I have thankfully made it to year 2 safely which brings me to another post where I share random models and sketches. Once again, I come to document my progress in the subject I literally have the worst results for–Expression, which is about drawing/painting. I am really really bad at drawing and painting by hand as compared to the local Japanese kids. Its really… bad. Therefore I want to reiterate that this post is not to show good skills but for documentation like a diary such that I can compare my progress as I work towards the future.
#1 Modern Tokyo Ukiyo-e
Our first assignment is to paint a modern interpretation of traditional japanese wood-cut illustrations known as ukiyo-e. I had to research various renowned ukiyo-e artists and it was really interesting. Ukiyo-e has an intentional flat sense of space, interesting use of gradations as well as outlined elements.
I composed my shot using a humble ramen stand against the backdrop of Tokyo Skyscrapers. Upon reflection, I realised I should have used thinner lines in some parts and take care of the proportions of the man more carefully.
#2 Aluminium Can Sculpture
The second assignment is making sculptures out of soft drink cans. I chose Sapporo Beer and Horoyoi cans to form a vacuum cleaner. I really like my Makita vacuum cleaner and I modelled its shape based on it. It is important to make paper mockups. In the end there are many rough parts and the top is not sealed but I learnt a lot in the progress.
#3 Food Stop-motion Sketches
I am supposed to explore the interaction between 2 objects with this assignment. My main subject is bread with butter, sausage and ritz sandwich as secondary subjects. I tried to do something special with each–Sausage spins of the x-axis but the bread responds by rotating in the y-axis; The Ritz Sandwich rotates together with the bread crusts tearing off like a switch; The butter unmelts as the bread gets toasted.
Wes Anderson’s new film The French Dispatch’s trailer came out a while back and it was spectacular. It brought me back to 2013 when I watched his film for the first time. The Grand Budapest Hotel. At that time the poster looked cute and I decided to casually give it a watch without much thought, a common tendency of mine.
At the end of the 2+ hours, I found myself quickly searching for the film’s art director on my smartphone. I was floored–I have never seen such visually detailed movie before, every frame was like a painting.
I think it started at around 10 minutes into a film where there was a scene with a shoe shine boy being so compositionally perfect despite being only shown for a second. I was hooked from that point on. In this article, I would like to talk about 3 points on why this film is a masterpiece, even though there are many others.
(TOP) The main characters of the film, Zero (left) and Gustave (right). (上) 映画の主人公、ゼロ（左）とグスタフ（右）
★ Outline / 概要 ★
It is a story centered around an extravagant hotel in Europe in the 1930s with the main characters, Gustave H, the concierge of the hotel and, Zero, his protégé and lobby boy. Gustave would soon be wrongly framed for a murder, driving him to go on adventures to escape and prove himself with the help of Zero throughout the film.
(Clockwise from the left) Passport, stamps and currency notes from the fictional country of Zubrowska (左から) 虚構の国「ズブロフカ」のパスポート、切手、紙幣
The film is brimming with many beautiful, intricate props that most people would not bat at eye at. However, a point that the audience should know to appreciate the film more is that every little prop is handmade to fit into this fictional world–Every advertisement, every piece of note in the background, every item.
(ABOVE) Several newspaper designs shown very briefly in the film (上) 新聞のデザイン
A great example to highlight this is the Newspaper. Even though the Newspaper only flashes for moments, every word in its articles are written by the director himself and laid out to reflect the world of that time. In fact, it went through over 40 revisions to reach its final state, its almost as if the 2 seconds of the film with the prop is a tale on its own.
(ABOVE) How a Mendl’s packaging opens up (上)「Mendl’s」というお菓子店のパッケージの開け方
Another prominent prop is the packaging for Mendl’s, a lovely sweet shop in the world of Zubrowka. Of course, it has nice lettering and a lovely shade of pink but the key is in the way it opens up. When you pull the ribbon, the box flips out dramatically on all 4 sides seamlessly to reveal the beloved dessert adorably standing in the middle. The fact that they considered even the movement of the prop reflects how seriously they take their prop-making.Re-creating the fictional universe to such intricacy is often said to be for the actors. It helps them immense in this illusion, it is kind of like how actors/actresses image background stories for the roles beyond the script to mould the character more realistically. A good example is the currency and the stamp used in the Grand Budapest, you have even the portrait of the imagined King of the fictional world and the country’s very own crest.
(ABOVE) Further beautiful examples of the Mendl’s brand identity seen in various scenes (上)「Mendl’s」のブランドアイデンティティーが見える様々なシーン
★ #2 Take your references seriously • 参考の緻密な再現 ★
(1)A comparison with a 1908 image of a Hotel in Cairo with similar inconsistencies in letter spacing.
タイトルの字間の少し不規則ところを1900年代カイロにあったホテルとの比較 (2)A group picture of the Grand Budapest Hotel staff with some employees taking a half-knee and some sitting with their legs slanted.
片膝についたり、斜めに座ったりしたなど職業によって姿勢をするグループ写真 (3)A beautiful painted background
Everything seems natural or obvious in Wes’s fictional world but everything is researched, debated and designed.
For example in the masthead of the movie poster, you can see that the kerning (or spacing between alphabets) is off in some areas. You would think that it is a mistake but it is actually the genius of Wes. The team underwent intense research into the European hotels of that bygone era. An old steel hotel sign from the 1930s Cairo was especially picked out as it had many spacing errors blacksmiths often commit in the process of making the letterings with the tools then. They replicated these errors intentionally even if it might seem like a mistake on their part–there is soul in these things.
There are many other occurrences that seem natural initially but unique on a second look–Such as the very intentional half-knee pose when taking the photograph. I also love the painted backgrounds, very much like the hand-painted sets in old films and theatre. Usually they would seem cheesy in this day and age but they merge beautifully with the rest of film’s universe.
★ #3 The framing and blocking of things, characters and places • 物、人、場所の位置と大きさ ★
(ABOVE) The changes in aspect ratio according to the time period shown (上) 画面の縦横比は時代によって変わる
The physical design of the places and things are only the tip of the iceberg. Wes has also put in considerable effort in the arrangement and framing of these things.
The aspect ratio of each scene changes according to the time period that it reflects. In the beginning–supposedly the modern age–the standard 16:9 ratio we know of today is used. However, when the author recalls back to the 1968, the aspect ratio changes to the widescreen ratio 2.4:1 of the 50s and 60s. Furthermore, when the main character further recalls back to 1932, the 4:3 squarish ratio used by black and white films of that time is applied.
On a closer look, the positioning of the character is also linked to its development in the story. A disciple and lobby boy at the start, Zero mostly appears in the background while his teacher, Gustave is usually at the front, big and close to the camera. However this changes at the pivotal scene where Zero saves Gustave to which he said “we’re brothers” From that point on, they are equals and they began to be shown on equal levels and equal sizes. This is very similar to how they divide the stage in 9 sections in theatre for different uses.
Today, I only cited one of the many masterpieces of Wes Anderson because there is just too much to talk about. Every of his film has a soul, a time, a place and a feeling of its own. “Rushmore”–has a romance towards prestigious private schools and the plethora of extracurricular activities(even eccentric ones) “Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou”–has the fascination towards the deep sea and nautical culture. “Moonrise Kingdom”–has references to cartography and an adoration for the world of boy scouts. If you haven’t watched them, please do yourself a favour and immense yourself in the spectacular world of Wes Anderson.
今日、ウェス監督の映画の中の一つしか言及していないが、言えることはさらに無数にあるのです。彼の映画ごとに、独特な魂が潜んでいる－自分ならではの場所、時間、雰囲気など。 “Rushmore”– 風変わりな様々な部活動と豪華な私立学校へのロマン。“Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou”－航海のカルチャーと深海への冒険。“Moonrise Kingdom”–地図作成オタクとボーイスカウトのキャンプの世界。これらの映画は絶対に観る価値があります。
DISCLAIMER☞The writing and content have seem odd during the attempt to draw a parallel between my limited Japanese ability and English expressions. This is for my practice, let me know areas of improvements thanks. Special thanks to my Japanese teacher, Naoko.
Thanks to participating in the 50th anniversary of the Singapore Japanese Speech Contest, I got a free homestay to Japan. This time we visited an area which just opened up for homestay for the very first time, it is a fishing town called Obama in the Fukui Prefecture. It got some publicity for sharing a name with the former US president but it is much more than that.
They are closeby to Kyoto, the former capital, which is why they were once the emperor’s food supplier. It was also the port where travellers from Korea or China enter to visit japanese nobles. The people here are historically brilliant in their food and entertainment culture. They are experts in fishing, understanding the various species of fishes and their seasons. The local fish market1 has a wide variety of fresh seafood-striped, transparent, you name it. They are just caught nearby so you can eat them at the restaurant right beside without paying much transport cost. It has a kaisen don with 11 types of seafood all in one. They are also great at fermenting or preserving fish5. They were the start point of the Mackerel road or Saba Kaido(鯖街道) where they transport fishes further inland, this takes days thus requiring preservation expertise.
More than seafood, they also have farmlands and mountains for a variety of vegetable stock. People usually buy gifts for the nobles from here which is why they are also the biggest lacquered chopstick provider2 in Japan. This is accompanied with centuries old sake brewery3 and a japanese sweets shop4(they have one of the 3 shops in Japan that holds 2 of the highest accolade in the industry) Working side by side with the food culture to host travellers going to the capital, they also have a geishas6 to entertain people. What they have today are interesting music and point-based games that are rare to find elsewhere. My friend and I managed to experience all of these historic goodness in our short time here.
Besides the traditional food culture, we also saw a side of Obama that is forward-looking and evolving. Due to their pristine location, next to the Japan sea, they could carry out marine studies well. Thus, the Fukui Prefectural University1 has a campus here just for that. They continuously carry out research to better the understanding of marine livestock. A recent result of their study is feeding sake remnants to fish to make them tastier! Next I will like to talk about my host family4 , a young good-looking couple. They built their own house and its almost like its from a magazine. Its modern and has great wood, feels real good. They have a mini library(we call it that haha) with many books, boardgames, projector and even a hammock! I think they are redefining what an attractive lifestyle is for young couples in the countryside.
The husband runs a company3 that revitalizes barren land in the town to make them fertile again. This is a great initiative in a time where many leave the countryside for big city dreams. The countryside should not lose in cool places and Obama has a green cafe2 that is just that. They have vintage vibes and hanging plants, they also occasionally organise hipster sustainable Scandinavian-inspired pop-up markets outside the place. They are a couple of retro cafes around that has chimneys and cool drinks and all but green cafe’s owner is kind of obsess with plants. it shows. We were talking about Isamu Noguchi, nomad culture and other things, real interesting guy. Lastly, building something new on the existing rich food culture of Obama is a italian restaurant called La Verita5. The owner showed us cheese making and we got to eat raw cheese! I really love the texture , slightly chewy haha. We eat wagyu spaghetti as well.
Overall, it has been a great trip. Like many towns in the country across Japan, the population of young people are falling and leaving for saturated cities. It warms my heart however seeing the efforts the young people here make not just in preserving their edge in traditions but also in evolving and redefining their lifestyle to make it exciting for young people again. This ignited my thought about branding local communities and social problems in the flailing countryside.
Once again, another long overdue post. I visited Japan in December 2017 when I had my university entrance exam. It was the christmas period and Tokyo was full of beautiful illumination. I won’t talk about the illumination much below but some great places for that were Tokyo Midtown and the area around Tokyo Station. Really classy places. You won’t get that level of illumination in Singapore, Japan really prides itself in its lighting design.
At that time I was really into Lisa Ono and Bossa Nova, hence the music choice, but now when I look back it might be cheesy but oh well. I shot and edited all these back in December 2017 but I missed the time to upload during christmas then. But now I finally decided to make a post on it. I am living in Japan now so I will probably have even cooler places to show in the future. This list of 6 places include some places you will not find in other english media that I really like such as “CHOCOLATIER PALET’DOR”. As mentioned before, it would not just be places of design interests, but anywhere I enjoy. I merely named it “DESIGN TRAVEL GUIDE” because it is a list made by a designer, me in this case.
DISCLAIMER☞All these photos are shot and edited in 2017 so the state of the shops reflect that time.
CHOCOLATIER PALET D’OR ショコラティエ パレ ド オール
Address 〒100-6501 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi,
1 Chome−5−1 新丸の内ビルディング Access 5 minutes walk from Tokyo Station
Mon-Sun: 11:00~21:00 Photos courtesy of CHOCOLATIER PALET D’OR’s instagram and relevant parties.
I’m used to seeing big global chocolate brands like Godiva or even Japanese ones like Royce. However, ever since I watched a Japanese drama on chocolatiers, I have developed an appreciation and curiosity for chocolatiers. I found a Japanese chocolatier –not in a food guide book– but in a brand identity compilation book. It was chosen as an example of brilliant brand design and I could not agree more. Typographically state-of-the-art. From the chocolates to the store and packaging, this is the kind of experience I was hoping to find in Japan.
I went to the store near Tokyo Station, in the Marunouchi building, overall a beautiful area. The store had seats with certain dine-in menu, the ice-cream looks great but what was really interesting (in 2017) was their transparent cocoa drink. It was fascinating. Their stuff is actually pretty expensive, but I think they make very decent souvenirs for slightly more important people. Especially since it is not a global brand and can only be obtained there.
★★★☆☆ Website http://www.nissei-com.co.jp/cremia/en/ Access Various locations
Hugely recommended at that time, but these days I find it everywhere. True to what everyone says, its a really great soft serve. I even watched a video that explained that the people behind it used science and years of research to develop the perfect taste, texture and even the perfect cone that complements it.
La Mère Poulard ラ・メール・プラール
★★★★☆ Address 3 Chome-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda City,
Tokyo 100-0005 Website http://www.la-mere-poulard.jp/ Access 2 minute walk from Tokyo Station
I saw a facebook video about fluffy omelettes and after further probing, found it to be La Mère Poulard. It originated as a french inn in 1888, with their giant omelettes cooked in a wooden hearth being hugely popular. It was also on an island which was the reference for their original logo. As of now, it seems that this restaurant can only be found in Japan besides its home country of France, which makes it worth a visit if you are in Japan. The brand identity design is pretty impressive here as well, they keep the consistent red and the interiors make you feel like you are transported to that french island where this place was first opened on. I had the omelette which is really interesting texture-wise but it was not too spectacular for me personally, but I did notice the Japanese customers finish it well, perhaps it is more fitting for the Japanese tastebuds.
Ghibli Museum 三鷹の森ジブリ美術館
★★★★★ Address 1-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka
Tokyo 181-0013 Website http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/ Access Take the cat bus from the JR Mitaka Station
closed on tuesdays;
“Let’s get lost together” is the museum’s slogan. Photography inside is forbidden so I cannot show much but this is a magical place. There are delicately crafted exhibits in every corner, many layered or have moving mechanisms. This means even the manhole are designed and there are places you have to crouch to go through. It really feels like you are in a Ghibli movie.
The exhibition on that time was about food in their movies and they remade several kitchens into sets that we can explore. It also documents the tedious behind-the-scenes process in creating an animated film. In line with the theme of food, they had a short film called “Mr Dough and the Egg Princess” screened in a delightful mini theatre. From the art deco lamps outside the theatre to the illustrations on the ceiling of the theatre, its a dream come through–I mean having your own themed theatre showing tailor made films and perhaps even have deliberately crafted trailers before the film is super cool. The short film is also a silent film such that tourists from any country can understand it without having a hundred different subtitles. My entire family loved it. The short film they make are specifically made for the museum and they renew them once in a while, along with new exhibitions, giving the museum a lot of revisit value.
This is a must-go, however tickets are hard to come by. Tickets for the month go on sale on like the 10th of the month but they sell out real fast. It was the case for me and I had to ask a friend residing japan to help me get it. Apparently they have separate quotas for buying in Japan and from overseas. You should google it.
niko and … ニコアンド
★★★★☆ Address 6 Chome-12-20 Jingumae, Shibuya City,
Tokyo 150-0001 Website http://www.nikoand.jp/ Access 4 minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station
This is actually a retail franchise but I really like it. I appreciate brands that has a strong concept and art direction that they use throughout consistently in different areas. They can be as diverse as having food, furniture or even clothes in the same brand. A good example is IKEA and MUJI whom also have a strong typographical system throughout their brand, be it in furniture design, price tags, food menu or catalogues.
Ok so in a nutshell, “niko and …” is most well-known for its clothes but they also sell potted plants, furniture, daily necessities and some stores have a coppe café in it. The idea is that you can attach any other brand name behind [niko and …], so they manufacture original items, carry certain brands and also collaborates with certain brands (from Casio to).
However all of these things are designed or selected in line with “niko and …”s strong and unique visual language. I remember when I first visited, I really love how everything is done originally in its brand universe. They had such wide variety of original goods that you don’t know what you might find, they even have their own gachapon machines that sell tiny potted plant figurines. I remember when I purchased my first item then, I got a beautiful receipt that has an exclusive QR code to a beautiful brand film they made that season. I still store that advertisement in my phone, because they really make some of the best advertisements.
(ABOVE) Not my favourite advertisement of theirs, but still a good one.
The soul of the brand can actually be found in their special “niko and … ” dictionary which is a special edition publication designed by award-winning graphic designer Naomi Hirabayashi who also did the brand’s identity design. This dictionary explains every tiny preference and inclinations that guides the brand. An example is that dictionary states their liking in old luggages full of stickers and scratches or their emphasis on the combination of metal and wood. All of these principals and values culminate to guide the diverse brand to have a hard-to-define yet consistent colour or tone.
BTW, you can check out their painter denim, it sells quite well and I have it. Perhaps next time I will write a post just talking about their advertisements. LOL.
(ABOVE) A video summarising the charms of Wong Kar Wai, by youtube channel ‘Pitching Room’ (上)監督ウォン・カーウァイの映画の魅力を描写する動画
When I started my first ever internship, my mentor taught me 2 directors whose movies I must watch. One of which was Hong Kong director, Wong Kar Wai, a name synonymous with Asian cinema. His movies are not always crowd favourites, many find it boring, with overly long b-rolls and overly poetic lines. I’ve even heard of a guy who exited the cinema half-way for the first time in his life, while watching Wong’s film. Truly, if you go into the cinema expecting to be excited at the back of your seat, you might be disappointed. His films are more suitable for when you are feeling sentimental, when you are ready to lose yourself in the music.
Despite the criticisms, he has reached legend status. He is capable of creating an atmosphere in his film that is very Hong Kong and very hard to find anywhere else in the world. The chaotic neon lights. The lonely, slightly dirty and rusty city vibe. The nostalgia of downtown Hong Kong. You cannot categorise these feelings easily, you have to see the films for yourself. I would like to introduce 3 of his movies and an interesting composition or camera technique applied in each.
(TOP) Iconic scenes from ‘In the Mood for love’, especially those that are well framed (上) 映画「花様年華」の中の代表的なシーン、特に窓やドアみたいな枠が入られているシーン
The first film has to be Wong’s signature work–‘In the Mood for love(2001)’ It went on to be chosen 2nd place in BBC’s Top 100 best films of the 21st Century. The movie is set in 1960s Hong Kong–a time where men had gelled hair, worn suits and women adorned the cheongsam, dressing up even for short trips to the market. It makes me imagine how my own grandfather looked when he was young, especially since he alway dressed neatly with gelled hair even at an old age. It’s the many little things that give the film its refined vibe, be it suited Tony Leung, walking out of the shadows with a newspaper tucked under his armpit or the cigar smoke filling the air slowly.
A notable film technique Wong used in much of this film is a「frame within a frame」. Many scenes have their main action framed within another frame, such as a door or a window, within the screen itself. This reflects Wong’s obsession with the composition in every frame.
(ABOVE) Iconic Scene from movie ‘In the Mood for love’ that I mentioned in the post, men that wear suits and women who wear cheongsam (上)映画「花様年華」の中に1960年代香港男のスーツ姿や女のチイパ姿を反映するシーン
(1) Erratic and Sketchy scenes that use the [step printing] method
「Step Printing」というカメラ手法通して突飛な速さで動いているシーン (2) The iconic pineapple scene
代表的な水槽の隣にパイナップルを食べているシーン (3) Other Iconic scenes
If ‘In the mood for love’ is composed, slow-paced and refined, then the following movie I am going to describe is probably the opposite–it is also one of Wong’s most iconic film, ‘Chung King Express (1994)’. A young actor at that time, Takeshi Kaneshiro took on the role of a policeman suffering from a breakup heartbreak. For a month after breaking up his girlfriend, he collected his ex’s favorite canned pineapple everyday, specifically ones that expire at the end of the month. He then ate all of it at one go, as if letting all of his feelings go. The scene of him musing and feasting on the pineapple beside the fish tank in his lonely apartment is especially sentimental.
Many movies use slow motion or fast motion to dramatize moments, but Wong decided to do both at the same time. He used a camera technique known as 「Step Printing」, he films action scenes in a slow frame rate and then replays it in a faster speed to create an erratic atmosphere that is sketchy with a lot of motion blurs.
“We rub shoulders with many people everyday. Some may become your close friend, or even your confidant. That’s why I’ll never avoid such possibilities, sometimes it hurts. Not to worry–as long as you’re happy.”
– Takeshi Kaneshiro, Fallen Angels(1995)
(TOP) Iconic scenes from the movie Fallen Angels, especially ones that show the visual effect from wide lens closeup, that bends and warps the image from the movie. (上) ワイドレンズでクローズアップしたから、スクリーンを曲がれて、画面上の距離を拡大するシーン
Lastly, ‘Fallen Angels(1995)‘, is the least known of the 3, but by far my favourite Wong Kar Wai Film. It starts as a story about an assassin and his agent but it’s ultimately about fate and coincidence–rubbing shoulders with people who walk in and out of your life.
When filming a landscape, cinematographers would usually use wide lens, as it captures a large area. However, they would not use it for closeups as it tends to warp nearby objects, your face would be distorted to look like a banana in front of it. In this film Wong use this 「Wide lens close-up」to achieve a look that makes 2 people sitting close together by a table to look visually distant from each other on the screen, bending the screen image in an exaggerated manner.
DISCLAIMER☞The writing and content have seem odd during the attempt to draw a parallel between my limited Japanese ability and English expressions. This is for my practice, let me know areas of improvements thanks. Special thanks to my Japanese teacher, Chris.
Back in 2016 July, I visited Hong Kong and although long overdue I have been wanting to post about it. When I think of Hong Kong, I think of Wong Kar Wai. It is a city with a unique soul. I listed a few places of my personal interest, as mentioned before, it would not just be places of design interests, but anywhere I enjoy. I merely named it “DESIGN TRAVEL GUIDE” because it is a list made by a designer, me in this case.
DISCLAIMER☞All these photos are shot and edited in 2016 so the state of the shops reflect that time.
#1 Morning Hawks
China Cafe 中國冰室
★★★★★ Address Hong Kong, Mong Kok, Canton Rd, 1077A舖 Access 2 minutes walk from Mong Kok Station exit A2 Price I can’t remember but pretty sure that it’s really cheap
I tried hard to find a place with the Wong Kar Wai vibes. The very unfortunate thing is that the very western restaurant where “In the Mood for love” was filmed, had closed down a year prior to me coming to Hong Kong. Rather than actual locations I have only managed to find retro places reminiscent of Wong’s movies. One such place was “China Cafe”, established in 1963. It has terrazzo tiling on the walls and floors and they serve ovaltine but no milo. LOL. Absolutely no regrets going there as the feeling was definitely there. It makes the mostly drab trip sort-of worth it. I also learnt that eating macoroni for breakfast is a thing in Hong Kong.
The photos had the vibe of the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper and just nice, Wong Kar Wai once said that he compose his scenes as though they are like the paintings of Edward Hopper.
Happy Lemon 快樂檸檬
★★★★★ Address 65 Argyle St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong Website www.happy-lemon.com/tw/global/address.php?id=10 Access 1 Minute walk from Mong Kok Station Exit B2 Price Same as most bubble tea
The highlight of my trip. Even though it is just a drink franchise, I have long ties with it. Back in my secondary school days, Singapore used to have Happy Lemon and it truly gave me happiness. That was the time when Taiwan milk tea was starting to get popular but they offered a totally exotic range of beverages–Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese, Milk Tea with Cream Puff(蛋糕奶茶), Matcha Latte with Coffee Jelly, Lemon Yogurt with Aloe. Needless to say, they were amazing, but they were too ahead of their time and their prices were considered too high then, leading to its eventual closure in Singapore.
They had one of the most brilliant brand identity deisgn as well. I tried so hard to find the studio and creative director who designed the brand and years later I eventually found that it to be Lawrence Choy, a creative director who heads a studio in Hong Kong. It actually casted some doubt onto my appreciation for design, I’m a big believer that design should be functional and support the business, so having Happy Lemon close down in Singapore bothered me. However today I realised that there are many other aspects to make a business work as well and their timing in Singapore was not good, but their branding is still effective. Today they have over 800 stores in many countries.
Ok, back to the main topic, I found Happy Lemon in Hong Kong and I bought 2 large cups straight away;since it is a rare occasion. Of course, I tried menu items that I’ve never tried before. “Salted Cheese Osmanthus Lychee Green Tea” (right) and “Milk Tea Smoothie with Oreo and Creme” (left). It tasted as interesting as the names sound.
#3 Pink Dolphins
Tai O Fishing Village 大澳
★★☆☆☆ Website www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/great-outdoors/…/tai-o-stilt-houses.jsp Access 2 and a half hour bus ride from the city
Tai O is a fishing village a bus ride away from the city. You see a different Hong Kong but frankly I was not impressed. I saw dolphins and ate decent fish cakes. I tried to look for hidden gems in the backstreets but I could not find anything particularly interesting. Unfortunately.
#4 Homegrown design & zines
★★★☆☆ Address 35 Aberdeen Street Website http://www.pmq.org.hk/ Access 10 minute walk from Sheung Wan Station
I actually had a hard time finding design savvy places as opposed to say–Taiwan. However I did manage to find one cool place in Central called PMQ. It is like one hotspot where many design brands, indie bookshops and other craftsmen gather. The bookshops were particularly unique as they carried locally-published books. I got myself 2, the first is a play on Hong Kong film classics and the second the magazine “100毛”, an icon in chinese typography. The title of this issue of “100毛” is pretty controversial, it says “We are yellow skin, black hair but we are not chinese(mainland)”
I went to victoria peak as well, when I got up I realised you need an extra fee for the grand view.
I am a cheapskate so I just got a cheap shot from the sides.