(Above: Feng Shui Master, Thierry Chow)
Those who know me personally know that my addiction to multi-tasking and juggling of several projects from both being a designer and blogger keeps me up on my toes so high that I’m basically flying on my own space ship. This is the reason why to some, I must look like some kind of “Space Cadet.” Additionally, some may also consider me “Spacey” because of my vocal (to my close friends) beliefs in the active exploration of a “non-physical”/ spiritual universe. What the!? You Ask? Let me explain.
This means that, although I’m personally not religious (spirituality too boxed up according to other people’s definition), I believe in a “metaphysical” order to the Universe, meaning that from my perspective on things, the Universe we see is a sliver of a portion and a by-product of what is actually REALLY out there. And just because one can’t materially and physically feel, see, and directly measure something, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This has been conceptually confirmed theoretically in science within the last 6 months.
Living in Hong Kong, has been an amazing contributor in helping me foster my interests in the esoteric study which among the many “spiritual” topics I’ve been interested in, is Feng Shui. Additionally, I’ve noticed that every successful or creative person I know in this city, even those who seemingly only believe in the worship of money, have at one point or another, seeked the counsel of a Chinese medicine doctor, a Feng-Shui master, or a neighborhood temple’s local clairvoyant. From the culture of “paper burning” as a way to honor the dead visibly on sidewalk streets, to the iconic towers of the city designed by the likes of Norman Foster and IM Pei, Feng Shui has had a presence almost everywhere, shaping this unique first world city.
Feng Shui is older than Christianity and dates back practices to around 6,000 years ago in China, and is essentially the study of the correlative relationship between each human being and their spatial universe, using maths to calculate your relational physical elements “fire, water, earth, metal”. What Feng Shui allows people (who believe in it) to do, is to manipulate the physical environment they live and work in, so that this environment can work on their favor from a more “balanced” standpoint, balancing luck in career, relationship, and health in an yearly basis in relation to each individual. For 2014, I’ve finally gained a new local Feng Shui expert (I used to rely on my hobbyist aunt from Texas) in the name of the very stylish, Thierry Chow.. With fellow spiritualist, writer, and social media personality, Johannes Pong (below right), we met up with Thierry, and her boyfriend, Canadian artist, Peter Yuill (below left), for a welcome dinner in the neighborhood to discuss more of her work as both a budding Feng Shui master and the converging of her practice with design work for a new generation of dual-language/dual-culture believers.
Thierry who has been featured locally with profiles in several magazines and websites like Sassy Hong Kong and Lifestyle Asia, has only just begun her practice. An apprentice of “legendary feng shui master”, Chow Hon Ming, her father, Thierry seeks to give modern solutions for people living in today’s world. She plans to soon design modern furniture and home items, which combine basic feng shui principles, that look and feel good from a design perspective. For the month of February, she even held events with her dad at the Little Square space on Square Street which is really fantastic for her new career because Little Square gets the cool young crowd, a completely different audience relative to your aunts and grandma, for example.
After dinner with Thierry and Peter, Thierry agreed to reorganize my home based on Feng Shui principles for 2014, as well as give me one of her special readings in which she assessed my whole life via that feng shui point of view. I’m here to tell you that Feng Shui needs not to be about old school crystals, weird statues, and balls with running water… in fact, as part of the modern incorporation and principals, it too can be stylish. Here are a few things I’ve had to do to integrate well spatially with 2014:
+ Money Corner
I had to get all “red” in the South Corner of my flat because this year my chances for wealth have doubled if this corner was “activated”. The aromatic diffuser, replaced fish bowls and tacky waterfall machines. Thank God for Thann Hong Kongat K11 and their diffusers! The red painting I sourced from Pinterest.com, plotted out in hi-resolution and framed myself. The charms (looking like a pot of Gold) are gifts from Mischa and John Hardy.
+ Lucky Wrist
Because I naturally have so much “fire”, Thierry advised me to wear less read, and more soothing colors to reflect colder elements like water and metal. Ie. Jewellery. Even though men have begun to wear more jewellery and wrist pieces as part of today’s Dandy-inspired looks, I’ve just preferred to wear watches. After asking readers on Twitter where I can source “silvers” and “golds”, my friend, Angus, told me that Kapok on St. Francis Yard sells the full range of Men’s Miansai bracelets. Any of them would work, but I decided to purchase the Rose Gold Cuff. It’s a solid brass base with a 24K Rose Gold plate. I’ve been MORE lucky ever since.
+ Green To Grow Relationships
My most favorite part about finding stuff for the home is filling it with plants. I was happy to buy more plants for the center portion of the flat, especially ones that looked a little more “floweri-sh”. Its best that one gets flowers for the relationship corner, however if the plant only looks like a flower, that can pass as well. Although I love flowers, they’re really a bit too high maintenance.
+ Red, Yet Earthly Work Chair
I was tempted to purchase this “Chinese” Style chair from Ikea, because according to Thierry, it’s best If my Western corner (My work corner) had more earthly elements. Also Red is a very lucky color for career, while the timber seat reflects more of the earthly vibe needed for this specific area, which is different for everyone. I ended up not getting the chair because it wasn’t available, and upon further research online, the chair had quality issues. I just wanted to point out, that solutions for Feng Shui can be stylish while also a fun challenge.
+ Socks for Lunar New Year
Despite the fact that I’m supposed to wear less red, universally, everyone is supposed to wear red socks to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The GAP in Hong Kong had these amazing knitted boot socks at 30% off. It’s a great excuse to buy great looking pair of socks, while sticking to this superstitious rules in a fun and stylish way.
I also wanted to point out for the month of February, BOOM Magazine released a special 2014 Feng Shui Almanac that totally looks old school. This is one of Thierry’s latest projects, and a way for her to make the practice be relevant to our generation and integrating her work with design. It’s quite cool. Some cool content on here is a guide on where you should stand at a bar in relation to your Chinese Horoscope and a guide to how to twerk.
(Twerking is not related to Feng Shui in anyway FYI.)
Also I spotted Peter’s work area he shares with Thierry. Thematically, he’s into metaphysics too.
Happy Go Lucky 2014 from Wanderlister.com!
The woman in that photo above is confused. She’s confused because everything about this mysterious restaurant, located in Wanchai’s side streets off Queens Road East, is so understated. Everything from a facade that’s just plain glass, basic no plastic plywood furniture, no signage, no visual clutter, basic painted walls, and no faux-crystal, makes the new restaurant, Serge et le Phoque, across the street from Wanchai Cooked Food Market… just so… un-Hong Kong. Thank God.
Even by expat dining destination standards in the city, it’s so so so underratedly chill. No hostess on the sidewalk begging you to come in, no poster on the front door telling you what “Theme” Sunday is supposed to be (because in Hong Kong… to survive as a concept restaurant… you’ve go to theme EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK!)
In exchange for Serge et le Phoque’s defiantly minimalist aesthetics and ambiance, you get a blank palette that sets back for the food. And Oh… the food. Just making me think of that experience, i’m literally salivating at the thought. Let me just put it this way… eating at Serge et le Phoque, is the equivalent of eating at say… an art gallery, where the degustation menu is the exhibition on display. And yes, this is saying a lot. And speaking highly of this restaurant is less than what they deserve/trying to achieve… it’s not enough! Chef Christophe Pele (photo below right) literally returns once a month from Paris to oversee this restaurant and to play in the kitchen with resident chef, Nic Chew (ex- L’atelier Robuchon and Saint Betty’s) which is run by restaurateurs, Charles Pelletier (photo below left) and Frederic Peneau, an ex architect (which explains the cool designer-ish surroundings, also former owner of Cafe Burq and current owner of Le Chateaubriand). Fred’s son came up with the random restaurant name (translating to “Serge and the Seals”) and the whole team combined worked hard in setting up a new kind of continental restaurant in the city focused on providing a no frills, no drama, unpretentious space where the quality of the food is the only taste left on one’s tongue by the end of the night.
And the taste… I still dream of it, one month after. My friend, Louise, and I took our pal Tangram’s designer, Paola Sinisterra for her birthday dinner last month. A few other friends came by to join, and we made a Sunday night of it. What make it more special was that Chef Christophe was in town to work that Sunday evening, putting together a special one-night only menu for the party! Some items were available on the regular menu, but other items, were based on ingredients he just purchased for that day, which may someday make it as an official offering.
Sheung Wan’s tiny and unassuming Wa Lane is a low-key little street relative to the adjacent Hollywood Road, a dining and shopping destination for most of Hong Kong’s tourists. While some new restaurants (Chachawan, 208 Duecento Otto, and Heirloom for example) can still afford prime Hollywood Road frontage, other eating establishments like the one year old La Cantoche (The Canteen) take on lanes like Wa Lane to make they’re own little mark in an already crowded dining market like Hong Kong’s. Additionally for this city, it is expected that a restaurant’s marketing is tied to an overt dining concept and theatrical dinner experience, La Canotche by contrast is absent of any formulaic choreography, yet wins points all around for what’s most important; Food, Concept, and Ambience.
The Food, delicious French-Vietnamese fare with a slightly Arabic twist. The Concept, casual hearty home-style “soul” food to share. The Ambience, a relaxed, no frills, no pressure, no pretense bistro, that’s as playful as a teenage boy’s bedroom. For all this combined, we only have owner, David Sung to thank.
Everything about La Cantoche reflects Sung’s heritage and roots. All the dishes are derived from food his parents used to prepare for him and flavours he grew up with in France. The movies projected on whitewashed brick walls walls, the foosball table, Michael Jackson’s “BAD” written on a on the 2nd floor loft, and Super Famicom and games which are displayed on the wall adjacent to the ground floor bar, all reflect pieces of Sung’s youth. For the night I went there for a tasting, Sung was there to serve and personally introduce each dish himself. He was proud, enthusiastic, and after I tasted the meal, he had every right to be so.
After posting about Fatty Crab Hong Kong’s “Ghetto Chic” interiors two weeks ago on the blog, I finally had a chance to check out the Southeast Asian flavours that the chain is really famous for.
It only makes sense, that Fatty Crab, with locations in New York City’s West Village and the Virgin Islands at St. John, opens the third location, a destination serving tropical asian food, in the East. According to the website, the menu is “inspired” by dishes from Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines, which to me is good direction to take the new “cool”. Chefs at all the Fatty Crabs have the freedom to extract the best combination of dishes from the region, and tuning the frequency to pick out the flavours derived from Southeast Asia’s colonial history. There are dishes that have distinctly Chinese sources, and others with that bit of Portuguese and Indian twist.
While other establishments aim for authenticity, Fatty Crab reaches for the new… assuming your taste buds are a tabula rasa and ready for something different. They do inspired but new flavours very well. Imagine an American chef stationed in Asia, who then went back to the states and brought all of Asia’s flavours with him… this East meets west approach is what the Fatty Crab is all about.
As a welcoming drink, we were served a special shot of a Texan-inspired drink called the Recession Special, a combination of spicy pickle back and bourbon, opening my taste buds for a mostly spicy and sour meal.
Speaking of East-meets-west, these Duroc Grilled Pork Ribs, a new addition to the menu, come close to my home…ie. Texas for me. The difference here is the way it’s prepared is via Southeast Asian Barbecue Style, rubbed with flavours that have tangy edge, but topped with a very sweet and crispy layer thanks to the grill. This is the winning dish of the night for me.
Another top winning item on the menu for me is the raw bar at the start of the meal. It’s been 3.5 years since my last raw oyster since i’m just so paranoid, but something about that shot of bourbon, and a long day’s stressful work made me feel more adventurous. I’m glad I jumped into the oysters at Fatty Crab HK. We were able to top them with a selection of garnishes; green chili seafood sauce, fried shallot, and herbs. It was perfect.
The signature dish at the Fatty Crab is the Chilli Crab, a dungeness crab with chili sauce and pullman toast. This one dish alone can be an entire dinner for one person!
Sure Lehmann Maupin had their gallery opening at the Pedder Building on my birthday, but alas, I ended up choosing to celebrate the day with Thom Browne at the new Black Fleece Flagship Store instead.
Okay… so Thom Browne wasn’t there, but after New York, San Fransisco, and Tokyo, the Hong Kong flagship for the Brooks Brothers label is the 4th and only stand alone store for the brand in the world. I couldn’t miss this. So apologies to Lehmann Maupin, a Black Fleece Flagship in Hong Kong has been a birthday wish of mine for some time now.
The collection couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Menswear in Hong Kong is very hot at the moment. Guys in the city have been bold with their style choices lately, and for the most part, have been doing a great job styling themselves. The latest S/S 2013 collection by Thom Browne for Black Fleece allows men to be adventurous with prints, colors, and fabrics.
The bright prints, which could be found on jackets, trousers, and accessories, play with a pattern’s scale, making new motifs from classic madras for example, thus giving off a very iconic and resortique feel.
Readers of theWanderlister+ will now get a chance get to check out the first Official Affordable Art Fair (AAF) in Hong Kong next week via a Buy 1 Ticket Get 1 Ticket Free Deal. Simply click on the image above or this link to download your own form. Follow by filling out the form and bringing the form with you directly on the day of the fair from March 15th to March 17th.
+ AAF Presents Arty-Licous Evening, Friday March 15th.
Also on March 15th, the AAF will be hosting their version of a Vernissage with the Arty-Licious Evening, featuring live art talks, great music, and artworks from international galleries. You can speak with fair director, Camilla Hewitson at the Cafe at 6pm, listen to a talk by Will Ramsay, Founder of the AAF at 7pm, attend an art walk by Young Talent Hong Kong’s Leung Shiu Kee Eric at 7:30, and discuss the state of Contemporary Art in Hong Kong with Caroline Ha Thuc at 8:30 PM.
Check out our profile interview with Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong Here.
Last Thursday I was invited by my friends at Above Second gallery to document their new exhibition ‘Trailblazers’ and the private view of the show.
Curated by Coates and Scarry the exhibition featured a great selection of new contemporary artists including the stunning ink drawings of Carne Griffiths, amazing photorealistic paintings by Nigel Cox, and some classic graphic work from British artist D*Face (as well as some prints of his recent sculpture/taxidermy works).
Coates and Scarry for their first show in Asia brought with them a fantastic array of work from these and plenty of other artists (check the photos) which absolutely provided something for everyone.
Dreams and musings abound in a new exhibition about tomorrow’s design by 12 of Hong Kong’s most renowned and award-winning designers, curated as an original show for Asia Society Hong Kong. This, the first non-imported exhibit for Asia Society since opening it’s doors in Admiralty a year ago, is a big push towards highlighting Hong Kong as a “Design City”. While I believe we have a very long way to go before that is the case, the site specific works within a grand venue, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and the curation, by Fumio Nanjo, Director of Mori Art Museum in Tokyo gives the whole experience an added weight and legitimacy that is needed to further foster the works of these designers and to push their ideas further within a more international sphere.
The beautiful site, a building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.
This amazing piece, a mixture of steel and LED lights, by Architect/Designer, Dylan Kwok, titled, Skyscrapers.