Shopping takes on a whole new meaning in Hong Kong at the end of 2009 as one of the world’s indispensable and favorite activity is now no longer intrinsically bound to apparel, accessories and their familiar relatives. This change is initiated by the opening of the world’s first art mall, K11, in the international hub of Hong Kong. K11 is the brainchild of Adrian Cheng, whose retail portfolio includes a swanky post as the executive director of New World Department Stores in China and overseeing the operations of almost 40 department stores in mainland China.
The birth of K11 is not about brands, in fact, it is about a detachment from brands. Cheng is convinced that the world needs a space which will not only provide shopping and dining opportunities, but also “street entertainment”. As such, Cheng drew from what he believed firmly in– people, nature and art, as the building foundation of K11. More than just a mall, K11 could be toured as a museum. The six-story space spans over 340,000 square feet, housing more than 100 stores with an exhibition window in between each store, displaying a total of 2.6 million dollars worth of art. The art hosted in the exhibition windows are considered the mall’s permanent collection, including pieces created by local artists. The mall doesn’t simply provide retail opportunities, but it is also a platform for local artists to expose their work to the public. Some of the pieces sourced include “The Root” by Danny Lee, “Gene” by Kum Chi Yung and “Wisdom of Nature” by Man Yi Fung. As the collection of art work is rather extensive and Cheng would like visitors to experience the mall as if in an actual museum, the team had developed an iPhone app which acts as a museum guide, providing a virtual docent for visitors.
While Cheng admitted that selling the rather avant-gardish mall concept to retailers and brands were slightly difficult, the mall opened with 80% occupancy, housing some of the world’s renowned labels such as Paul & Joe Beaute, Killah, Miss Sixty, French label Dormuell, U.K footwear brand Irregular Choice, Y-3 and Hong Kong’s very own D-Mop. With faith that the concept for K11 will take off, Cheng is already onto his next project– expanding K11 to other cities such as Wuhan (opening in June 2010) and Shanghai (mid-2011). via: WWD