DESIGN NOTES:  Your Own Working Loft Space In Chai Wan, Finally

With more and more creative start ups, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and freelancers in the city, investors in Hong Kong are finally giving some of these non-corporate dreamers a stab at an atypical non-corporate kind of working environment to cater to this niche, but steadily growing market of self employed heroes. In the last few years we’ve seen spaces like The Hive, Regus, or Garage pop up in Central… but sometimes even then, these things get too crowded or too corporate.

That said some of us have friends who work in these big loft spaces in Chai Wan or Wong Chuk Hang, and are completely envious of their free-wheeling artsy lives. Well envy no more… now launched in Chai Wan is a new “New York like” decorated loft space about 3000 square foot large designed just for future-space-starved-free-wheelers. Puerta del Sol, as it is called, co founded by Harold de Puymorin with two other partners, aims to offer a new kind of hot desk venue, that allows community engagement plus admin services to anybody in need of such a space.

Designers, Artists, Architects, Photographers, Writers, PR gurus, heck even accountants, are all welcome here. Plus Puerta del Sol can aid members with Business Registrations, VISAs, marketing, legal, and accounting services. Anyway to lift freelancers of the ground… which is great for a whopping 1,888 HKD a month of membership don’t you think?

"Open Hearts, Open Minds" is the Puerta del Sol motto… I care more about "Open Space" and "Open Community", and in Hong Kong where that’s hardly on offer, hopefully the "scene" proposed at Puerta del Sol is the answer we’ve all been looking for.

Plus the loft’s design looks completely amazing.

VISIT Puerta del Sol Hong Kong . Reality Tower, 4 Sun On Street, Unit 8 D, Siu Sai Wan, Hong Kong

JJ.

#JJStyle: Hong Kong’s Fierce Finest in Style-Off

This Sunday and for the next five Sundays after, the new PMQ (Police Married Quarters) in Hong Kong’s chic SOHO District, will be hosting the brand new Design Market @ PMQ, an initiative created to provide a platform for the city’s emerging independent designers to showcase and sell their products on a regular basis.

To support the initiative, Hong Kong’s fiercest and most stylish movers and shakers have banded together to create a “Style-Off” ad campaign, not only by celebrating the featured designer’s own creations, but also by taking part in an editorial shoot with PMQ’s architecture as a backdrop.

From top to bottom, the participating influencers include, amazing fashion blogger, CarrieBloomwood aka. Carrie Kwok, writer Christophe Wong, the Refinery’s creative director, Elizabeth Lau, Vogue China’s contributing fashion editor (my girl) Grace Lam, stylist Jasmine Smith, and Art Director Kenneth Wong.

According to Design Market, the campaign was formulated to raise awareness of young and emerging designers and to give advice to the general public on how to “Change Your Fashion Perspective” by experimenting with new styles and designs (aka. HK there’s more to fashion than Giordano and Comme Des Garcons!) 

Different Designers’ key pieces are mixed and match to create unique bespoke looks for each of the influencers in the shoot.

Future dates for Design Market @ PMQ, are Sunday August 24, October, 5, October 12, November 2, and November 9, 2014.

VISIT Design Market @ PMQ . 35 Aberdeen Street Social, Central Hong Kong

JJ.

#theWanderlist: Art Pops With Food at BIBO

When I first started writing this blog about four years ago, one of the initial goals with theWanderlister+ was to elevate Hong Kong’s cool subculture must-sees to a level where everyone who was interested about the city’s most stylishly cool and creative hotspots, can find it easily. When theWanderlister+ began, there were a few options for a blog post, and now many years later… I can’t even keep track of what this city has now on offer. This is how much Hong Kong has changed over time, and now I am in a situation where i’m only blogging about new restaurants like Nouveau French restaurants like BIBO months since it opened its snazzy gold doors in April. That said, I wish I’ve covered it sooner. Here’s why.

BIBO is one one of those “Wanderlister-ish” destination restaurants i’ve been wanting to try for a long time, but the obvious pile up of flashy street art (as could be seen through the restaurant’s shopfront windows on Upper Lascar Row aka. Cat Street) just seemed too intimidating and overwhelming. However, whoever the owners of BIBO are, they definitely paid quite a hefty sum to get some of the world’s “IT” pop-street artists to work on some site-specific pieces in the space. While Facebook Hong Kong is making controversy as news spreads regarding their practice of seemingly ripping off of local artists’ works to serve their interior design, BIBO meanwhile makes proud statements that they paid for their art which is admirable. The Global artists on display here are not only given a permanent stage in the city, but they are being compensated for their equally visible work.

Facebook has works that look like the King of Kowloon’s on their walls, but BIBO has an actual piece by the deceased local artist! And for sure Hong Kong makes Facebook makes way more moolah than Bibo can ever see from this city.

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Other works at BIBO that are impactful, include a huge etched portrait in concrete by Vhills aka Alexandre Farto. And to the right of that some stylistic graffiti work by German artist, Stohead.

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A major presence in the main dining room and visible from the lane outside is a large timber sculpture from KAWS. I thought it was a tad ostentatious when passing by, but after sitting in the dining room, I realised that its big scale actually works for the space.

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Several other pieces to note are some video-game inspired graphics by guerilla artist, Invader, as well as a few quiet pieces by Banksy.

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Men, if you use the urinal, you’ll be having an intimate moment with a Damien Hirst’s pills.

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Outside the WC’s… a rare hand drawing by deceased American artist, Keith Haring.

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And even up to now, according to management, there are still new acquisitions only days or weeks old, as the space’s design and decor is apparently in a constant state of flux based on acquisition and inclusion of new pieces. Accent works by Murakami, Kusama, Basquiat, and Shepard Fairy line the bar and the library reading areas.

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If you’re a fan of BIBO’s bar and cocktails like I am, you’ll be having another moment with JR’s pensive eyes. JR was last in the city via a collaborative show with Galerie Perrotin here.

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There’s just so much visual stimuli here. It’s great actually. Like this work by Jonone.

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If I have to be critical about something, and I believe there’s always room for improvement about everything… it’s that there needs to be work thats representational of Hong Kong’s own art scene, NOW. And like the food and the wine (which are amazing by the way), everything at BIBO is an imported culture of “cool”. That’s my only gripe, which is an important point to make.

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I went to a press dinner with lifestyle writer extraordinaire, Johannes Pong, and my friend Ann-Marie, who is a secret chef and a critical foodie, and she and I both agreed, the food and service at BIBO is completely excellent. And she is super critical, so I trust her view on everything food.

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Everything on offer is the work of Chef Mutaro Balde (formerly of Alain Ducasse at The Plaza Athenee) who is in charge of creating food that is French, Continental, Playful, and Innovative. Highlights of our meal include a very tasty Vegetarian Salad made of figs, artichokes, and asparagus, an anchovy and parmesan mac and cheese, and the l’oeuf mayo’ which is an egg with creamy yolk. We also tried something called ‘la Saint Jacques’ which is a dish of scallops with fresh pesto garnish, and a ‘foie gras poele’, a foie gras pan seared on grenadine-poached rhubarb.

BIBO has a comprehensive wine list and an amazing house sommelier by the name of Wallace Lo, who recently won Best Sommelier of Hong Kong 2014. Price wise, if you were to do dinner from starters to dessert, and pair it all with wine, a night at BIBO can set you back at about 1500-2000 HKD a person. That said, the food and the ‘underground art gallery’ ambiance are worth the visit if you’re looking to create a unique urban dinner experience for yourself.

We’re all definitely returning real soon.

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EAT BIBO . GF 163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan . T: +852-256 3188

JJ.

Interfacing Western and Eastern Identities, Works by Gongkar Gyatso

From 18 September to November, Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong will unveil a brand new show displaying work of Gonkar Gyatso, one of Tibet’s “pre-eminent contemporary artist”, whose work is focused on bridging both Eastern and Western culture via tongue in cheek compositions which speak to viewers from both sides of the globe.

For Pop Phraseology, Gyatso will combine references to traditional Tibetan life with that of the mass-media culture. The interfacing is the sum of works that will be on display, a collection that Gyatso does on both his 2D and 3D pieces.

Via Gallerist Pearl Lam:

Gyatso is deeply moved by the need to preserve and celebrate his own culture and just as artists like Judy Chicago, who seeks to make the vernacular of womanhood part of our discourse, or Glenn Ligon, who works to talk about Black Identity in America, or Yinka Shonibare, who uses the textiles of his heritage to address issues of colonialism, Gyatso inserts Buddhist and Tibetan iconography into our daily lives. They all ask, where is our place? What is our role? And, where are we going from here? It is a fascinating and inspiring discourse to be engaged in.

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From Top to Bottom: Wisdom of the 1% (2013) 60x40in, Meditations In and Out of Love (2014) 60x60in, Pendulum of Autonomy (2014) 60x80in, Untitled - Silver Base (2014) 60x80in, Untitled - Blue Base (2012) 16x18x12in.

VISIT ‘Pop Phraseology’ a Gonkar Gyatso Solo Exhibition . 18 SEP – NOV 2014 . Pearl Lam Galleries, 6F, 12 Pedder Street, Central, HK

JJ.

#JJStyle: Three Words. MISCHA. Camo. Collection.

As a long time fan, friend, and supporter of MISCHA’s founder/designer, Michelle Lai, i’m very pleased to announce the arrival of an amazing new capsule line she’s created that’s adventurous, innovative, yet still very “on-brand”, dubbed The Camo Collection. 

The Camo Collection retains MISCHA’s signature hexagonal graphic prints, but splatters it all with a new fluid camouflage motif defined by a traditional muted green, but with vibrant pops of color to mix it up. With the new Camo Collection, MISCHA not only breaks out of the brand’s two-tone japanese-inspired motif of the full-on hexagon shape wallpapering the bags, but she may also have to get used to a new kind of clientele… men.

While there have been talks about a 100% menswear collection from MISCHA for a long time (and there still might be in the foreseeable future), this Camo Collection does a great job catering to both women and men who are already big fans of the MISCHA product and aesthetic. That said I expect the line to gain a few MORE fans as well. Much More. The look and the print is something I have not seen in the market, which I think only works here because of the hexagon pattern giving the whole print a really cool base to play off of.

To further celebrate the arrival of the capsule line, MISCHA collaborates with both Lane Crawford and Kapok to supply the shops with limited edition pieces designed exclusively for each store. A limited edition Messenger Backpack (not shown on this post) will be available at all Lane Crawford stores from August 2014 and a special Kapok version of the “Jet Set Tote” featuring Kapok-exclusive colourways and details will also be available at the same time.

I know what I want…  definitely “the Voyager Duffel”, its the best way to escape in style. 

WEAR MISCHA

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: A Panoply of Dreams, Omar Khan Home Collection Debuts

My pal whom I first met in Hong Kong, Parsons graduate and amazing designer, Omar Khan, made a name for himself doing great visual merchandising work for On Pedder and then Joyce before going solo doing freelance work for events, and as a spatial designer under his new company, The Omar Khan Collective. Omar then moved from Hong Kong to Malaysia a few years ago, to continue his work for clients and friends in the broader region, which, through his various projects, he was able to slowly accumulate a whole archive of artisan-crafted handmade featured carpets he has created through his journey which can now be sold under a sub-moniker, Omar Khan Home

Omar Khan Home, has since debuted this past year at the first Maison et Objet Asia Singapore in March 2014, and has already been exhibited at Lane Crawford’s Chengdu Flagship… with word on the street that it may also be on offer here at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong as well. (Will keep you updated on this.)  

Omar Khan, a Singaporean with Dutch, Chinese, Egyptian, Pakistani, and German roots, was educated in the states since High School to college, uses his amalgamated past experiences to create designs which re-orient the “orient”, but in a graphic format that is contemporary and romantic… ie. “a panoply of objects, textures, and sensations”, according to him. The line as of now consists of 15 designs, with each comprising of about 3 different variations and made of wool, viscose, and silk… all hand tufted in Malaysia with Omar’s personal guidance on each piece that goes from factory to client. His signature rugs are quintessentially memorable and are each defined by “strong graphic motifs and fantastical elements” which Omar says are derived from his “dreams”. We have a quick chat with Omar about the new Omar Khan Home line and his amazing 2014 debut so far.

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theWanderlister+: Congratulations Omar on the launch of the the Omar Khan Home, tell me about the new line and how it fits conceptually with your design company, The Omar Khan Collective?

Omar Khan: The Omar Khan Collective and the home brand, Omar Khan Home, is really a company and product that wants to tell your story, be it thru lifestyle, retail, residential or commercial projects. We shy away from trends and we believe a personal investment into your life means more. I suppose thats why I decided to launch with a collection of statement rugs.

From an interior perspective, I always felt that having a rug in your space is an anchoring element. From a wellness perspective, we see the rug as more than just a rug, it’s a statement. You chose that piece because on some level it resonated with you. 

theW+: The last time you were on Wanderlister.com, we discussed your VM work for Papillon, a lifestyle boutique destination in Kuala Lumpur. That was about 4 years ago. Do you still do similar kinds of work today? And how does your work for The Omar Khan Collective feed into your home styling brand and vice versa?

OK: We are first and foremost an interior focused company. We have a consulting arm that deals with issues outside the realm of interiors but still very much intrinsic to the end presentation, We have done big atrium installations for two malls in Kuala Lumpur and some VM and  branding consultation around the region.

Within the consultancy we have what we call “Crafted and Curated” and this is an initiative specific to hotels who want to up the ante with their gift stores. Omar Khan Home will be expanding into scented candles and luxury towels which we will use to anchor the merchandise selection and then add on with a special curation from local artisans. Selfishly i miss a really good hotel gift store so to be able to bring that back is very interesting to me.

theW+: The feedback of your work has been quite positive. Some of your rugs have been showcased throughout China via Lane Crawford and other parts of Asia as well. Why do you think that the response has been so great? Did you expect it all?

OK: For me the rugs are a labor of love, which comes from a pure creative side that I feel resonates with people. I am planning a series of trunk shows throughout the region and it will be interesting to see the perspective on the collection from country to country. I always believe in the transformative effects a rug can have on a person and in their home, so for me that positive response specific to wellness is quite rewarding.

theW+: Who do you look to as your design heroes?

OK: I suppose they come from all different design fields. Hayze Menon, the man behind the music from my video, Brian Christie, who concepted and directed it, Meredith McLean, a creative powerhouse whose ability to take your vision and go the extra mile to turn it into reality. I’ve been privileged  enough to work with them and continue working with them on collaborative projects moving forward. 

Statement Rugs by Omar Khan Home from Omar Khan on Vimeo.

In regards to the usual suspects, I’ve always had Ray and Charles Eames, up there on the same pedestal as well as Erwin Olaff, Tim Walker & Dries van Noten.

theW+: What else will we see from Omar Khan Home, I know you will be collaborating with Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, among other projects…

OK: Moving forward, as a company our biggest ethos is that everything presented by The Omar Khan Collective should resonate with you. I hope to expand into Bed & Bath products with a range of oversized luxury towels, chinaware, fabric, and wallpaper collaborations. Such is the case for our brand new and very limited range of scented candles from France. There are 4 notes - our hero scent “Fleure Blanche”, “Palace”, “Lounge”, and my personal favourite “Bad Boy”. I have such great dreams for them in my head : )

DESIGN Omar Khan Collective and Omar Khan Home

JJ.

DESIGN NOTES: Designer Stefano Tordiglione Breathes New Life in Brooks Brothers Hong Kong Flagship

The Menswear market is huge in Asia, and especially in Hong Kong, so no wonder there’s been a great selection of casual, business, and luxury bespoke tailoring labels that have entered the city within the last few years. The newest player in town is a beautiful new flagship for American tailoring company, Brooks Brothers, in the IFC. This project, by HK-based studio, Stefano Tordiglione Design, seeks inspiration from the house’s original flagship in New York City on Madison Avenue as the creative basis of its conceptual direction.

Items reminiscent of the original Manhattan architecture include the shop’s exterior stucco plasters which surround columns, the interior ceiling, and the window details. A cash-wrap island in the middle of the shop, greets customers at entry, reminiscent of classic destination Department Stores in history. Antique pieces are also used for the shop’s various fixtures and visual merchandising islands, plus all furnishings are crafted in Chicago Heritage and American Walnut to reflect the brand’s American heritage. New designs incorporated by Stefano Tordiglione include a fresh take on the industrial-style chandelier, and fitting rooms which reflect old style Chicago lofts. Also on display in the shop are large-scale photographs of Brooks Brothers heritage shirts over time from its first ready-to-wear collection, button downs, and non-iron shirts.

Other design innovations include a whimsical direction for the shop’s mosaic floor, handmade in Italy and redesigned to resemble a classic New York pavement, the pale green striped walls based on a Park Avenue flat, and on the timber façade… a bronze geometric pattern based on a classic window pane from a 20th Century Long Island mansion. The message is clear, classic heritage is modern again.

Brooks Brothers will soon be celebrating its 200-year anniversary, and Stefano Tordiglione Design makes sure that the Hong Kong IFC flagship will be ready to give new life as it stands on a strong brand’s DNA. 

SHOP Brooks Brothers IFC . Shop 1096, 8 Finance Street, Central, HK, 3196 8228 HK . T: +852 2234 7088 / DESIGN Stefano Tordiglione Design LTD

JJ.

#theWanderlist: BEP Vietnamese Kitchen Stands Out By Fusing Street Style Viet Meals With Low-Key “Normcore” Branded Design, And It Works

For some new dining destinations in Hong Kong, maybe the best way to stand out is to keep things minimalist, easy, and not look like theres so much effort in trying to stand out. I mean new “must-go” restaurants in this city open almost every week, and this current normcore attitude, you know the “desire to NOT stand out” and the “opposite of hardcore”… is maybe what works if one really needs to make a mark these days amongst the glut of dining choices on offer.

That said, being normcore, is not as easy at it looks. One has to be methodical about materiality, textures, lighting, form, layout, and overall aesthetic planning. There’s a difference between a space or restaurant that’s minimally Designed vs. one that is just… well… empty.

BEP Vietnamese Kitchen opened just recently, and the group who runs it knows exactly what they’re doing since they’ve spent all these years perfecting the casual Vietnamese offer through their other brand, Nha Trang. BEP is located in a little alleyway just behind PURE Gym Soho off Staunton Street with a panoramic glazed window framed in a seemingly untreated silver aluminum cladding. The feeling is that of a diner you’ve seen before, and the immediate familiarity and openness in the facade design (also a row of tall chairs for outdoor seating), makes anyone feel welcome in this joint.

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The interior and exterior work is designed by Candace Campos of ID, originally from Los Angeles, now based in Hong Kong. And Before BEP, Campos has worked on other F&B projects in the city such as Mana, Tate Dining Room, and Heirloom and a few other residential projects under her belt. Campos kept things minimal at BEP with light timber tables, and sexy chairs that look like folded cardboard. Columns are clad in square stark white ceramic tiles with a dark grouting which creates a “subway” style grid, underpinning all the light timber and raw concrete finishes. It feels like a cool easy anteen in Brooklyn or Los Angeles. 

Together with Campos, the branding work for BEP was executed by Danielle Huthart through her firm, Whitespace, with denim uniforms designed by Paola Sinisterra of Tangram (apparently). This is a style trio that’s hard to beat.

Oh and the food… so my friend, Louise, took me here one Saturday, and everything they’ve got are easy to eat shareable snacky dishes like Squid Cakes, Pomelo Salad, Stir Fried Clams, Beef Salad, Sesame Rice Crackers, Garlic Fried Chicken Wings, various options of Bun Chay (dry noodle with fried goods on top), and you know the basic Pho offerings. For those who are into that stuff… there’s plenty of Sriracha for you to plop into your meals. Price wise its a great deal with meals coming out to about 100hkd a person (and it’s Central…AND it’s a place you actually WANT to be seen in!) It could be my new local.

My favorite dish? The Banh Xeo, a thin flour crepe stuffed with shrimps, pork, lettuce, and herbs. I loved it with fish sauce. So delicious. Give it a go. It’s very economical, nothing to lose, lots to gain.

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Some Photos via BEP Facebook. Some Photos by Me.

EAT BEP Vietnamese Kitchen . Lower Ground Floor, 9-11 Staunton Street, SOHO, Central, Hong Kong . T: +852 25227533 / DESIGN Candace Campos of ID / BRANDING Whitespace Hong Kong 

JJ.

 

DESIGN NOTES: Facebook Hong Kong’s Headquarters Localizes With Wall Graphics Similar To Works of Local Artist

Making the rounds on the interwebs is Facebook’s new Hong Kong show headquarters on the 60th floor of One Island East. At 11,000 sq.ft, Facebook in Hong Kong  is all typically very “Facebook” in terms of office programming and interior design. The Coconuts Hong Kong blog calls it “super hip” and “luxurious”. Although the office is primarily a marketing showroom (since most of the coding works are done at Facebook’s headquarters in California), its cool to see that there is a need to have such a “visible” office in Hong Kong to represent the Asian Market… ie. Hong Kong earns Facebook a lot of $$$$.

That said, it’s weird then that the “Cool graffiti with a Hong Kong flair” that Coconuts Hong Kong writes about that adorns Facebook Hong Kong’s new space closely mirrors the work of one of Hong Kong’s art darlings, Peter Yuill, whom I interviewed and featured on this blog several times before. As far as I know, Yuill didn’t execute the works in the Facebook headquarters, but he wouldn’t tell me more than that. That said, hopefully since Hong Kong makes Facebook a lot of money, it would be nice to see Facebook giving back to the local context and creative culture instead of setting foot in the city, and simply doing a god-forbid, “China Copy” of local Hong Kong artist’s works… which I hope is not the case in this situation. It’s okay to import a brand in the city, especially if it makes a brand money, but to do a surface and merely visual representation of local Hong Kong art and artist’s work, instead of outright cooperative engagement with the artist, is more harm to the brand, and will most likely make that brand lose street cred amongst  a percentage of its core constituents.

Will report if I hear anything more about this. I think Peter’s work is excellent, and i’ve seen his work in different commercial and F&B environments before. It’s really weird to see a Peter Yuill-type work in someone’s office that isn’t done by Peter himself… and it’s quite a wonky version of his style as well.

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UPDATE 14.07.28 5:30PM: Quite a discussion is happening on the comments area over on our Facebook Page, where some of our readers have remarked on the close similarity between works by artist, Tsang Tsou Choi and Peter Ross Art. Tsang Tsou Choi aka. “King of Kowloon” is deceased, but Peter Ross still makes art in Hong Kong to this day. Most recently Peter Ross’ work was featured in Hong Kong Magazine.

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PHOTO CREDITS: All Images of Facebook Hong Kong’s Interiors above via MARKETING INTERACTIVE / Coconuts Hong Kong. Last three images copyright Peter Yuill from his social media accounts and website.

DESIGN Peter Yuill

JJ.