Over the last five years the industrial pocket of Wong Chuk Hang, situated between Aberdeen and the southern beaches, has become a hotbed of creativity, repping galleries big and small, street art, fashion and gastronomy. Peer beyond the shab warehouse exteriors and you’ll find Hong Kong’s most dynamic art district.
Debonair Swiss art expert Dominique Perregaux is the founder of Wong Chuk Hang-based gallery Art Statements (representing C.20th big guns like Cézanne, Renoir, and Basquiat) and the non-profit South Island Cultural District (or SICD; a champion of art for the public). Longtime resident Dominique shares his favourite parts of the emerging hood...
What are your top recommendations for visitors to Hong Kong’s Southside?
If you have kids then Ocean Park with its pandas, great coral reef aquarium and amusement rides is a must.
Eat at the floating Jumbo Kingdom, it’s not as tacky as it looks and is a Hong Kong institution; walk along Aberdeen Promenade, taking in views of the colourful fishing boats – go first thing in the morning to join the district’s residents buying fish straight off the boat.
The seaside path linking Ocean Park to Deep Water Bay and onto Repulse Bay is lovely for an amble and surprisingly not so well known; you’ll pass by beaches and watch sailing and other watersports – it’s a world away from Central.
Shop at Ap Lei Chau’s Horizon Plaza’s fashion and home decor outlets – there are dozens of shops selling discounted designer wear from Armani and Zegna to Marni and Marc Jacobs. Collector and traveller Sin Sin moved her atelier to the area last year – visit her amazing art, textiles and jewellery. There’s also a pre-loved fashion studio called The Hula, which has an incredible stash of designer clothing, shoes and accessories sourced from a by-invite-only clique of fashion insiders.
There are several casual eateries in Wong Chuk Hang, such as Mum, Golden Monkey and Goodwill Production, though most are open just for lunch. For drinks I go to Ovolo’s rooftop bar Above which overlooks the retro Evergreen Industrial Building and Aberdeen Sports Grounds – they have an excellent happy hour. In the evening I’ll take visitors to one of the neighbourhood’s private kitchens like M Cuisine, Dine Art, or Culinart if it’s a bigger group.
Why did you choose to base Art Statements in Wong Chuk Hang?
It’s the closest industrial site to Central, and with the newly opened MTR it’s only 10 minutes from Admiralty. We moved here in June 2012 when there were only three/four galleries in the area – now there were 12! There’s no doubt in my mind that the South Island Cultural District will become Hong Kong’s main art district by 2019.
What plans do you have for SICD?
The main visual art pitfall in Hong Kong is that lack of a public-funded museum, which means there’s little art awareness and even less interest in visiting galleries. SICD is tackling this issue in organising bi-annual South Island Art Days (March and September), when all galleries open their doors to the public and there’s a free program of artist talks, guided tours and dedicated kids’ activities.
Wong Chuk Hang is more than just an art district, there’s a flourishing creative scene that takes in fashion, music, dance, gastronomy, architecture and interior design. In time, I’d love to create chapters of SICD for each sector.
Ocean Park / 180 Wong Chuk Hang Rd / +852 3923 2323 / 10am-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-9pm Sat-Sun / oceanpark.com.hk
Jumbo Kingdom / Shum Wan Pier Dr / free shuttle from Aberdeen Promenade Pier and WCH Shum Wan Pier / +852 2553 9111 / 11am-11.30pm Mon-Sat, 9am-11.30pm Sun / jumbokingdom.com
Horizon Plaza / 2 Lee Wing St / +852 2554 9089 / horizonplaza.com.hk
Sin Sin Atelier / 4/F / Kin Teck Industrial Bldg / +852 2521 0308 / by appt only / sinsin.com.hk
The Hula / Unit B / 5/F / Phase One Regency Centre / 39 Wong Chuk Hang Rd / +852 2544 1511 / by appt only / thehula.com
Above / Ovolo Southside / 64 Wong Chuk Hang Rd / +852 3460 8100 / ovolohotels.com.hk