Increasingly more real estate developers in Hong Kong are now more focused on art and design as opposed to floorspace to set themselves apart from their competition.
Hong Kong’s central business district is currently seeing a lot high-rises and offices built that are dedicated to art. Not far away from the city’s business centre, a new luxury residential complex is being supported by one of the city’s property tycoons
Several architects in Hong Kong say how developers previously used to ask them to maximise floor area. Now, it’s all about style, flair and design.
Angel Law, the head of investment group DTZ Cushman and Wakefield: “Developers are trying something special because they have to get creative in order to attract new customers.” He points out that those requests are also including new layouts and furnishings along with unique colour schemes in attempts to be “different from the square boxes that used to sell”.
There is a clear trend in Hong Kong today that some say started back in 2012 with an apartment complex designed by Frank Gehry. The residential building featured impressive and innovative curved facades and twisting sides. For many, this was a starting point in architecture in Hong Kong that reversed many years of cookie-cutter construction that focused more on utility than art and design.
Today, Hong Kong is not just one of the most tightly packed and most expensive cities to work and to live in. Research firm Demographia has now ranked Hong Kong as their least affordable city when it comes to housing for the sixth time in a row.
In the last 13 years, property prices doubled according to UBS. The company ranks Hong Kong only second in the world after London for being at risk of a housing bubble. Demand for housing outpaces supply significantly, resulting in that the recent slowdown in home sales in the city had left the real estate markets largely unscathed.
Not that long ago, a conventional commercial high-rise would have been first choice for Henderson Land Development Co., given its plot right in the middle of Hong Kong’s central business district. As compared to the previous year, rents rose 11% in this area alone.
Yet, despite what seems to go against common sense, local architect William Lim proposed an art building rather then just another office building. He said that such a building will add to the district’s value.
Assistant general manager of Henderson, Kristine Li: ““We recognized there aren’t any buildings purpose-built for art. We felt there was a need to address this.” According to her, but developer saw and opportunity to offer something unique.
The new building is set to open next year. It will have high ceilings and facades can open up to move art works onto each floor along with external gondolas. It will house multiple art galleries along with several shops and restaurants.
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