steps forward, 1 step back. To get from where we were at Minden Road around K-11, we needed to convince not 1, but 5 police officers to give us way to A) Get through the Subway Tunnel, B) Get through barriers to get to Canton Road, and C) Get pass 2 more barriers to get to the Hullet House. Police would not let anyone to the Hullet House hotel, if we didn’t have physical invitations for each of us to their party. It was worse than Volar or Dragon-i with Snoop Dog or DIPLO headlining the night.
Okay… maybe SOME Police Order WAS needed. But seriously, i’m sure 50% of the crowd didn’t expect waiting behind a police barricade was a way to start of 2012.
THAT SAID. Once we actually got to Hullet House, all was well and good and it was fun times all around. It wasn’t as packed as we anticipated, which is understandable because the party had all of the Hong Kong Police to be their bouncer (Josie Tao was only let in AFTER the countdown), but being in the open air in relaxed/historic environment full of friends and champers sure did beat other options… like being shoulder to shoulder and neck to neck in the midst of all the chaos Harbour side.
In any rate 2012 entered with class, and I couldn’t have asked for better company OR a better venue!
The lovely Hullet House and surrounding Gardens.
1 of 3 Marilyn’s performing that night. (Note to impersonators… Marilyn had a large body of work. And if you you plan to bring three Marilyn’s to a party, please AT THE VERY LEAST come as three different Marilyn’s from different era’s and movies. Seven Year Itch was NOT her only movie. Thanks Connie for complaining.)
+ THE W+ COOL LIST: Hong Kong’s Top 8 in 2011
That said, before we move on to the glorious 2012, THE Year of the Dragon, let’s just take this time to look at some cool stuff that came out of and popped up from Hong Kong in the past year. Since this is indeed a blog, let’s do a blog thing, and make what readers like most… LISTS! And why not? Everyone loves lists, and so this is theWanderLISTer+ blog and listing is what I generally do, so let me LIST for you what I thought were THE Best creatively and within the lifestyle sector that came out of Hong Kong this year. Some had made it as posts on this blog, and some have yet to make it as posts, and if it hadn’t made it as posts, then it was probably because I loved it so much that I didn’t even know how write about it. Ie. I was overwhelmed. And on that note, here is my list of the coolest thing from this city, this year.
1) COOLEST NEW HK HOTEL 2011 // The Hotel ICON
By far, the coolest new hotel in the city this year is one of the first of it’s kind that I know of, a private enterprise within the realm of an educational institution and with the support of Hong Kong’s best and brightest creatives… The Hotel ICON. With an amazing list of contributors such as the likes of Architect Rocco Yim, Interior Designer William Lim, Fashion doyenne Vivienne Tam, Fashion Designer Barney Cheng, Graphic Designer Tommy Li, Curator Freeman Lau, as well as international talents Patrick Blanc (the green wall expert) and Terrence Conran and Partners, The Hotel ICON is Asia’s first Business Boutique hotel that is benchmarked as an “Art Hotel”. Staying here doesn’t break the bank and I must say, I’ve had a blast hanging out here, meeting the designers from Terrence Conran, and seeing all of them talk at the hotel’s official “opening” in the fall.
Offerings include a magnificent Cantonese Restaurant and Library Bar at the top floor (where no kids are allowed), called Above & Beyond, The Market… a buffet haven designed by Terrence Conran, and the Cafe in the Lobby called Green with a greenwall by Patrick Blanc. Additionally, the Hotel Icon has a revolving art exhibit curated by Freeman Lau with works by HK’s top artists and graphic designers, and students from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
IMAGE: My Instagram photos of Hotel Icon’s The Market Buffet Brunch above with Denise of SUPERWOWOMG, Christina of HKFashionGeek, and Mandy from Hotel Icon.
Hotel ICON / 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong / +852-3400-1000 / http://www.hotel-icon.com
2) COOLEST NEW HK RESTAURANT 2011 // Linguini Fini
You know what. I’ve never written about Linguini Fini on this blog but there were many chances to, because I’m practically here all the time (well not the last month and a half because i’ve been out of town most of the time), but this is where I first met the #HKSocial gang, celebrated Andy’s Birthday (of StandardVintage), AND amongst other things, come to chase what I think is the best cup of latte in Hong Kong (I kid you not give it a try.) Additionally I actually LOVE their NO RESERVATIONS policy, no matter how VIP YOU ARE, and the staff is quite stylish and very friendly, and interiors AS stylish and by my #HKFashionBlogger friend, Geneva’s boyfriend, Ben McCarthy, who is the principal of Charlie & Rose, the design boutique in Hong Kong.
And the food. THE FOOD is simply divine, and what more, it doesn’t break the bank. Chef Vinny Lauria creates some of the most scrumptious dishes, mostly revolving around Pork. Not just any pork, this is Pork from Hong Kong’s farms. Yes, Linguini Fini’s is powered by Homegrown Foods Hong Kong, meaning all locally sourced pork, vegetables, and ingredients. This is Organic Food, without the heavy, obvious, hippy preaching. Ie. it’s not preached, they just practice it flat out. My favorites? I go for the Flatbread (Cherry Tomato, Mozarella, Garlic), Homemade Spicy Pork Sausage, Caprese, Spaghetti Carbonara, and the Rotisserie Porchetta (which is their crispy Pork Belly.) I finish off with their Lemon Olive Oil Cake which is divine. Obviously, if you’re Jewish, this is not a place for you… but for everyone else, go ahead! Cheap, Chic, and Scrumptious… and unpretentious, which is why I love this snazzy place.
Linguini Fini / 1F, The L Place, 139 Queen‟s Road, Central, Hong Kong / Monday - Saturday / 2857 1333 / www.linguinifini.com / Linguini Fini FACEBOOK / Linguini Fini TWITTER / Linguini Fini WEIBO
3) COOLEST NEW HK SHOP // The General Store
I don’t know what else to say about this store that hasn’t already been said. But Shelly Hayashi grabbed a burgeoning niche market for Hong Kong (Western/American Mid to Early 20th Century Designer Home Goods) and put a stage for it in NOHO’s Burgeoning “IT” streets, Gough and Gage Street, and named it simply, the General Store. Additionally they now carry my favorite bags from T.K Garment Supply and sunglasses and accessories from Standard Vintage. Prices are not easy on the pocket, BUT, these items are hard-to-find and are practically every Interior Designer and Visual Merchandiser’s dream. Shelly can source what you’re looking for. The goods are true vintage, one-of-a-kind, and completely quality.
General Store / 41 Gage Street, Shop H, G/F New Central Mansion, Central, Hong Kong / +852-28518144 / THE GENERAL STORE TWITTER / THE GENERAL STORE FACEBOOK
4) COOLEST NEW HK PRODUCT // Moustache X Stiibu Leather Travel Accessories
Yes. Yes. Yes. It arrived later in the year, but the gentlemen from Moustache and folks at HK’s Tapani/Stiibu Leather completed a very quirky, stylish, and useful collaboration of travel leather goods that completely have that Alex and Ellis sense of style. You may check out the whole collection on Alex Daye’s Wordpress Blog, but the collection includes a travel wallet and iPad Case (as seen above), a DOP Kit, a Passport Holder, a small “Going Out” wallet, and a cool Luggage Tag. The collection is inspired by the Memphis Design Group of the late 70s and early 80s, and crafted with Italian novalatta, deerskin, and napa leather, NOW available at Moustache and Lane Crawford stores.
MOUSTACHE / 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / +852-2541-1955 / ONLINE
5) COOLEST NEW HK “IT”-NEIGHBORHOOD // Chai Wan
Art East Island and surrounding businesses/enclaves/galleries in Chai Wan is really where it’s at these days. Let’s see what’s the list: 10 Chancery Lane ANNEX (whch hosts several shows and parties including the EPIC Lane Crawford LAB Pink is Punk party above hosted by Marcelo Burlon), Carol Lee Mei Kuen’s Personal Studio, Ooi Botos Gallery, the Pure Art Foundation, MADHOUSE Contemporary, Latitude Ceramics, MAP Office Studios, the TANGRAM Studios, AO Photobook Store, and the new cool coffee house which is the ONLY place which serves HK’s best Bagel, Cream Cheese, and Lox sandwhich, Jehan Chu’s Chaiwanese. What’s cooler about this neighborhood is that it’s a zero-Starbucks zone and the “cool factor” is not evident to all. You basically have to know someone who knows someone that knows when event/openings/and parties. It’s really a welcome change, and I hope Hong Kong helps fostering ways in which Industrial Districts/Buildings can be utilized as artist loft-studios. But you know the zeitgeist when you jump in a cab, show the taxi driver your Google Map, the pin-drops at a Chai Wan Industrial Buildings, and the taxi driver says… “There?” I say “Yes.”, and he says “Studio?” I say “Yes”. And he says “OOOHHH Yes.” and Drives to where you need to go in Chai Wan. Maybe not SO Secret after all?
ART EAST ISLAND ONLINE / CHAIWANESE ONLINE / MADHOUSE Contemporary FACEBOOK / 10 Chancery Lane ANNEX ONLINE
6) COOLEST NEW HK “IT”-STREET / Tung Street
This next entry is a bit more accessible to our readers, but definitely the coolest new street in Hong Kong that cannot be missed for all the “coolhunters” out there is definitely Sheung Wan’s Tung Street which is anchored by two newly minted design shops, Konzepp (photo above) and Signed-by (photo below from their opening). Julie Shah and Carlo Aquino run and curate goods to be sold in Konzepp by Asian designers and creatives while Nicola Borg-Pisani curates very high end design goods, journals, and fashion at Signed-by that generally are a bit more high concept items that fall towards the spectrum of art. There are plenty of other shops on Tung Street worth checking out, but make sure to stop by Loveramics which basically carries ceramics for home dining that makes you want to toss everything out of your kitchen and replace it with their amazing collection of wares. AND finally amongst other cool shops, galleries, and boutiques on this street, check out this website from Helen Lindman Design offering to sell some modern and retrofitted spaces there. Let’s buy property to put all our new design wares in?
Konzepp, 50 Tung Street in Sheung Wan / KONZEPP ONLINE / Signed-by, G/F 43 Tung Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong / Signed-by ONLINE / Loveramics, 37 Tung St, Hollywood Road, Central, HK / LOVERAMICS ONLINE
7) COOLEST NEW HK ART GALLERY // Saamlung
When I first walked into this gallery for the opening of João Vasco Paiva’s show, the inaugural exhibit from Robin Peckham’s newest venture, Saamlung, the first thing I said to myself was “YES. YES. YES.”, Hong Kong is finally “getting it”. By “Getting It” I mean quality spaces to show art, with quality art TO show. Paiva’s exhibition delved in the realm between art and architecture and so does the other shows that followed, such as Charles LaBelle’s exhibition. The Saamlung opening brought in the right crowd, all the supporters and followers of Hong Kong’s creative community and generally the night was quite cheery with good vibes all around, which goes to show that Peckham’s dream about turning a commercial stage in Central for HK’s best independent artist may just turn out to be a success. I CANNOT wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for this gallery.
Saamlung, 26/F Two Chinachem Plaza, 68 Connaught Rd. C (135-137 Des Voeux Rd. C.), Central, Hong Kong / Tues.-Fri. 11:00-19:00, Sat. 12:00-18:00 / email@example.com / www.saamlung.com
8) COOLEST NEW HK ARCHITECTURE // The Opus
OPUS HONG KONG - English from Swire on Vimeo.
There was quite a few collection of new buildings this year in Hong Kong, some of which are Iconic and were designed by some of the world’s best “Starchitects”. In this blog I’ve written about the new Run Run Shaw Media Centre at City University of Hong Kong by Daniel Libeskind, and have briefly written about the HK Design Institute by Codelfy Architects, as well as the Hotel ICON and LEGCO Building by Rocco Yim, but the reason why I named The Opus on Stubbs Road by California-based Frank Gehry, the “Coolest” new building in Hong Kong because breaking out of this “Hong Kong” Style residential design that you see sprouted everywhere in the City-State is INDEED Cool in it’s own right. Yes after looking at the exhibit and seeing all of Gehry’s models, indeed what he has essentially done is take an HK-Style Building and put it in a blender, and pulled it out like taffy, but what we’re seeing is essentially a push by a local developer, SWIRE, to attempt to break out of the box of residential design which has defined the way HK Developers and Architects like to design their buildings, and with the aid of HK’s strict residential rules and regulations. But if you think about it, you don’t see HK Style buildings anywhere else in the world, except maybe cities in China and Southeast Asia, where HK Developers and Architects like to make their mark.
Back to the OPUS, it’s not a lot of units (12), and 1 per floor, each unit about 6,000 sq.m. per floor. But its 360-degree views, and a nice and pleasant site on the slopes of Mount Cameron where you can see all of Hong Kong and Kowloon, and perhaps parts of China. So where does HK Residential Design go from here? With 12 Units it’s definitely not a mass appeal prototype, BUT, we hope there will be changes in the way HK people live, are brought up to live, and expect from the developers that build residences for them. The people here work hard, and deserve something better than a floor plan defined by numbers and cost-efficiency.
Thank you 2011. Now 2012… bring it on!
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