Hong Kong Arts Centre
2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Versatile, compact and beautiful
In 1977, when Freeman Lau was a first-year design student at the then Hong Kong Polytechnic, he saw the yellow ventilation ducts hanging down from the fourth floor and onto the street level lobby of the recently opened Hong Kong Arts Centre. He had never seen anything like that before, and was mesmerised, comparing it to the inside-out features of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which opened that same year. The Hong Kong Arts Centre’s architect Dr. Tao Ho overcame the constraints of a mere 100x100 square-foot site and came up with a compact layout for a versatile art space which he conceived as a “people’s art centre”. Two years later, Lau spent the summer working for a photographer based there and and began to think of the building as a synecdoche of Hong Kong. Its high-rise architecture nimbly caters to every art and cultural event, and the nooks and crannies inside the building are small secret spaces to be left alone. For Lau, this multistorey home of the visual, musical and performing arts, theatres, exhibition galleries and cafés represents the Hong Kong he loves.
Designer and artist Freeman Lau has been a key figure on the Hong Kong design scene for decades. Many of his designs are inspired by Hong Kong culture, which Lau has recognised since the 1970s. His Chairplay series have been exhibited as extensively as his graphic works, but Lau's devotion to design is not only visible in his creative works. He has always worked on cross-media projects, promoting local culture through international collaboration and exchange projects.
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