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Making Our City a Better Place
Urban Escape by DesignThe scope of landscape architecture is broader than one can imagine. From botany to fine art, architecture, industrial design, soil science and environmental psychology, landscape architecture is all about the integration between greening, the environment and urban living.
“Landscape architecture is human-centric. You have to understand, first off, the users’ wants and needs, and reflect them in the design,” says Albert Cheng, who founded the international Landscape Consultant firm Cohere Design. “Design is never simply a scheme but solutions for living. Needs in real life should be taken into account.”
In the past, Cheng explains, recreational facilities, event spaces and plazas were all that was required in a large-scale residential development. But that has changed: “Now it’s more about functionality,” he notes. “For example, in Chinachem Group’s Sol City development in Yuen Long, we interlaced a human-centric landscape design with functional spaces. A range of themed green spaces, from an aerobic exercise area to a children’s playground, yoga corner and tai chi garden, offers residents an idyllic escape amid the hustle and bustle.”
Another project of note is Shinsun Yinhu Phase 2 Sales Area, on the outskirts of Hangzhou, where Cohere Design balanced aesthetics with function. With its irregularly-shaped pool, coupled with a waterside pavilion that features a curtain of falling water, the design resembles a poetic scene in ancient China where one could find a pavilion along a calm and clear lake nestled in a mountain – a perfect spot to rest after a long walk. For another landscape design project, apart from recreational facilities, Cheng deliberately added public event spaces that serve as interactive platforms for exchanges among community groups to enliven the neighbourhood. Learn more
City of ColourWhen Elsa Jean de Dieu first arrived in Hong Kong in 2008, she says there was hardly any street art, but now mural paintings are found across the city.
“People are now asking for street art on the facade, they want colourful patterns and meaningful artwork,” she says.
Jean de Dieu has contributed to the street art scene by painting 16 murals around the city, including four live mural paintings for French May Arts Festival at the revitalised Central Market.
“I create a story and characters, and I connect with people passing by, it’s unique. That’s why I’m obsessed with painting smiley faces,” she says, referring to the fun portraits at Central Market. She says that Hong Kong streets are more colourful than ever and before the pandemic people visited the city specifically to see street art.
Street art has helped transform Hong Kong’s image as a business-focused metropolis into a nature- and art-oriented city. Street art is now found in different neighbourhoods across Hong Kong, making buildings a playground for artists who paint in different styles. Their work turns the streets into public galleries and makes art more accessible and easily appreciated.
They also beautify neighbourhoods with their funky designs and kaleidoscopic colours; they draw people in to check out the street art and post images on social media for others to see what they have discovered.
While Jean de Dieu says it’s cool to have more artists painting street art, they aren’t in competition with each other. Rather, they are focused on finding their own style which will make the city look more visually striking. She credits HKwalls for organising legal places to paint and inviting artists to participate.
What makes her work most rewarding are the reactions she gets from people as she is working. “I have very touching contact and conversations with people in the streets, like the cleaners who tap my shoulder and have a big smile, and taxi drivers and bus drivers give me the thumbs up. Because I bring joy, smiley faces, it’s like a huge wave of happiness around. It’s really amazing.” Learn more
Building a Vibrant NeighbourhoodIn collaboration with the Neighbourhood Innovation Lab, Chinachem Group has turned the piazza of NINA MALL I into a dynamic community hub to energise the neighbourhood. Organisations such as Caritas Community Centre – Tsuen Wan, Asbury Methodist Social Service, Upstitch and Green Ladies & Green Little have been invited to host educational events and workshops in the piazza, offering local residents a chance to relax and enjoy life together in the neighbourhood. Happenings have included a free clothing exchange pop-up, an upcycling workshop that turns T-shirts into cardholders, and a booth game to help residents learn about their neighbourhood and the history of Tsuen Wan, complemented by the distribution of a community walking guide. Learn more
SpotlightUrban MappingLook into Hong Kong’s urban planning history and you’ll find one obvious milestone: new town development. For half a century, such developments have been deeply entrenched in the urbanisation of the rural New Territories with an aim to build self-reliant, balanced communities.
InnovationSmartly SustainableFor the new generation of buildings, it’s not only the architecture that matters. A shift towards buildings that also place focus on energy efficiency means increasingly sustainable design.
Liveable PlaceCo-living on the RiseCo-living has been a rising international trend in recent years. A shared apartment usually accommodates three or more young people, with everyone sharing spaces such as the kitchen, living and dining rooms, as well as resources like cutlery and utensils. Renting the space and living there costs less, while one crucial benefit of co-living is having the chance to connect with others, fostering community spirit. The concept emerged in Copenhagen, Denmark in the 1970s and subsequently took off all around the world: from Europe to America, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
CommunityScenes of the TimesHong Kong cinemas have evolved in the past half-century, in keeping with changing trends in the local film industry and socio-cultural shifts.
PeopleA Family of VisionariesBorn into a family of architects, Kevin Lim had a childhood that made him witness to many of the challenges faced by his architect father. “Constraints such as money, time and the actual space make it hard for architects to realise their ideals,” says Lim, who nonetheless followed his father’s path and studied architecture at Cornell University in the US.
Dine & WineScents of HistoryAroma is the key to unlocking our memories and Perfume Trees Gin, the first gin created by Hongkongers, triggers our collective memory of the city. Launched in 2019 by Kit Cheung and Joseph Cheung, Perfume Trees Gin contains 13 botanicals, including five ingredients sourced from local farmers and traditional stores. Of these, white champaca, also known as white jade orchid tree, is the essence.
HappeningsCentral Market to Commence Operations Phase OneFollowing extensive revitalisation, Central Market is ready to swing open its doors again in late August. Over its 160-year history, the building has gone through several transformations.
HappeningsNina Park Interactive Prototypes On Display
Slated to re-open in 2023, and adopting the theme of “time”, Nina Park will be home to Hong Kong’s first wood fossil garden.
HappeningsRelish the Ultimate Indulgence with Nina
This Mid-Autumn Festival, Nina Hospitality is presenting mooncakes in three exquisite flavours: classic White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Two Yolks filled with premium lotus seed paste and salted egg yolks; Mini Egg Custard Mooncake that offers a velvety texture; and the old-meets-new Mini Red Bean Paste Mooncake with Mandarin Peel.
News BriefFrench May HighlightsCommitted to creating shared value for society by supporting arts and culture, Chinachem Group partnered with the French May Arts Festival for the first time to bring art works and performances into Central Market, as a preview to the imminent reopening of this revitalised landmark.
News BriefNina Hospitality Unveils Nina PatisserieNina Patisserie, Nina Hospitality’s first cake shop, has made its debut in Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West.
News BriefChinachem Group Publishes First Sustainability ReportChinachem Group has published its inaugural sustainability report, detailing its sustainability commitments, management approach and performance, including that of its property management subsidiaries and Nina Hospitality, during the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
News BriefEnergy-Saving Practices in Office SettingDuring the webinar titled “Energy-Saving Practices in Office Setting”, Ir Dr Paul Sat, Head of Research and Public Education at Hong Kong Green Building Council, shared holistic solutions to achieve energy savings and sustainability in offices – ranging from lighting, IT systems and electrical and electronic devices, to behavioural changes by users and synergy between owners and tenants.
News BriefCENTRAL MARKET+ CAREER DAY Offers Over 500 PositionsWith a goal of creating employment opportunities and providing platforms for career development, Chinachem Group recently organised a career day in Central Market providing more than 500 positions.
FlashbackOur Deep Market ConnectionsIn Chinese society, freshness and seasonality is part and parcel of the food culture. Hong Kong sprouted open-air markets as early as its establishment as a free port, when vendor stalls lined both sides of roads with a staggering variety of fresh daily produce ranging from meats and vegetables to fruits and other groceries.