Shopping malls are intrinsic to daily life in the Philippines—almost a culture in itself, everywhere you look there’s always one present, sometimes two different malls are just a few minutes away from one another, and in some instances, just built right beside. Shopping malls serve as one-stop shops for anything you would want or need; buying groceries, paying bills, eating out, or watching movies—it’s a mix of essential and recreational.
In Hong Kong, however, while retaining their being multi-purpose centers for entertainment, lifestyle, and everything in between, malls there are not like what we’re used to; they’re not built just to contain lines and lines of shops and restaurants. No, the very act of going to one is an experience in itself, one that goes beyond mindless consumerism.
Following is a list of malls that I encountered on a recent visit that I believe challenge our very notion of what shopping malls can and should be, places you should also check out on your next vacation there.
Harbour City & Ocean Terminal Deck
Located alongside Victoria Harbour, Harbour City is widely regarded as the largest mall in Hong Kong. A one-stop shopping paradise with over 450 shops, 90 food & beverage outlets, an art gallery, an observatory deck, three hotels, and a cruise terminal all under one roof, Harbour City makes complete use of its immense size, garnering recognition as one of the major attractions in Hong Kong.
Beyond shops, stalls, and restaurants, aspects it has more than enough of, Harbour City utilizes its location alongside Victoria Harbour to deliver a view unlike any other. On the Ocean Terminal Deck which was designed by Foster + Partners, an internationally renowned architecture firm, visitors are privy to a 270-degree panorama of Victoria Harbour overlooking Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Aside from that, they also frequently integrate art with their space, delivering unique sights both inside and out.
The beagle, the penguin, the rabbit, and the sea turtle, four of the eight animals featured in Italian Collective Cracking Art’s recently concluded public art exhibition. Made from regenerated plastic, the display hopes to bring attention to the close relationship between what is natural and what is artificial, all while initiating a discussion on recycling, sustainability, and environmental conservation | Harbour City
Harbour City is located at 3 – 27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Open from 10 am – 10 pm (Monday – Sunday)
Honoring the legacy and history of the past while recognizing the need to innovate and adjust in accordance with the changing times, the Central Market is one of Hong Kong’s oldest wet markets around. Originally built in 1939, and ceasing operations in 2003, the city’s Urban Renewal Authority for Revitalisation sought its restoration for the sake of both heritage conservation and commercial viability.
“Our goal for the reimagination of the Central Market is a future-proof space that changes and develops over time, reflecting the evolving desires and interests of its diverse users,” speaks Donald Choi, Executive Director and CEO of property developer Chinachem Group that led the restoration effort. Keeping true to their promise of safeguarding the essence of the central market, its original structure was mostly unchanged, and its red brick walls and the hanging clock of the grand staircase were kept.
Having walked its very halls, it’s hard to believe that it truly was once a wet market. More mini shopping mall instead, the three-story 11,330-square-meter landmark is packed with a number of booths, from food stalls at its dining ground to shops selling must-have souvenirs and home items on the second and third floors.
The Central Market is located at 93 Queen’s Road Central and 80 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong.
‘A Muse by the Sea,’ K11 Musea which stands along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, beside the likes of the Avenue of Stars and the Victoria Dockside, strikes the balance between culture and retail. Built by Adrian Cheng together with 100 Creative Powers, a collective consisting of more than 100 international architects, artists, and designers, K11 Musea houses a collection of contemporary art and architecture that draws inspiration from nature and its connection to society.
Integrating art and design with their space, while some of the works present in K11 Musea are strictly for display, these do not act like installations that guests feel like they have to navigate around; sore thumbs that stick out and noticeably do not naturally belong. Instead, as if inside an art gallery where the art has magically jumped out of the frame, K11 Musea in its entirety is the display itself, making for a unique experience where art and culture complement retail.
K11 Musea is located at Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Header image courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)