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The Surreal Side to Hong Kong.
By Nathalie Salas
Monday, 20th January 2014
 

How 20th century art movements inspired a boutique hotel in Hong Kong;

One of the reasons why I am fascinated by Hong Kong is because of its weirdness, as if having the feeling of being dazed and confused; There are not many places on earth where one can be brought into a world of fantasy like this and I find it totally addictive.

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So addictive in fact, that I go out of my way to discover what strange experiences Hong Kong has to offer.  One place where I managed to get my weirdness fix was at The Luxe Manor, a boutique hotel in the Kowloon district.  A place where one could describe it easily with just one word – surreal.

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The 'magical' lobby at the Luxe Manor expresses a mix of vibrant red, orange and copper, inspired by Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi
 
A lobby inspired by Dadism and Surrealism
 
I always find it intriguing when hotels use art as a way of expressing its persona.  Taking inspiration from non-conventional Dadaism and Surrealism movements of the early 20th century, it’s as if you’ve been transported into a very bizarre dream.
 
The hotel’s lobby area really puts surrealism on centre stage.  Inspired by the famous Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi, his style of imperfect art is very reminiscent, combined with the use mosaic patterns and of mystical tones of red, violet, magenta, gold and black.
 
What caught my attention especially was the graphic artistry of a large clock and compass on the mosaic floor of the lobby, representing the distortion of time and space.  In a way, it is very dadai-esqe as it reminded me a lot of French artist, Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel. His style influenced from the aftermath of World War I, Dadaism was all about antagonism and the rejection of all things conventional.

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Marcel Duchamp and his Bicycle wheel, 1913
 
Art and cultural reflection
 
What was also nice to see in the lobby of Luxe Manor was the Old Master Q Chair, donated by its creator Joseph Wong. The chair is designed in a Western imperial style featured by fabrics with Old Master Q’s characters printed in black and white.

The mix of oriental and western cultures accents the quirky interiors while reflecting the role of Hong Kong as a cultural hub. Sitting on the art piece, Chinese guests are happy to rewind their childhood memories whilst Westerners are curious towards the lovely cartoon on the sofa.  2013 marks the 50th anniversary of its characters.

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Old Master Q’ is a well-known local comic series in Hong Kong which dates back to the 1960s
 
The cultural push in West Kowloon
 
A coincidence maybe, or just  good foresight. Because Luxe Manor was one of the first examples in Hong Kong to really push arts, design and culture to the forefront of its persona. 

Maybe their style isn’t “standard” or “normal” for the masses,  similar to the paintings of Van Gogh or Monet which were not appreciated during their lifetime.

Nethertheless, pushing the boundaries outside of the expected is definitely something I appreciate and respect. And now, to help promote the arts scene further, Luxe Manor is soon be surrounded within an innovative arts culture scene that will look to change the face of West Kowloon.

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The Xiqu Centre will be a world-class arts venue specifically built for xiqu (Chinese opera) performances
 
Based on Foster + Partners’ City Park concept, the West Kowloon Cultural project will be developed into a world-class integrated low-density district comprising local and traditional as well as international and modern elements. Arts and cultural learning will be at the heart of this urban fabric, but it is also a space that caters to all other aspects of daily life – living, working, dining and shopping.  Expect to see an opera house, a museum for visual culture, performing arts and everything you can think of related to music.
 
Keep updated with the development’s progress through  westkowloon.hk

About Perfect Boutique Hotel
 
Perfect Boutique Hotel is a travel website that connects boutique hotels neighbourhood travel experiences.  It’s what makes a hotel stay all the more meaningful and memorable. Each hotel has its own special characteristics.
 
Through my travels across the world, I visit boutique hotels that also provide an authentic enriching travel experiences.  By linking the hotel to its destination, my goal is create that emotional connection between the two.  Only then do they have the honour of becoming a Perfect Boutique Hotel.


4Hoteliers Image LibraryNathalie Salas Founder & Editor
 
Nathalie stated her career in the banking industry working in marketing and communications for global banking institutions in London and Dubai.  After turning freelance, she continued to work for clients in the Middle East, UK and Italy helping small businesses improve their marketing and branding on an international level.  Her move to Italy was what sparked her passion for hospitality and boutique hotels.  Combined with over 15 years of constant global travelling, Perfect Boutique Hotel was created to capture in one place all of her hotel experiences.


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