How 20th century art movements inspired a boutique hotel in Hong Kong
One of the reasons why I am fascinated by Hong Kong is because of its weirdness, giving me a feeling of being dazed and confused. There are not many places on earth where one can be brought into a world of fantasy like this and I find it totally addictive.
So addictive in fact, that I go out of my way to discover what strange experiences Hong Kong has to offer. One place where I managed to get my weirdness fix was at The Luxe Manor, a boutique hotel in the Kowloon district. A place one could describe easily with just one word – surreal.
A lobby inspired by Dadism and Surrealism
I always find it intriguing when a hotels use art as a way of expressing its persona. Taking inspiration from non-conventional Dadaism and Surrealism movements of the early 20th century, it’s as if you’ve been transported into a very bizarre dream.
The hotel’s lobby area really puts surrealism on centre stage. Inspired by the famous Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi, his style of imperfect art is very reminiscent, combined with the use mosaic patterns and of mystical tones of red, violet, magenta, gold and black.
What caught my attention especially was the graphic artistry of a large clock and compass on the mosaic floor of the lobby, representing the distortion of time and space. In a way, it is very dadai-esqe as it reminded me a lot of French artist, Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel. His style influenced from the aftermath of World War I, Dadaism was all about antagonism and the rejection of all things conventional.
Art and cultural reflection
What was also nice to see in the lobby of Luxe Manor was the Old Master Q Chair, donated by its creator Joseph Wong. The chair is designed in a Western imperial style featured by fabrics with Old Master Q’s characters printed in black and white. The mix of oriental and western cultures accents the quirky interiors while reflecting the role of Hong Kong as a cultural hub. Sitting on the art piece, Chinese guests are happy to rewind their childhood memories whilst Westerners’ curiousity is aroused by the lovely cartoon on the sofa. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of its characters.
The cultural push in West Kowloon
A coincidence maybe, or just good foresight. Because Luxe Manor was one of the first examples in Hong Kong to really push arts, design and culture to the forefront of its persona. Maybe their style isn’t “standard” or “normal” for the masses, similar to the paintings of Van Gogh or Monet which were not appreciated during their lifetime. Nethertheless, pushing the boundaries beyond the expected is definitely something I appreciate and respect. And now, to help promote the arts scene further, Luxe Manor is soon to be surrounded within an innovative arts culture scene that will look to change the face of West Kowloon.
Based on Foster + Partners’ City Park concept, the West Kowloon Cultural project will be developed into a world-class integrated low-density district comprising local and traditional as well as international and modern elements. Arts and cultural learning will be at the heart of this urban fabric, but it is also a space that caters to all other aspects of daily life – living, working, dining and shopping. Expect to see an opera house, a museum for visual culture, performing arts and everything you can think of related to music.
Keep updated with the development’s progress through westkowloon.hk
To make the most of this neighbourhood, stay at the boutique hotel, The Luxe Manor, Hong Kong