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.

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.

Seen&Scene: Supporting Creative Friends at Omar Khan Home and MISCHA Product Launches for Fall/Winter 2014

Friends very close to the heart, designers Omar Khan and Michelle Lai, have each just released new products in Hong Kong last week for Fall/Winter 2014. Omar and Michelle are regularly on the blog, but more so in the last month.Omar is making buzz for finally producing a home collection of area rugs via Omar Khan Home, and Michelle for celebrating the 10th Anniversary of MISCHA by introducing her first unisex line of Camo prints… A possible gateway into menswear style.

+ Omar Khan Home @ BLITZ for Lane Crawford

Last Tuesday at BLITZ, Lane Crawford’s curatorial and creative arm, hosted their first Fall event for Krafted I, a new initiative by the Department Store, to introduce brand curation of products and gifts focused on the luxury heritage market. While all big products market heritage these days, the items available for purchase at BLITZ for a limited time seeks to introduce new products to the Hong Kong market from smaller studios Globally… including Omar Khan Home. 

On immediate offer through Krafted I, are two prints from Omar Khan Home’s line of hand tufted artisan carpets in different colors. Also available at the pop-up is furniture designed by Yabu Pushelberg for Stellar Works, bags by Moreau (soon to open a shop in Hong Kong), jewellery by Maiyet, amazing modern sandals by Alvaro Gonzalez, and a selection of scarves and shawls by Janavi and The Elder Statesmen.

Omar Khan Home rugs on offer in different styles and colors.

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Krafted I product + designers catalogue.

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The Omar and I.

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Delicious bags by Moreau.

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Various curated items on offer.

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A toast at the new Joyce Wang designed, ISONO, to finish of the night.

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One big creative family.

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+ MISCHA Camo Collection @ KAPOK PMQ

Two days later we went to support MISCHA’s amazing new Camo Collection at Kapok Crafted in Hong Kong in the PMQ, a version of the Kapok family of shops focused (for the most part) on brands designed from within Hong Kong. Michelle’s new line even has a cool pop-up space within the curated boutique, displaying a full variety of styles from this new collection you can read more about here.

Designer, Michelle Lai, with her new product line.

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Plenty of supportive fans were at the opening including Menswear designer, Anthony Hill, with wife Fiona Hill (left), and Amanda Thompson of Grana (right).

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Me with amazing archie-fashion junkie, Yuen-Man Tse.

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New HOME Journal editor, Kissa Castaneda (center), with colleague plus Marketing maven, Ms. Khan-Linh (right.)

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My high-school pal and date that night, Carolyn.

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This cheeky duo, Vincent and Jerome.

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This one hot clutch.

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We all decided to celebrate by gorging on Camo-esque Deep Fried Green Tea Buns at Little Bao next door after with Chef Mai Chow and her partner, Samantha Wong from Little Square. Yum!

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Crafted in Hong Kong!

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So, the Krafted I Collection will be available at BLITZ for Lane Crawford now until September 18 at the ifc mall and until September 29th at the BLITZ Glasshouse on Canton Road. MISCHA’s Camo Collection shop at KAPOK Crafted in Hong Kong Pop Up will be available for a few more weeks.

DESIGN Omar Khan Home / WEAR MISCHA / SHOP BLITZ Glasshouse at Lane Crawford . 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon . T: +852-21182288 / SHOP Kapok Crafted in Hong Kong . GF Hollywood Road, HG10, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central HK . T: +852-28588170 

JJ.

After Hours, Two Artists Bring Focus On Mid-Autumn Moon

Two Hong Kong artists, Pete Ross and photographer Kyra Cambell, celebrates the city’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival this year by creating something… intimate and fascinating on its streets.

These photos above, shot around Hong Kong last week, represent the emergence of the Autumnal moon (hence the festival), and from their words… “setting the not yet developed moon early in the city at night before the festival allows the moon to be the focus of the city without distractions.”

To the artists, the moon set within the quiet city after business hours, represents the more tranquil, peaceful, and reflective side of the Mid-Autumn festival where family and friends gather to give thanks to all the work done in the previous year to get to this point.

From the artists:

The Moon sits in the city at night, visiting quiet streets, casting light on dark and bringing health and longevity to the people in Hong Kong. The project reminds us of the importance of time with loved ones, the traditions of moon gazing and looks forward to a bright and happy future.

PHOTOGRAPHS Kyra Campbell / ART Pete Ross

JJ.

#theWanderlist: A Guide To Sartorial Style in Hong Kong

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Well the cat’s out of the bag. My boss and an co-worker just walked up to me yesterday at the studio telling me that they just saw my video (above) in the Hong Kong Airport’s video screens and wondered why that was. Yes, there are people out there that don’t read this blog, or could care less what I do after hours… and most those people work with me. Which is great. So when they do let me know that they’ve seen me on Airport screens, it’s a bit funny to me.

About that video… this past summer I collaborated with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and producers at Singapore’s LiTV, to create some content for Hong Kong’s new global AD Campaign in Asia as well as to mark the arrival of the city’s new concierge app, MY HONG KONG GUIDE

The campaign, themed around the caption, My Time for Renewal, takes three guys; Celebrity Chef Alvin Leung, Model / Host Jason Godfrey, and Me, and introduces audiences to our favorite spots all over Hong Kong. Alvin tells carnivores where to get their fill of beef, Jason tells tourists how best to explore the city while getting the right amount of sun, and I teach guys where (in my opinion) is the best place to source a uniquely bespoke look. If you’d like to follow my Sartorial guide through this city… you can watch the video, use the itinerary on the app, and read the post below for more information about each of my Hong Kong menswear destinations I truly support and recommend.

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+ ELEMENTS OF A SUIT // Sham Shui Po District

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You can begin your sartorial adventure by sourcing your own fabrics, lining material, and buttons at the (in)famous Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong. This little district is one of the poorest and most dense locations of public housing estates. However, it is also a destination for Electronic geeks looking for rare imports (prices are not that cheap), and Fashion designers looking to source materials and other items for their creations. I definitely know fellow blogger, Geneva, DIY blogger A Pair and A Spare comes here almost every week, and so does Paola, designer of her label, Tangram. Most recently, artist Michael Leung had formulated a Night Market Project initiative at Sham Shui Po, which you can read about here.

So much on offer here, it can be overwhelming.

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However, for those who are brave enough to venture…

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Will find plenty of very cool items to choose from.

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So many shops line the streets for your sourcing needs.

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With tons of fabric options for all your different suits.

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For the sake of sourcing for the suit, there are a few areas on the street and some shops that do sell fabric for the outer shell and a suit’s lining. However, your tailor will also have a selection on offer. I suggest readers to come only to Sham Shui Po if only they have something particular that you are in search of, are trying to save a few bucks on material, or are looking for fabric for suit accessories like additional dress pants or dress shirts.

Remember, suiting fabric comes in various types beyond the Multi-Blend, Wool, or Polyester suits you are used to. Depending on the time of year or the event, you may opt for cotton, flannel, herringbone, linen, poplin, seersucker, or tweed. 

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+ BEST OF THE SPECS // Woo Ping Optical Co. in North Point

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After Sham Shui Po, we ventured over to the iconic Mom & Pop owned, Woo Ping Optical, in North Point. This place has been around since 1974… and at arrival, I immediately noticed that nothing about that place has changed since the Seventies! Most notably, a really vibrant lady dressed in forever ‘81 (as in 1981), is always there to offer great customer service to all who visit.

At Woo Ping, they sell plenty of used and new Ray Bans from different eras (Generic, Japanese, and US Only models), and a bunch of retro Japanese glasses that still are very much back in vogue today.

The nice lady, Ms. Chan,… one half of Woo Ping Optical.

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As it stands, frozen in time. Thank goodness.

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Retro is now back in. You got the memo?

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Which Japanese frames did I get? Guess.

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The other half of Woo Ping Optical who refuses to get his photo taken.

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I bought a pair of Japanese handcrafted green tortoise shell specs and prescription lenses to fit in. The perfect pair cost me around 400 hkd… TOTAL. Take that Lens Crafters!

According to our friends at Moustache Tailors (who feature Woo Ping on their own Hong Kong Guides), Woo Ping has plenty of fans including lady Shum Din Ha, tycoon Li KaShing, and singer Eason Chen.

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+ SUIT WITH THE RIGHT CUT // Moustache in SOHO

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Speaking of Moustache Tailors, we went to see them after the glasses place to check out how my summer jacket was going. Ellis Kreuger from the UK and his partner, Alex Daye from the US, are both the co-owners of Moustache. We actually had a lengthy interview with them a few years ago, which was photographed by Carmen Chan of How I Met Your Style. Back then they were were just venturing into Bespoke Denim on top of their Suiting services. Today they’re still going strong, and have actually given themselves Sundays off and an additional tailor/seamstress added on to the team in order to meet up with demand.

Some behind the scenes of the updated Moustache shop.

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Really excited to ‘design’ this summer wool jacket with Ellis and Alex.

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The difference between a suit from Moustache and a suit from a tailor in TST, is that Ellis and Alex are real masters of the perfect “cut” with an eye focused on current fashion trends and styling. Meaning, you will most likely get a suit that is maybe a bit more playful and fashion forward with a cut that is right for your body type (ie. slimming), vs. a suit based off of a generic paper template which is easily adjustable for different measurements. The difference is a look that is 2014 versus 1984.

Moustache will also give the customer options for all types of outer shell and lining combinations, stitching types, collar and lapel shapes, pockets, vents, pleats, cuffs… really it’s like being part of a fashion designer’s process. While this may initially seem overwhelming, it’s really not, because Ellis explains the whole process so easily and he’s got a form he writes on to make it seem like everyone is putting together specs for a new race car or something. Plus, there are also some guys out there that don’t want the selection of 5 materials that everyone is forced to gorge on when getting a generic tailored suit or jacket. My summer suit is actually made of a lightweight maroon thin wool material, and lined with a lime green and black polka-dot lining. I originally ordered golden buttons, but ended up with red wool covered buttons. The whole look is comfortable, casual, and modern. These guys are so easy to work with and the suit is ready in about 4 weeks with two visits total before the pick up.

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+ IF THE SHOE FITS // Shoe Artistry in Mongkok

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Before we ventured back to Hong Kong side from Kowloon, we stopped over in a non-descript Mongkok building to visit Shoe Artistry located on the 2nd Level. Shoe Artistry is Hong Kong’s premier studio for handmade measure-to-make shoes and it’s founder, Central Saint Martins graduate Kit Lee, is a very passionate artisan.

Kit started Shoe Artistry as a way to help a friend find a way to make her own bespoke shoe to celebrate finishing her final degree. In the process they were able to discover the iconic MING KEE shoe makers in Jordan, and his collaboration with MING KEE allows Kit to find a new generation of consumers looking to create a bespoke shoe.

Very low-key shopfront, but Shoe Artistry is the best in Handmade shoes.

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Colors and styles on offer make everything “on trend”.

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Loving this shoe wall.

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All the shoe forms for each client on the long shelf.

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The difference between a hand made shoe and high priced Italian brand, is that at the end of the day, mass-produced shoes are designed to fit a variety of feet sizes and are most likely partly built by machines, whereas shoes at Shoe Artistry are 100% handmade, and are based off a hand drawing of your own unique foot. Shoes at Shoe Artistry are not cheap and run from about 250 to 500 USD depending on the complexity of the style. However, a bespoke shoe really does finish a bespoke suit quite nicely, AND the artisanal shoe’s design are custom made for each individual gentleman.

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+ OLD FASHIONED BAR // Tai Lung Fung in Wanchai

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Not really menswear or sartorial related, but since we’re on the right wavelength… a well suited man certainly will find himself right at home here at Tai Lung Fung, a watering hole tucked away behind the historic Stone Nullah Blue House. The chill space is actually more of a local then a destination bar, however its nostalgic decor and refreshing version of a Whiskey Old Fashioned makes this place a perfect night that is uniquely one-of-a-kind in Hong Kong. 

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That’s definitely where we ended, and I’m glad that we did. I can still taste that whiskey drink. Go before dinner or after (not during.)

SHOP Sham Shui Po . Exit Sham Shui Po Station / SHOP Woo Ping Optical Company . GF, 278 King’s Road, North Point, Hong Kong . T: +852-25717810 / WEAR Moustache . GF, 31 Aberdeen Street, Sheung Wan . T: +852-25411955 / WEAR Shoe Artistry . Office 4, 2F Prosperity Building, 61 Tung Choi Street, Kowloon . T: +852-27966018 / DRINK Tai Lung Fung . 5 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong . T: +852-25720055

JJ.

#JJStyle: Erbert Chong Discovers A Black Metropolis, AW 2014

Ever since I went to check out Erbert Chong’s debut  starting with a SS14 collection this time last year, i’ve been a fan of his understated yet sharp work. “Fierce” is something I would describe Erbert’s overall directive since launch. As I reported before, Erbert is a graduate of no less than three international fashion programmes… Parsons, FIT, and then ESMOD in Paris. 

One year later, his AW14 collection (ie. second line), is about to go on sale. Dubbed Black Metropolis, the latest lookbook campaign, photographed by Rosemary Conway, does its best to give the looks… derived from turn of the century “Old-World glamour and dark occultism”, a proper stage. The looks are feminine, but with a very masculine and architectural raw edge. Of course, Erbert looks to Fritz Lang’s 1927 Futura-Art Deco film, Metropolis, an inspiration source, as are objects and other architectures like the Chrysler Building.

Still quintessentially a Hong Kong designer, Erbert infuses classic silhouettes of the traditional qipao into the mix to help give a sense of height and strength to the his clients who are always all too eager to wear his collection.

Other things to note, the fabrics used in this particular line are specially sourced from Beijing’s oldest historic fabric shop, Rui Fu Xiang, renowned for their history of making handcrafted Chinese silks for traditional cheongsam and qipao dresses.

WEAR Erbert Chong

JJ.

SG_WOMEN_615x100 New Season

#theWanderlist: WOAW! Brings You Elephant Grounds Coffee

Style icon and distributor of the stuff that us kids love, Mr. Kevin Poon, makes a business through the curation and distribution of well designed style & lifestyle goods.

From comfortable yet stylishly cool fashion shoes, speakers, watches, heck even scented candles and men’s soaps, all the items he’s personally picked out to sell himself… are available now under one roof at the WOAW! Concept Store, a showroom/shop for his wares.

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That said, like a true businessman, Kevin has also gotten into the coffee game. Right timing as well, now that Hong Kong has plenty of new coffee houses on offer, which basically means, Hongkies can’t drink enough… but question is… are they drinking the right stuff?

Elephant Grounds Coffee, as the new venture is called, is conveniently located inside the WOAW ! store, complete with a nice bar and a wide balcony overlooking a community park below. Whether you’re needing a recharge break after / during shopping, or just need some contemplative time with a cup of joe while staring down at old men playing checkers on a park bench… I truly recommend Elephant Grounds Coffee because it’s just so tasty and hits the right caffeine spot in your brain.

On offer are full bodied and full flavoured drip coffees that are locally sourced made of fine Brazilian, Sumatran, African, and Costa Rican beans. For blended coffees, everything is great… but let me suggest, the Elephant Grounds Short Black, the Dark Roast Latte, and the extremely rich Elephant Grounds Iced Coffee. 

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On weekends if you’re lucky, you can cool down with one of 30-40 random ice cream sandwiches on offer. When I went I had the “Weekend Special”, a Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies… complete with sea salt to sprinkle on top. If you’re not that adventurous, the Homie Cookies are great alternatives.

While there’s not much yet in Hong Kong to create a “coffee scene”, it’s good to know that there are places like Elephant Grounds and a few others in the city that really care about serving great tasting coffee.

Meanwhile, Here’s some kids who love a good Coffee and Cookie combo… Katrina and Jason, the dynamic duo behind Bite Me Magazine.

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This skinny guy.

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Time Out HK Editor, Arthur Tam (on the right) and friend.

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And here are some old men you can stare at playing checkers.  Zone out to this on the balcony.

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Now get coffee and buzz off.

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DRINK Elephant Grounds Coffee . WOAW! Store, 11 Gough Street, Sheung Wan, T: +852-25231313

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.