Fabulous food meets futuristic art at Chinachem Group’s French May celebration

Fabulous food meets futuristic art at Chinachem Group’s French May celebration

19 May 2022

For the second consecutive year, Chinachem Group is collaborating with French May Arts Festival to present “Chinachem Group Celebrates French May”. The Group’s Executive Director and CEO Donald Choi (3rd from right), Consul-General of France in Hong Kong and Macau Alexandre Giorgini (3rd from left), Co-Chairman of the French May Arts Festival Pansy Ho (2nd from left), Managing Director of the Urban Renewal Authority Ir Wai Chi-sing (left), and Festival Ambassador Karena Lam (2nd from right) officiate at the opening ceremony and take a group photo with Chairman Emeritus of Association Culturelle France - Hong Kong Limited Dr Andrew Yuen (right).

Hong Kong’s heritage and a glimpse into the future came seamlessly together today when the city’s historic Central Market building was the setting for a unique interaction between the physical and digital universes through the medium of dance. The occasion was the opening ceremony of a collaboration for the second year running between Chinachem Group, which manages Central Market, and the ever-popular French May Arts Festival, now in its 29th year.


The “Chinachem Group Celebrates French May” event will see two main public activities taking place between now and the end of June at Central Market on Hong Kong Island and NINA MALL in Tsuen Wan: a French Traditional Gourmet Market and Intraverse, an interactive digital art performance. The artist behind Intraverse, Ophelia Jacarini, performed the dance at today’s opening ceremony, which was attended by the Group’s Executive Director and CEO Donald Choi, Consul-General of France in Hong Kong and Macau Alexandre Giorgini, Co-Chairman of the French May Arts Festival Pansy Ho, Managing Director of the Urban Renewal Authority Ir Wai Chi-sing, and Festival Ambassador Karena Lam.


“Chinachem Group has long been a keen supporter of both local and international arts-related events, as we believe that the power of the arts can uplift people’s spirits and create shared values for the community,” Mr Choi told the guests. “We hope this collaboration with French May can also give the public a better understanding of the power of the metaverse and of different art forms.”


Mr Giorgini noted that it is the second year of collaboration, “we are delighted to co-present a programme of gastronomy and art across two strategic locations, broadening the reach, engagement and accessibility of the festival to a wide audience. With the warmest support of Chinachem Group, we’re very happy to bring French Traditional Gourmet Market to Central Market and NINA MALL this year!”.


Highlighting the Intraverse artwork, Ms Ho said it aligned with French May’s 2022 theme of ‘Art Unboxed’, encouraging audiences to release their expectations and explore new ways to experience arts. “It is through our valuable partnership with Chinachem Group that the French May can continue its endeavour to bring arts to all via innovative and accessible platforms,” she emphasised. “We welcome you to explore the endless possibilities of arts and culture in Hong Kong and beyond in Art Unboxed.”


Local residents and visitors can enjoy the fare on offer at the French Traditional Gourmet Markets from 19 to 22 May at Central Market and from 26 to 29 May at NINA MALL 1, while they can try their hands at interacting with the digital art installation Intraverse from 19 May to 30 June at Central Market and from 26 May to 30 June at NINA MALL 1.


A panoply of Gallic fare

Each year French GourMay Food & Wine Festival is organised by French Trade Commission under the umbrella of French May Arts Festival, to highlight gastronomic delights from a specific region of France. The 13th edition this year celebrates “Rhômantic Bistronomy” with Côtes du Rhône wines.


As a highlight of French GourMay, French Traditional Gourmet Market this year will be the largest to date and held across two locations for the first time, with 19 pop-up stores at Central Market and 12 at NINA MALL 1 selling a wide range of products including cheeses, desserts and wine, as well as flowers and cosmetic products from France.


At Central Market, in line with the venue’s commitment to provide ‘retailtainment’, the promotion will cover a vibrant mix of retail, dining and cultural activities. At NINA MALL 1, special menus will be available at the adjoining outlets of Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West. Customers can enjoy a range of French dishes, afternoon tea, croissants, desserts and selected wines.


Merging the physical and digital universes


Intraverse is an interactive digital sculpture created by French artist Ophelia Jacarini to bridge the physical and digital universes. At Central Market, it also builds a bridge between heritage and the future world of the metaverse. Jacarini performs her dance in the physical world whilst also capturing it in virtual reality, then bringing it back to the physical world with an interactive touch. Using a combination of virtual reality and dance, Intraverse transforms the audience’s motions into reaction.


The performance is also integrated with Instagram, allowing audiences to take Intraverse with them anytime and anywhere, adding a visual effect to their Instagram stories. They can take a picture with it, dance with it, hold it or even put it on a desk.


Committed to placemaking


Chinachem Group sees this collaboration with the French May Arts Festival as another realisation of its vision of ‘placemaking’ – building and managing ‘Places with Heart’ that not only provide a pleasant environment for those who live and work there, but also help bring new life to the surrounding communities.


Its ultimate aim is to create shared value with the people of Hong Kong through a ‘Triple Bottom Line’ approach to business, which puts equal priority on creating social, economic and environmental benefits for the community – in other words People, Prosperity and Planet.


Corporate Communications
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