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Talk of the Town


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Talk of the Town


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On Sharks and Humanity


The global exhibition comes to our city to advocate protection for the world’s diminishing shark population, with a key message: when the buying stops, the killing will, too

On Sharks and Humanity


The global exhibition comes to our city to advocate protection for the world’s diminishing shark population, with a key message: when the buying stops, the killing will, too

Culture > Talk of the Town


On Sharks and Humanity 

July 26, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

 

HO Siu Kee - Confessional 2017

HO Siu Kee - Confessional 2017

Hong Kong Maritime Museum

Hong Kong Maritime Museum

Did you know that half of the world’s controversial shark-fin trade happens in Hong Kong? (If you’ve ever taken a stroll through Sheung Wan towards the Western District, you might not be surprised.) Shark-fin soup has been traditionally regarded as a luxury delicacy at the Chinese banquet table and according to the World Wildlife Foundation, domestic consumption is significant, but many of the fins are exported to other countries throughout Asia. 

The first exhibition of its kind, On Sharks and Humanity raises awareness of shark conservation and aims to end the brutal practice of shark-finning through the power of art. After the world tour visited Monaco, Moscow, Beijing and Singapore, the show finally landed in Hong Kong this June. All created especially for the project, 36 contemporary art pieces and installations by internationally renowned artists and emerging talent are helping ignite discussions on these environmental issues and the role that humanity plays. 

Three local artists have also done their part for the exhibition’s Hong Kong stop. Alongside works by Peggy Chan and William Tong, Confessional is a sizable fin-shaped installation by Chinese University of Hong Kong art professor Ho Siu-kee. At the exhibition’s opening, the artist contributed a live performance as well – he stood inside the cage-like piece for a period of time and bowed his head, reflecting on humanity’s slaughter of 100 million sharks every year. 

Sponsored by Hong Kong Parkview in partnership with international non-profit organisation WildAid, the exhibition is at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum until the end of September.

Images: Parkview Arts Action; Hong Kong Maritime Museum

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Hong Kong Happenings


Hong Kong Happenings


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Take My Money


The No Face from acclaimed Japanese anime film Spirited Away is ready to eat your coins

Take My Money


The No Face from acclaimed Japanese anime film Spirited Away is ready to eat your coins

Culture > Talk of the Town


Take My Money 

June 30, 2017 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

If you’re a fan of Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, you probably remember the No Face character in the 2001 film Spirited Away – the lonely shadow wears a mask on his face, is always mute and devours all the gold in his path. The No Face Munching Piggy Bank can swallow coins once they reach the default weight of 30 grams – you’ll see the little ghost expose its hidden mouth and teeth while the bank plays music from the film. (He also burps every time he finishes a “meal”.) The piggy bank is now being sold at the Donguri Republic stores at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui – its first branch outside Japan – and at Times Square in Causeway Bay. A wonderland for Studio Ghibli goodies and gifts, the shops are easily recognisable by their oversized Totoro, from 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro, who welcomes you at the door. (donguri.hk)

Images: Studio Ghibli Inc; Donguri Republic

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Urban Explorers


Children can unlock their innate sense of adventure through the Ritz Kids Night Safari

Urban Explorers


Children can unlock their innate sense of adventure through the Ritz Kids Night Safari

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Urban Explorers

May 26, 2017

As if staying at the world’s highest hotel wasn’t enough excitement for urban explorers, there could be no greater thrill for the little ones than turning the suite into a tented safari camp.

With The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong’s all-new Ritz Kids Night Safari, the kids can check into the hotel themselves. Then, let those young pioneers-in-the-making bring the great outdoors inside as they quite literally set up camp in your room. They’ll get torches, LED lanterns and a tent swaddled in Ritz-Carlton bed linens.

This fun programme, suitable for ages three to 11, was designed by renowned oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau and Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society for The Ritz-Carlton in 2013. It engages your children to interact with their surroundings in a fresh and original way, while introducing them to the four pillars of Ritz Kids discovery: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture.

Of course, discovery isn’t just for the young – while the kids get to channel their inner David Attenborough, you’ll get to indulge in an epicurean adventure of a Michelin-starred variety at Tosca, helmed by chef Pino Lavarra. Try chef Pino’s beef carpaccio as an appetiser, followed by the seabass with lemon, chicken and sautéed seafood, and wrapping things up with a warm caramel apple and vanilla cake for the crescendo; all three courses are HK$498.

The days and nights of being wild don’t get any more memorable than this.

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The Gateway to the Mind


Renowned Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez brings his eye-popping kinetic and op-art visuals to Hong Kong

The Gateway to the Mind


Renowned Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez brings his eye-popping kinetic and op-art visuals to Hong Kong

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

The Gateway to the Mind

March 31, 2017

Until May 25, Puerta Roja is hosting its first Hong Kong solo exhibition for the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. He’s long been known as a driving force of the kinetic and op-art movements, which address motion and perceptual effects. Active since the 1950s, Cruz-Diez’s inimitable style is immediately apparent. Throughout his career, he has consistently limited his focus to colours, lines and the transformation of perception. In Mastering Colour, this show of recent works, discover the mental and physical power of Cruz-Diez’s seemingly simple creations from all angles.

Puerta Roja, 1/F, Soho 189 Art Lane, 189 Queen’s Road West, Sheung Wan
(puerta-roja.com)

Image: Carlos Cruz-Diez, Induction Chromatique Série Gabo 30B, chromography on aluminium, 90x90cm, Ed. 8, Panama 2011(© Puerta Roja )

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The Birth of Something Cool


A taste of proper live jazz comes to town at The Iron Fairies in Central

The Birth of Something Cool


A taste of proper live jazz comes to town at The Iron Fairies in Central

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

The Birth of Something Cool

December 9, 2016 / by Jon Lowe

After a couple of years that have seen some of the best live music clubs in Hong Kong close down, there’s some good news for music lovers. Brand-new Lan Kwai Fong bar The Iron Fairies has acts on seven nights a week, ranging from soul to blues and jazz. Even better news? It’s the real deal.

On Tuesdays, the melodic trio Flynn and Co take the stage with their skilful blend of soul and pop, featuring guitars, bass and, impressively, three-part harmonies. Thursdays and Fridays showcase electric bluesman Mike Null, a talented US singer and guitarist who brings his elegant yet driving take on the blues. Mike and his band have mastered a plethora of styles, especially the 1960s Chicago sounds of artists such as Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.

Wednesdays feature jazz singer Vera Crane and crew – a band seemingly forged on stage under the direction of the music gods one recent night. Jim the piano player’s friend, veteran New York saxophonist Syl, had flown in that day and they’d been reacquainting musically for a couple of hours, backed by drummer Neil. During the final break, Vera had shown up. Jim invited her up on stage – billing her as Vera Crane, since she hails from the Ukraine – and they launched into Horace Silver’s “Jody Grind”. The infectious boogaloo beat, the funky piano licks, and the soaring interplay between Syl and Vera – who sang her heart out as she shimmied around the stage – quickly had feet tapping and heads turning. Playing classic tracks from the renowned Blue Note jazz label by the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Herbie Hancock, the newly minted group had instant chemistry. Unable to resist the boisterous Latin and swing rhythms, people were up and dancing, taking their cue from the irrepressible Vera.

It was a long second set, with a packed dance floor refusing to let the band leave the stage. “I want that every week!” said the boss – and we couldn’t agree more.

The Iron Fairies, 1–13 Hollywood Road, Central (entrance on Pottinger Street)

Image: Vivien Sarkadi

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Stage Frites


Hong Kong’s inaugural Belgium Week puts the country’s top exports in the spotlight

Stage Frites


Hong Kong’s inaugural Belgium Week puts the country’s top exports in the spotlight

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Stage Frites

October 28, 2016

 

Make room, Le French May –for the first time in the city, Belgium becomes the focus of a week-long festival that celebrates the country’s rich history of gastronomy, art, design, music and more. A wide variety of events is set to be held from November 12 to 19.

Many of these will be happening at Kee Club, including a gourmet menu by Loic Villers of the Michelin-starred Le Monde est Petit restaurant in Brussels; a performance by Brussels-born DJ and producer The Magician; and an exhibition of Belgian artists showing for the first time in Hong Kong. As well as a business seminar, other gatherings around town showcase Belgian photography, music and comics.

Michèle Deneffe, the consul-general of Belgium in Hong Kong, which is helping to support Belgium Week, says: “We are truly delighted to support this initiative to promote awareness of Belgium and the many wonderful things that it has to offer – to the visitor, as well as to those wanting to do business or further their studies or career in this important European hub.”

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Electric Dreams


It’s motorsport, but not as we traditionally know it – this month, Hong Kong stages the opening race of the new Formula E season for electric cars

Electric Dreams


It’s motorsport, but not as we traditionally know it – this month, Hong Kong stages the opening race of the new Formula E season for electric cars

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Electric Dreams

September 30, 2016 / by Charles Oliver

Using only electric cars, Formula E is a groundbreaking FIA championship and the world’s first fully-electric racing series. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. The third season of Formula E racing includes 14 races staged in 12 of the world’s leading cities. Its inaugural 2016/17 race, ePrix, takes place in Hong Kong on October 9. 

“Formula E will tackle a schedule that takes it to some of the most beautiful cities on no fewer than five continents, starting in Hong Kong and finishing in New York,” says FIA president Jean Todt, who initiated the concept as a means to demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility. “It’s been less than two years since Formula E made its debut in Beijing and it is one of the most innovative championships on the current motorsport scene at the global level, which was not something that could have been taken for granted when it first began. It is also an amazing platform for the promotion of a new model for sustainable mobility, bringing a new form of motorsport to the heart of cities.” 

The first Formula E season began in Beijing in September 2014 and completed in London in June 2015, racing in ten major cities (across 11 races) around the world. The championship sees ten teams, each with two drivers, going head-to-head to create a unique and exciting racing series that’s designed to appeal to a new generation of avid motorsport fans.

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To get this ambitious project off the ground required an enormous amount of effort. But by working with world-leading partners in the motorsport industry including Williams, McLaren and Dallara, and by inspiring global blue-chip brands such as Michelin (which provides all tyres for the sport), DHL, Qualcomm and TAG Heuer to back the project,
Formula E transformed from a dream into reality in less than two years.

When 20 all-electric racing cars lined up on the grid for the inaugural Beijing ePrix in 2014, the cynics and the sceptics were put to rest. With big names like Senna, Prost and Piquet behind the wheel, teams such as Andretti, Audi Sport ABT, Renault and Virgin Racing, and owners including Leonardo DiCaprio, the championship attained a level of credibility to rival the best in the world. With partners such as Fox Sports, ITV and TV Asahi, Formula E proved to be a big hit with fans, too. More than 190 million tuned in to watch the inaugural season in more than 100 countries.

This reach was augmented by the championship’s social media accounts. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, the series aspires to be the world’s leading digital sport. Central to this is FanBoost, the unique fan-interaction
concept that allows fans to vote for their favourite driver, who then receives an additional power boost in the race. 

Season two got underway last October in Beijing with the series becoming an open championship, allowing approved manufacturers to develop new powertrain solutions. Future seasons will see the regulations open up further, allowing
manufacturers to focus on improving battery technology. 

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag took Todt’s idea and created a global entertainment brand with motor racing at its heart. “The Hong Kong ePrix has the potential to be one of Formula E’s premier events,” he says. “The circuit is located right in the heart of the city, winding its way around some of the most iconic landmarks. We are looking forward to welcoming a passionate and enthusiastic crowd to witness the inaugural running of Formula E in Hong Kong, none of which would have been possible without the tremendous help and support of the government and city authorities.” 

Gregory So, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, agrees. “The government fully supports the introduction of the FIA Formula E Championship to Hong Kong this year. Not only will this world-class novel car race become a Hong Kong people’s event, it will showcase our splendid skyline and harbour view to the world, hence enriching the tourism appeal of Hong Kong and reinforcing our position as an events capital of Asia. We are delighted to learn that the organiser and the tourism trade have developed a number of tourist packages for our visitors to enjoy the race, which will give an impetus to our tourism development.” 

Indeed, grandstands along the pit straight on Lung Wo Road, Tamar Park and the Hong Kong Observation Wheel will offer unrivalled views of the track and the city’s spectacular skyline. The two-kilometre circuit will run between Lung Wo Road and the Star Ferry, with cars reaching speeds of up to 225km/h. 

“Formula E is shaping the future of sports events, where entertainment and motorsport meet to curate the ultimate event experience,” says Alan Fang, the CEO of Formula Electric Racing in Hong Kong. “To share the unique occasion of the inaugural Formula E race with all of Hong Kong, we have priced tickets to ensure that people from all walks of life will be able to experience this pioneering event and to rally the public behind our #DriveTheFuture campaign.”

As a result, weekend tickets are priced at HK$2,380, with concession prices for children (aged 12 and under) and senior citizens (aged 65 and over) from HK$1,190. Grandstand tickets include admission to the eVillage fan zones located around the circuit. Access to the eVillage by itself costs HK$300 for a two-day pass, while senior citizen’s and children’s tickets are HK$150 – though eVillage entry does not include access to grandstand seating or guarantee a view of the track. 

However, it does give Formula E fans a chance to meet the drivers at autograph sessions and witness the raw emotion of the podium ceremony, breaking down the barrier between drivers and fans that exists in traditional motorsport. The eVillage is also a place where Formula E partners have created interactive experiences that are not only engaging, but also raise awareness of sustainability and how we can all address the challenges of the future.

“It’s fantastic to be able to bring Formula E to new markets, but more importantly to new fans,” says Agag. “It will be great to start the third season in Hong Kong and finish in New York, pending the approval of all the relevant stakeholders. The growth and interest in the sport has been on an upward trend since the very beginning, and I’m sure that the third season of the FIA Formula E Championship will once again prove to be a thrilling spectacle.”

Ladies and gentlemen, charge your engines…

Images: Formula Electric Racing Hong Kong

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Golden Moments


Golden Moments


Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Golden Moments

September 29, 2016 / by Mike Clark

Gold Coast

Gold Coast

Think of the streets of Hong Kong and visions of its iconic trams and ubiquitous red taxis immediately spring to mind.

But the city also has a long-standing love affair with luxury cars, dating back to the British colonial days when it boasted the highest number of Rolls-Royces per head in the world.

Fashions in car ownership may have changed, but the love affair is still as passionate as ever. On any given day, the city’s traffic jams are dotted with the sensual, lovingly sculpted curves of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens as they burble along behind packed minibuses and family SUVs. 

Although the crowded city streets offer little pleasure to drivers and access to open roads is limited, Hong Kong is home to some of the greatest private collections of exotic cars in the world. The rarest and most valuable of them spend their time cosseted in air-conditioned garages and are almost never seen in public, but a new motor festival is providing a rare glimpse of Hong Kong’s hidden trove of automobile exotica.

Mclaren F1 - Dream Supercars

Mclaren F1 - Dream Supercars

Mercedes 300 SL

Mercedes 300 SL

On October 1 and 2, Sino Group, one of the city’s biggest property developers, is presenting the Gold Coast Motor Festival, which is being held at the Hong Kong Gold Coast hotel and marina complex – a 30-minute drive from the gleaming towers of the financial district.

The show features an array of more than 60 of the rarest, fastest and most beautiful cars ever produced. They are mainly drawn from private collections in Hong Kong, with a handful being shipped in especially for the event.

The line-up of Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, McLarens, Aston Martins, Paganis, Jaguars and American muscle cars is enough to make any car aficionado drool in anticipation. It includes two of the ultimate hybrid dream cars – Ferrari’s LaFerrari and the Porsche 918, both of which can reach speeds of 340 km/h (220 mph).

Another standout exhibit is a red Mercedes-Benz 300SL that was based on the marque’s 1952 Le Mans winning car. It became an instant classic on its launch thanks to its unique upward-opening gullwing doors and blistering top speed (for the time) of 220 km/h (160 mph). And for a taste of a long-lost era, the festival also features an open-wheeled Bugatti Pur Sang – an exact replica of the 1929 Bugatti Type 35, built by a specialist manufacturer in Argentina.

Bugatti Pur Sang 35B

Bugatti Pur Sang 35B

The Hong Kong Gold Coast’s general manager Rob Kaiwai says that the event has been in the planning for a year. “The organisers reached out to the network of collectors in Hong Kong and people have been incredibly generous to hand over their cars for the festival,” he says. “Many of the cars are being brought in on transporters designed for high-end vehicles because they cannot be driven on Hong Kong roads. We have also laid on extra security because of the high value of the cars that are on show.”

 A centrepiece is a display of 17 Aston Martins, ranging from a 1950s DB2 through to the company’s contemporary models. 

It includes four versions featured in James Bond movies: the DB5 that, complete with ejector seat, first appeared in Goldfinger; a DBS; a V8 Vantage; and the Vanquish, which became invisible in Die Another Day. The suave, so essentially British spirit of James Bond certainly pervades the marque and sets it apart from Ferrari, Porsche and other top-end sports cars.

The head of the Hong Kong branch of the Aston Martin owners’ club, James Ogilvy-Stuart, explains that owners have “an admiration for the tradition of bespoke, very much British design and engineering.”

Of the city’s love affair with cars, he adds “when it comes to car collections, Hong Kong is right up there with other major centres in the US and in Europe.

“For a city of 7.3 million people, there is a large number of active motoring and car enthusiasts; some of them have collections of upwards of 40 to 50 cars.”

The casual observer would never know it, though. “The people with larger collections tend to keep them under wraps and they are relatively discreet,” explains Ogilvy-Stuart. “So the car scene is a lot bigger and a lot more vibrant than most people in general realise.”

The organisers of this year’s event hope it will become a fixture on the international motoring calendar, taking its place alongside the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy and the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. (www.goldcoastmotorfestival.com)

James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, used in the film Goldfinger

James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, used in the film Goldfinger

Courtesy of Sino Group/Getty Images

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Pulling the Mountain


The Xiqu Centre grooms rising Cantonese opera talent

Pulling the Mountain


The Xiqu Centre grooms rising Cantonese opera talent

Culture > Talk of the Town


 

Pulling the Mountains

June 24, 2016

Chinese opera (xiqu) has long been a part of the region’s arts and history. The local version, Cantonese opera, has been around for centuries – but it really took off in Hong Kong in the 1950s. With its vibrant mix of music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics and acting, it’s long been a popular attraction for visitors as well. Recent years are seeing an injection of new blood into the art form – a burst of innovation embodied by the Rising Stars of Cantonese Opera company. 

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) is making Chinese opera one of the key elements of its sprawling arts hub with the Xiqu Centre. Louis Yu, the WKCDA’s executive director of performing arts, says, “It takes time to groom young talent into brilliant xiqu stars – and we are building something much more than a performance venue.”

Cantonese opera virtuoso Law Ka-ying has been putting the brightest new talent through their paces for the last two years, resulting in two annual shows. Law says, “I’m grateful to see these younger artists working so diligently to improve themselves. It’s time to nurture younger performers in order to live up to the expectations of the public.” 

This year, seven new performers join those selected last year for the August shows. They’re set to bring a fresh approach with three full-length productions of the classic operas Loyal to Love, The Lady’s Sash and The Immortal Zhang Yuqiao, being staged from August 12 to 17 at the Ko Shan Theatre in Hung Hom. (westkowloon.hk/risingstars2016)

Images: West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

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Next Stop: History


Get closer to the city’s roots and take a ride on the Hong Kong TramOramic Tour

Next Stop: History


Get closer to the city’s roots and take a ride on the Hong Kong TramOramic Tour

Culture > Talk of the Town


Next Stop: History

June 24, 2016

Transportation is one of the keys to Hong Kong – and there’s no shortage of modes, including the Star Ferry, the MTR and double-decker buses. But topping the list should be the “Ding Ding” – or, the tram, one of the city’s most important icons, which has now been in operation for 112 years.

The TramOramic Tour, launched by Hong Kong Tramways earlier this year and departing six times daily, is Hong Kong’s first-ever sightseeing tour aboard a 1920s-style heritage tram with an open-top upper deck. As the one-hour journey passes through the city, stories and sites of interest are broadcast (in a choice of eight languages via headphones) to passengers. The tour also features an on-board video that compares past and present Hong Kong, as well as a heritage corner with vintage pictures and tram souvenirs. To continue your exploration of the city, the tour also includes a two-day pass that grants riders unlimited free access on the regular trams.

The Hong Kong tram is the only double-level tram still in existence in the world today. It’s a remarkable bridge between the city’s past and present. Things all began with a fleet of 26 single-level tramcars that were manufactured in the UK, then shipped to Hung Hom and assembled locally in 1904. Due to increasing demand for the cheap and convenient transportation, the first double-level tramcar was introduced in 1912; it was an open-top design with garden-style seats. 

Today, the fleet numbers about 170, covering several routes along Hong Kong Island. Though the tram runs at a leisurely pace compared to other options, many residents take it as their preferred mode of transportation. In a busy, thriving metropolis like Hong Kong, if you want to take a real, in-depth look at the city, what better way could there be than on the Ding Ding? (hktramways.com)

Images: Hong Kong Tramways

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Back in the Saddle: The Longines Masters


The CEO of EEM World, Christophe Ameeuw, has helped put the “show” back in showjumping – which was previously “not too sexy” according to the founder of the Longines Masters. He discusses the unique character of Hong Kong as Asia’s horse capital and how his passion for everything equine led to a world-class event

Back in the Saddle: The Longines Masters


The CEO of EEM World, Christophe Ameeuw, has helped put the “show” back in showjumping – which was previously “not too sexy” according to the founder of the Longines Masters. He discusses the unique character of Hong Kong as Asia’s horse capital and how his passion for everything equine led to a world-class event

Culture > Talk of the Town


Back in the Saddle

December 22, 2015 / by Selena Li

Christophe Ameeuw’s voice still trembles as he recalls the end of the first Masters in Hong Kong a few years ago. “It was very emotional for me,” says the CEO of EEM World, which is the organiser of the Longines Masters, one of world’s premier equestrian competitions. “I would like to see myself as a missionary. When I arrived in Hong Kong in 2013, it was a huge challenge.”

Ameeuw took the bold first step out of Europe, where equestrian sports have long been acknowledged as a form of elite entertainment, to an Eastern metropolis whose citizens’ fondness for horse racing is unrivalled in Asia. As Ameeuw says, “Riders love the public and the atmosphere in Hong Kong.”

Essentially, the challenge has always been to educate those who see showjumping as a mere novelty compared to the thrill of racing. However, in the third year of the Longines Masters’ partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the upcoming fourth incarnation is expected to welcome an audience of more than 25,000. 

World No. 1 Scott Brash and British riding legend John Whitaker have confirmed that they will attend the Masters event in Hong Kong in February. Notably, for the first time the event will feature indoor polo exhibition matches, which once seemed an impossible mission in a giant Asian city – transporting ponies and riders for one game of no more than 90 minutes. But next month, indoor polo officially becomes a part of the Masters.

At the start of his reinvention of the sport, changes in format were essential to widen its appeal to horse lovers. Ameeuw debuted as a show organiser in 2004 when, together with the Pessoa family, he took over and relaunched Jumping de Bruxelles. He followed this up in 2009 by successfully salvaging Jumping de Paris, an event that had been on hold for years. “Traditional horse-jumping is an amateur sport. When I watched all those world-renowned professional competitions, we tried to learn from Formula One or even Las Vegas shows,” Ameeuw says. 

Among the intriguing tweaks, spectators may be surprised to see a podium with three chairs for the front runners. When the top-ranking competitors are beaten, they step down from their seats – an idea drawn from competitive skiing. Also, any rider who wins the Longines Masters Grand Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles in succession is rewarded with a super-bonus of €1 million, which is inspired by the tennis circuit. And then, appealing to all the senses: “We put microphones in the gym so you can even listen to the horses breathing and the sounds of their hooves,” Ameeuw says enthusiastically, tapping the desk and imitating the sounds. 

There was no direct interplay between the luxury goods industry and equestrian sport until Ameeuw brought on board the “noble, lifestyle and glamour” brands of watchmaker Longines, fashion houses Gucci and Hermès, as well as carmaker Mercedes-Benz, for what he calls a “real rendezvous.”

Following on the introduction of Hong Kong to the portfolio, EEM added Los Angeles in 2014. Organisers have worked hard to fill out the celebrity card for the October event; those in attendance in 2014 and 2015 have included Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi, Bo Derek, Anjelica Huston and Bruce Springsteen. The event transcended a competition and expanded into a whole package of luxury events, with a full range of lifestyle activities where spectators could visit art exhibitions, shop for the latest fashion accessories and talk to chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants while dining at the VIP village.

As more and more people discover this new and unique experience, the beauty of equestrianism is gaining a wider global audience. Ameeuw notes that when compared to its US counterpart, Asia’s horse capital fully understands what the elite lifestyle is all about; he goes on to say that a prestigious and glamorous event is precisely what the chic Hong Kong community needs.

China’s strict quarantine regulations dictate that riders can’t bring their own mounts to the Beijing Masters, so fans from north of the border will have to visit to see the world-famous horses and riders in action. Ameeuw thinks the event is a great draw for wealthy Chinese individuals to visit Hong Kong. However, he doesn’t think it is necessary to launch a version of the series on the mainland yet: “We need to stay in Hong Kong because we only want one level on each continent.”

All images: ©Bret St. Clair

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Go with the Flow: The Park Lane Hong Kong


Rejuvenated amid the shopping madness of Causeway Bay, Ebb & Flow at The Park Lane Hong Kong delivers a laid-back, futuristic vibe with its modern design, teched-up elements, and delectable food and drink

Go with the Flow: The Park Lane Hong Kong


Rejuvenated amid the shopping madness of Causeway Bay, Ebb & Flow at The Park Lane Hong Kong delivers a laid-back, futuristic vibe with its modern design, teched-up elements, and delectable food and drink

Culture > Talk of the Town


Go with the Flow

December 22, 2015 / by Selena Li

If you’ve been to The Park Lane Hong Kong recently, you may have noticed major changes afoot. “When you do something like that, you evoke emotion,” says Luc Bollen, general manager of the hotel. Indeed, it’s been a polarised response – between nostalgia and moving forward – for those who cherish memories of the 40-year-old institution at the heart of Causeway Bay. The Park Lane, which announced its new identity under the Pullman hotel group in 2014, took a bold step by renovating its lobby with an ultra-contemporary bar and lounge, Ebb & Flow, which opened in mid-October. 

The hotel continued to have a 90% occupancy rate while renovations took place – some of the more transformative changes left guests wondering whether they got off the lift on the right floor in the morning. “I found a lot of lobby lounges to be one-dimensional,” says Bollen. “You come in, sit on a luxury sofa, and have a cup of coffee or a cocktail.” 

He stresses the design of a “multi-dimensional experience,” which combines great food and drink with interactive, visual appeal. This manifests in the steampunk-inspired coffee machine at the entrance, the bottles of wine displayed in a glass wall and the digitally connected menus that suggest wine pairings with your choice of food.

Advised by the hotel’s artistic partner, Galerie Jünger, also responsible for much of the decor at the Sofitel in Shanghai, The Park Lane connected with a variety of contemporary artists to bring some excitement to the walls. For one, there’s Austrian photographer Paul Kolp, whose stunning portraits enliven the Ebb & Flow interiors. He also captures the sensuality of food – lime, lobster, octopus and watercress are all given fresh life, reinterpreted through the enigmatic eye of the artist.

The bar was designed to be tech-friendly, too. Along with large screens for those internet addicts who can’t bear the thought of disconnecting, if you want to check your email or charge your phone, wireless chargers are embedded into the long wooden benches.

Says Bollen, “If you don’t have a vision for tomorrow, you put your own business at risk.”

Interior photos: courtesy of The Park Lane Hong Kong, a Pullman Hotel; photographic prints: courtesy of the artist and the gallery

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