The latest addition to Victoria Dockside, Hong Kong’s newest cultural district right on the iconic Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront is K11 Musea, a revolutionary retail and creative destination conceptualised by designers and artists from all over the world. It is the brainchild of billionaire developer Adrian Cheng, a 10-year-long project that has surely become one of the most striking shopping complexes the world has ever seen.
Formerly known as the New World Centre, a hotel, residences, office and retail complex built by Adrian Cheng’s grandfather, Victoria Dockside started its redevelopment in 2009, which included the construction of the Rosewood hotel, K11 Artus residences and K11 Atelier office. K11 Musea is the last instalment of this massive project, and, dare I say, the most incredible and culturally significant.
The façade of K11 Musea is a design marvel in itself; a 10-storey building crafted from rare Portuguese limestone, designed by world-famous architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF). It draws inspiration from Hong Kong’s iconic harbours, and is meant to blend in naturally to the waterfront with its fluid lines and lush greenery. The green wall, designed by Thai landscape and design studio PLandscape, included a diverse botanical feature that perfectly juxtaposes the building’s hard stone façade.
K11 Musea stands for “A Muse by the Sea”, reinterpreting the concept of a muse as a venue that provides tremendous inspiration for architecture, art, nature and design. It is also an extension of the maison concept, a place where art, culture, eclectic styles and heritage meet. “Our vision is to reinvigorate the district together with 100 creative powers hailing from different disciplines and cultures, to make K11 MUSEA the ‘Silicon Valley of Culture’ and inject art, architecture, design, sustainability and all forms of cultures into the new consumer’s daily life. K11 MUSEA is conceived as a space that inspires global millennials, and facilitates a broader discussion on the interconnectedness of creativity, culture and innovation,” says Adrian Cheng, founder of K11 Group and executive vice-chairman of New World Development.
Just some of the powerhouses involved in the creation of this space are award-winning architecture and design firms such as James Corner Field Operations, OMA led by Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, UK lighting specialist Speirs + Major, Denmark’s award-winning playground designers Monstrum and Hong Kong-based architecture studio LAAB.
K11 Musea’s entrance visually honours the Silk Road through a specially designed pattern by PLandscape, which has become the Musea motif; a geometric pattern that creates a perfect gradient to allow sunlight to shine through. Past this entrance is the incredible Opera Theatre, the grand atrium designed by LAAB featuring 1,115sqm of hand-painted and hand-tamped aluminium panels. Floating above this 33-metre-tall area is the Oculus, a complex vault structure made out of a network of branches digitally designed and created using DNA-like programming codes. It is made out of bent steel with glass-fibre-reinforced polymer, and hundreds of spotlights which can be programmed to pulse and animate throughout the day. The centrepiece of this atrium is the Gold Ball, a spherical chamber featuring triangular latticework set with LED lights that also feature a variety of lighting effects. Truly a sight to behold.
As striking as the indoor retail centre is the Sunken Plaza, a large ampitheatre located beside the front entrance that features a curved glass wall and water installations. It was created to become the perfect backdrop for events, theatrical performances and a series of talks by Kulture 11, K11 Musea’s cultural events programme. Other outdoor spaces include Donut, a friendly giant welcoming children at the entrance by Monstrum, and the Bohemian Garden by James Corner Field Operations on the rooftop of the building created for people of all ages to enjoy. It includes an alfresco dining space and a kids area with a Peacock playground also designed by Monstrum. On level 8 sits the Nature Discovery Park and The Conservatory, which is the result of LAAB and PLandscape’s collaborative work. It is Hong Kong’s first urban biodiversity museum and sustainability-themed education park illuminated by Firefly lighting designed by Speirs + Major at night. It is surrounded by The Archive, The Aquarium and The Farm, allowing guests to dive deeply into urban nature discovery.
Amongst the retail stores situated at K11 Musea is the first-ever MoMA Design Store in Greater China, renowned fashion label Off-White, Gucci, Yohji Yamamoto, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Cartier, and lots more. This cultural-retail destination breaks the barriers of how the world perceives shopping. During the era of e-commerce, it’s refreshing to see such a place where people can visit and appreciate the beauty of design and art whilst viewing the latest fashion trends the world has to offer. K11 Musea is the epitome of global collaboration, a hub of intricate and striking designs that was ingeniously ideated by Adrian Cheng.
Read our interview with LAAB's design director, Otto Ng here.