What’s in the way of Hong Kong becoming an art capital? Space


What’s in the way of Hong Kong becoming an art capital? Space


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Daniel Rich, Hong Kong, 2013 | Courtesy of the artist and Peter Blum Gallery, New York

Art Basel Hong Kong kicks off in a few weeks and one can expect to see the usual flurry of high octane events, gallery exhibitions and brand launches. No doubt Hong Kong has been angling to become ‘the’ art hub for Asia for quite some time. But one thing continues to hinder its artistic ambitions – the lack of space.


Just recently, art dealer David Zwirner expressed his challenges with finding a space in Hong Kong to complete a trifecta of galleries in New York and London. He admitted that finding a suitable and affordable space in Hong Kong is difficult, pointing out a problem that every gallerist has in Hong Kong.


Some may suggest that plenty of space is available in the gentrifying districts of Wong Chuk Hang and Chai Wan. But top gallerists will not want to stray from the cluster effect of blue chip galleries in Central.


Which leads to another problem – the suitability of space. Take Pedder Building, which has long been considered as the building for art in Hong Kong, given its heritage value and location in Central. A handsome 8 storey building, it houses 7 top galleries as well as some luxury and retail ventures. A historical building certainly has its charm. But because it was not built to house galleries, it has its own drawbacks. The narrow lift space can’t accommodate the delivery of large artworks requiring them to be hand carried through a flight of stairs. During busy times such as Art Basel week, forget about taking the lift.


It’s no wonder then that a new building is in the works designed with art in mind. It ticks the box for location and suitability. H Queen’s (HQ) is located in the heart of Central on Queen’s Road and was designed by William Lim of CL3, an award winning architect, artist and respected art patron. As an art collector with his own private museum, Lim knew first hand the spatial requirements of a dedicated art space.


HQ aims to be an architectural icon for galleries and art exhibitions and will also house cool dining and lifestyle concepts to complement the art experience. The only issue now is time. HQ isn’t due for completion until 2017.

Virginia Ngai

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