Architects and interior designers often seek inspiration from the local environment and its history in order to come up with works that complement the neighbourhood. And with Hong Kong being so visually striking and historically rich, there's certainly no shortage of design inspiration.
From history to art and culinary delights, here are five must-see destinations for design lovers:
1. Red Sugar
One of Hong Kong’s hottest new bars thanks to its spacious terrace, Red Sugar sits over the water in Hung Hom and offers 270-degree harbour views. Famed architect André Fu brings his contemporary yet timeless style to Red Sugar’s design and landscaping, creating a chic space in which visitors can enjoy oak-barrel-aged cocktails, craft beers and fine wines.
Fu’s thoughtful sensibility applies indoors as well as out. The bar’s brickwork, metal design elements and embroidered detailing on leather-upholstered seats recall Hung Hom’s history as the base of industry and dockyards in the 19th century, and its role as the southern terminus for the Kowloon-Canton Railway from 1974.
Red Sugar, 7/F, Kerry Hotel, 38 Hung Luen Rd, Hung Hom, shangri-la.com/kerry
2. Asia Society Hong Kong Center
This Admiralty site was previously home to military buildings in the 19th century, built by the British Army for the making and storage of explosives and ammunition. Today, Asia Society Hong Kong presents an opportunity to peek into Hong Kong’s history while also being one of the city's finest examples of contemporary design.
Several of the original buildings still stand, which have been restored and now connect via an angular bridge to ASHK’s low-lying exhibition and event space—a simple, modern structure clad in veined green stone designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.
While you're there, be sure to make a side trip to Ammo. This steampunk-inspired restaurant, on-site at ASHK, was architect Joyce Wang’s first restaurant project in Hong Kong and its copper-cool, fanned feature wall is bound to impress.
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Dr, Admiralty, asiasociety.org
3. M+ Pavilion
M+ Pavilion is the precursor to Hong Kong’s M+, a museum for visual culture that Herzog & de Meuron is designing and which is due to open in 2019. M+ Pavilion is certainly a worthy sight in its own right, however.
Designed by VPANG Architects with JET Architecture and Lisa Cheung, its cantilevered outdoor terrace appears to float, and its reflective external walls allow it to blend in with the green landscape around it, making quite a striking destination. The sky-lit, polished concrete interior space also sets the perfect setting to admire art in a calm, quiet surrounding.
M+ Pavilion, West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui, westkowloon.hk
4. Tom Dixon x Nodi
Drink artisanal coffee by Nodi out of polished-steel and double-walled glass cups by Tom Dixon at this beautiful new concept cafe in the new Tom Dixon flagship store at 52 Hollywood Road. The concrete and charred timber-clad space houses Dixon’s collection of furniture, lighting and home accessories in a cosy cavern on the ground floor, while the cafe sits on the light-filled first floor.
At the cafe, visitors get to experience Tom Dixon’s products first-hand. The curves and angles of the stunning Plane chandelier hang over coffee and tea drinkers as they lounge in Dixon-designed chairs while sitting at Dixon-designed tables. A grey marble wall and stunning brass bar complete the look, making this the perfect place to enjoy good coffee and good design all at once.
Tom Dixon x Nodi, 52 Hollywood Road, Central, tomdixon.net
5. Gough’s on Gough
Timothy Oulton has taken its signature style—vintage mixed with a dash of whimsy—and opened the restaurant Gough’s on Gough, which sits next to their store on Gough Street. All the elements of the Timothy Oulton brand can be found, beginning with a column-shaped aquarium at the entrance filled with piranhas and “Derek the Diver,” a deep-sea diver wearing a 1940s-vintage helmet.
A spiral staircase connects the two floors of the restaurant, and the main dining area on the second floor features black-and-white marble floor tiles, a feather-covered wall and an impressive bar made from Italian moonstone inlaid with a herringbone pattern of baguette-shaped glass.
Leather is Timothy Oulton’s forte and some of the seating—the restaurant seats 50—is provided by tufted leather banquettes dyed to a rich chocolate brown, recalling the brand’s signature sofas and armchairs.
Gough's On Gough, 15 Gough Street, Central, goughsongough.com