Text by: Kelly Chan
29 November 2021
The newly revived Central Market is no longer just another market. It showcases the unprecedented interior design concept that grounds on a boundaryless spatial concept, interweaving food experience, retailtainment, co-working nature and cultural experience through choreographed spaces which provides a new type of “Playground” experience for all walks of life.

Operated by Chinachem Group, the 122,000 square-foot Market has been transformed into a “Playground for All” by accentuating an Approachable, Energetic and Gregarious appeal. It also follows two major principles in response to the public’s aspirations towards preserving collective memory of the old Hong Kong and creating public enjoyment with new innovations.

 
The Market is mainly bathed in natural light but this lighting installation is very IG-able to many visitors
The Central Market has been transformed into a social hub where people can experience the liberty of being free to meet, eat, relax and enjoy their way
The Central Market showcases the unprecedented interior design concept that grounds on a boundaryless spatial concept, interweaving food experience, retailtainment, co-working nature and cultural experience

Playground for All

Before the revitalisation began, Chinachem Group already set out a ground-breaking vision to transform the Market into a social hub where people can experience the liberty of being free to meet, eat, relax and enjoy their way. Chan Kin Cheong, Co-founder/Director of Shadow design house who is responsible for the renovation project agreed, “in the past, people went to the wet market not just for food, they would also socialise with each other. We’ve heard they would even play mahjong in the wet markets.”
To keep the essence of a traditional wet market, Chan and his work partner Benjamin Lam, also a Co-founder/Director of Shadow, did not just plan space for a food court and shops but also created a community space by developing a 8,000 square-foot central Oasis with projection and sound systems adjacent to the Dining Ground, so that people can enjoy street performances and large scale events while getting a bite with their friends.

Chan continued with more surprises, “there are also bars inside the Dining Ground which is rare to find in a regular mall setting. During day time, you see people coming into the Market for lunch, but at night the Market will turn itself into a nightlife spot where more expatriates will gather for a beer.”

Benjamin added, “also the Market is a space without boundaries. We forewent the idea of traditional partitioning but used 300 plants instead as green partitions to divide and celebrate spaces.” Chan further said, “it feels like when you reach out your hand, you will mentally overlap and see what’s going on on the other side.”

In the coming five years, the Central Market will have plans for holding 250 events for the interests of different demographic groups, including tours, workshops, exhibitions and performances. Also, there will be initiatives to promote the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) to nurture the creative thinking of the next generation and provide fun and meaningful visits.

Co-founder of Chart Coffee Wilson Chung
Manager of Hong Kong Tram Store Eric Lee
Stanley Wat, General Manager HK & Global Rice Business of Golden Resources Development Limited
Chart Coffee is a specialty coffee education startup that serves top-notch coffee specially brewed by the Hong Kong champion barista (2019) with beans proudly roasted in Hong Kong. The team customises coffee recipes using their data and AI technology and provides education through coffee experiences and workshops to the public. Being one of the tenants in the Market, its Co-Founder Wilson Chung said their business has greatly benefited from the POS system.


Second phase of revitalisation

The second phase of revitalisation is expected to finish in the second quarter of next year at the earliest. It will involve the redesign of the facade facing Des Voeux Road in Central and the installation of an escalator that leads to both the first floor and the 24-hour passageway on the second floor.

In the future, a wider variety of tenants are also expected to join the Central Market and the Market will join hands with different organisations to co-create a new landmark that nurtures a vibrant community and cultivates a contemporary urban lifestyle.

“Chinachem has been super helpful throughout the setup of our shop. They also offered plug to operate model to help with insurance, licensing, shop designs and payment system so that we would not have to worry about all the annoying administrative matters that are key to the setup of a F&B venture.”

Eric Lee, Manager of Hong Kong Tram Store also agreed to this, “The Central Market is so brave to accept small stores like us to run businesses there. We are also very happy with our performance as the Market attracts a high footfall to visit our store.”
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