Even if you haven’t checked out the Night Market yet, you still must have heard about the opening of PMQ (Police Married Quarters). PMQ has soft opened as a creative hub for Hong Kong with a focus on design (not to be confused with the former Central Police Station on Old Bailey Street which opens next year and will focus on art). The building itself has a wonderful history – it was converted in 1951 as a dormitory for Chinese rank and file police officers, partly as a result of an influx of refugees to Hong Kong, which created a need for more officers to maintain the law. The quarters were built to increase incentive to join the force and raise the morale of officers by providing them with cheap, convenient housing just a stones throw from Central Police Station.
In its new life as a creative design hub, ‘design’ is a deceptively broad term – pretty much everything you own has been designed and the term is applied fairly loosely at PMQ, which houses a mix of well known big retail brands and small HK brands (who receive subsidised rent). From fashion, furniture, and stationery, to children’s clothing and kitchen accessories, PMQ definitely has a range of designs on offer. In fact, there are some slightly strange bits of tat for sale that make you think ‘who would make that? Who would buy it? How are they going to sustain a shop full of this?’. While it isn’t exactly the bohemian design ashram of my dreams, it also isn’t another office block, fancy hotel, or pile of rubble ripped down by the URA, so I for one, am chalking this up as a win for HK.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve and have a look around now (before 1,600 pandas arrive and you can’t move for the hoards of selfie-takers!), then keep in mind that not all of the tenants have opened yet; that being said, there is a new opening every few days so its worth a look. And make sure you check out the events and workshops being held at PMQ. There are already various jewellery making workshops, fashion courses, meditation sessions, healthy eating seminars and so many other ways to banish wet weekend boredom.
This is by no means an extensive list but a few highlights if you do decide to take a wander around PMQ…
Bread n Butter Café
Bread n Butter Café serves up sweet and savoury crepes that you can either take to go wandering, or sit out back on the terrace and have a more leisurely afternoon tea (dog friendly spot!). The ‘Hong Kong’ flavour (peanut butter, condensed milk, and ice cream) is going to be my downfall and tastes WAY better than skinny feels – so there, Kate Moss.
Bread n Butter Café, Shop HG01-HG05, G/F, Hollywood Block, PMQ, www.breadnbutter.fr
HK’s curators of cool have a new shop with a focus on HK designers. Like all Kapok shops, it’s a slick, thoughtful collection of handsome accessories. For stationery enthusiasts like me, the brass scissors and laser-cut Hong Kong pop-up cards are ideal.
Kapok – crafted in Hong Kong, Shop HG10-HG12, G/F, Hollywood Block, PMQ, www.ka-pok.com/webshop
The World Beyond
This pop-up store stocks a great selection of vintage furniture and accessories, specially edited and chosen by Ross Urwin, formerly of Lane Crawford. This eclectic collection from around the world has some truly unique pieces that will give your home an instant uplift. Definitely worth checking out for some furniture finds and some original home décor touches.
A Day With Fé
We’re a big fan of this yoga wear brand, created by our wonderful former That Mama, Fe Valkavens. Her lovely line of yoga wear is not only practical but also stylish, so much so that it can blend from the studio to the street. Sign up to A Day With Fé’s mailing list to hear about their different workshops and events.
A Day With Fe, Shop S502, 5/F, Staunton Block, PMQ, www.adaywithfe.com
I am a sucker for a pretty packaged soap – and Home Works had me at non-toxic. This is the perfect place to pick up a pretty present that’s sure be unique. We’re all about supporting homegrown products too!
Home Works, Shop S506, 5/F, Staunton Block, PMQ, www.home-works.org
513 Paint Shop
This shop makes me want to decorate everything I own. It’s the first concept store of Effect by e&e, and it stocks amazing wall designs and special paint effects. Stop by to pick up some cool furniture, home-ware and original products, and you’ll also be able to check out some of the inspirational art work on the gallery wall.
513 Paint Shop, Shop S513, 5/F, Staunton Block, PMQ, www.513paintshop.com
Marielle Byworth creates cool, contemporary designs that are made using the highest quality materials. Marijoli is a jewellery line that aims to act as ‘wearable art’, and the modern, complex designs show off the skill that goes into making them. This may not be cheap jewellery, but it definitely reflect PMQ’s focus on design and is ideal for special occasions.
Marijoli, Shop S412, 4/F, Staunton Block, PMQ, www.marijoli.com
Delictation, Shop S406, 4/F, Staunton Block, PMQ, www.delication.com
The Black Store Kickstart Exhibition
I love this idea! Pop along to the shop and if you like the art, just leave them your email address. If they get to 3,000 names then they will put on an exhibition where everything is 10 cents. Art doesn’t get more affordable than that.
Keep your eyes peeled for future PMQ openings…
Aberdeen Street Social
Opening this week and with an acronym that will be the butt of many jokes (pun massively intended!), Jason Atherton and Yen Wong team up for a third time – ’nuff said really. They have the Midas touch right now, non?!
Aberdeen Street Social, G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, www.facebook.com/aberdeenstreetsocial
I recently went to the Muji Found store in Tokyo which stocks a selection of items selected and sourced (rather than designed and made) by Muji, I came away with paper-thin brass bowls, leather notebooks, ceramic dishes… It is a dangerous place full of lovely things.
Muji Found, Shop S107, 1/F, Staunton Block, PMQ
The Cube is about to be Hong Kong’s hottest new events venue, already booked up well into autumn. You’ll be at a party here soon!