We had an unexpected, but exceptionally enjoyable pop-up dinner in an anonymous tower block in Central. A sliding door opened to reveal a sculpture in a small space by the lift:-
We had lunch with the Consul General in her residence which is in the Opus Building, up on the Peak, designed by Frank Gehry organically and with a fairly astonishing view of the whole of Hong Kong:-
We started the day in a Buddhist nunnery which was reconstructed in the 1980s in Kowloon City beyond the old airport and is surrounded by huge tower blocks, making for a slightly surreal combination of the traditional and the contemporary:-
I have been impressed by the scale and density of the great housing projects of the 1950s and 1960s, as seen from above from the Peak and from the street on our visit to Para-site, including the staircase down from the floor they occupy in an old industrial building in Quarry Bay:-
We started in Aberdeen, an old fishing village over the hill – actually under a tunnel – from Hong Kong. We were taken on a motorised Sanpan to see what remains of the old houseboats in amongst the great monuments of 1970s social housing.
This is the social housing:-
I’ve always liked Hong Kong; the sense of concentrated energy, the ever higher high-rise buildings in the folds of the hills, the way that the man at the Mandarin greets one by saying ‘Welcome back, sir’ as if he remembers the last time. It’s not been so easy this time because I arrived with a streaming cold which only got worse, but this has not prevented the usual overwhelming hospitality: lunch with David Tang in honour of Zaha Hadid who has opened a new design building earlier in the week; a talk at the Fringe Club in which I tried to describe the history of the RA and its current interest in Hong Kong, followed by a talk on the history of art in Hong Kong by Victor Lai which I was luckily able to follow thanks to simultaneous translation; and lunch with Adrian Cheng, our new, energetic and capable trustee who seems to own half of Hong Kong including the Grand Hyatt where we had lunch. Continue reading