heART and Design: THOMAS HEATHERWICK

“Listen to this music very carefully. This had brought me to tears.” says this guy who sent us out if we talked too much in class; or excluded us in orchestra rehearsals if we didn’t pay as much attention as he required. My mind was searching for the right response to this unsolicited, abrupt confession. How can something essentially non-living move someone so much? If there were words, sure – because words can ultimately kill the heart, isn’t it? But this was an instrumental number.

Several months later, I’d find out missing vowels. Passion.

A few years later, there I was… bawling my eyes out during performances, gasping at crafted objects, and marveling at the complexities that pure talent and passion generate.

However unfortunate, that there are not that much “moving” projects nowadays.

But Thomas Heatherwick is by no means ordinary, neither is he part of the general population. His work elevates him in ways not every man is fortunate enough to achieve.

I have seen his works (albeit most via the web), but having attended his talk the past weekend, and hearing his stories and concepts first-hand was an experience and a learning point beyond what the cyberspace conveys.

Thomas Heatherwick don’t seem to be undaunted by “this vs. that.” His projects merge the specialized zones that the corporate seem to think better subdivided. Strange though it may be, these may be the littlest of objects compared to his architectural work, but these next two creations are by far the most captivating to my artistic soul:

The London Olympic Cauldron.

Heatherwick Studios had tried competing for a larger project but ended up runner up for a couple of times, but this client – the government –  tapped him and asked his assistance to build the Olympic Cauldron. A cauldron? Is it not something the audience barely remembers? And there began the genius machine. Heatherwick Studios, did in fact make the most memorable cauldron in history. It was the biggest secret revealed during the Olympics. Afterwards, it was delivered to the different countries as a token of remembrance.

Let me know if these caused your eyes to involuntarily cascade tears down your cheeks.

Please visit Heatherwick Studios website here.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday Frolics: Tung Lung Chau, Hong Kong

I cannot lie. Sports is one of my greatest weakness. But early this year I was invited to join a camping trip, which because of the given reasons, I bothered to let my excitement make the judgement call. I was promised the hike would only be thirty minutes (It took 3x as much.), and that the view is worth it. The latter, on the other hand, is an understatement. It was very much worth the one and a half our hike. If you are the type, like the rest of the world, who loves getting more than what you paid for, try Tung Lung Chau. NOW. It is the perfect season!

Since it is my first time camping and had no clue about anything- from the basics as to what needs to be brought, to all the apparently savvy camping equipment nowadays… Tung Lung Chau is not a threat. Like most of Hong Kong, it provides convenience. There are three port-a-potties and basins with fresh water, roasting areas are pre-designated, signages to help you navigate, and of course, a family-owned convenient store half an hour walk down the campsite.

Here are some images from an amazing weekend.

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Serenity, calmness and fresh air.

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It seems like an ocean away, but some of us actually hiked up that direction. I, on the other hand, stayed on this side and consoled myself by taking an image for memory’s sake.

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What would you give to have this view everyday?

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A rare site in Hong Kong. A photographer or not, who won’t be captivated by this stunning beauty.

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We ended the night barbecue-ing and eating the last bit of dinner treat.

To get here, we took the route from Yau Tong and crossed the sea via a charming, quaint ferry. Round trip transportation cost no more than HK$100 and food (thanks to an amazing chef we had with us) was less than HK$100 as well! Now, if we had more places like Tung Lung Chau, us non-sporty, weak chested people would be spoiled!

And if those weren’t enough to entice, I’ve been saving the best for last…

Creation at its best. Simply Breathtaking, is it not?

Creation at its best. Simply Breathtaking, is it not?

Visit flickr for more updated images soon.

heART and Design: At Home in Greece

Fact # 1: Greece has been on top of my Europe (wish list) itinerary, primarily for the wonderful sea view. But when I think about their architecture and interior, I always thought I do not relate to them well, as did I with Greek mythology.

Fact # 2: I have always been a heavy sleeper, and bedrooms gave me the ideal of ultimate privacy and sanctuary. On top of innumerable reasons, bedrooms have always been a favorite place of mine- to lounge in and to design.

Fact # 3: I never expected the aforementioned bits could be even more lovelier… together. In her book “At Home in Greece,” Julia Klimi gives us a deeper appreciation for Greece- the scenery, the architecture and of course, interior design.  Purchase the book here for HK readers, and here for international readers.

These are some of my favorite images (focusing on traditional Greek beds):

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It is largely part of my immobility once I hit the bed, but I have always wanted a platform bed- this way, I don’t fall off and my items don’t fall too far down. With this U-shaped platform bed (which I think is meant for sharing), I can literally stay in bed all daaaayyy.

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 With this one, I can even afford to entertain guest in a more “formal” manner.

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Once in my life, I have been a fan of minimalism. At that point, this would have been more than enough to make it to my bedroom wish list.

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Although not a platform bed, this bed still captivates me with its ethereal, flowy cocoon.  And with a cool color tone, I’m amused to say this room looks really warm. 😉

Seeing these invigorated my desire to visit Greece, but now that I have discovered another spectacular destination/recreation, I should make a mental note to not sleep in and enjoy what I originally went for. (That said, of course I will scour the internet for a hole-in-the-wall  B&B!)

Ps. Hi Hong Kong, in case you haven’t already known of this site fishpond.com, they sells books at competitive prices, some even almost 50% off. Most books would be shipped from straight from UK. I just recently purchased a book from them. I’ll see how it goes.

Friday Frolics: Cheung Chau (The Hidden Calm in Hong Kong)

Now, Cheung Chau is really not a hidden gem, but in some ways, it is and I would be selfish if I keep from sharing. I fell in love with Hong Kong for incalculable reasons, and Cheung Chau is on top of the roll. With a beach, a cycling track (and convenient bike rentals around the vicinity), random boutiques, good restaurants, massage parlors, and yet maintain the bucolic character, this is a paradise!

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Taking the fast ferry ($24) from Central, it takes half an hour to reach the island. Ordinary ferry for half the price takes you half longer, but the journey is worth it.

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Cone-shaped domes-it’s an added element for a fresh, quirky surprise.

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For a moment, it went out of my mind that I was in the perpetually busy, smoggy Hong Kong.  For this reason, moving to Cheung Chau might be a practical preference. Monthy ferry tickets are around $300 but flat/room rentals could be as low as $2,500. This is unquestionably something to consider.

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Cars are nowhere to be found, and residents cycle their way up and down. Of course, I got hold of a pink one. $30 for four hours is not bad at all.

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And look at this cute grandpa on training wheels! 🙂

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I know this is far from a Miami view but it somehow reminded me of it.

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This on the other hand reminded me of Canada. This is international living. 😉

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Look at this kid.

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He met new friends. Today, he learned befriending strangers is not always a bad thing.

Last but not the least: food.

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These are a few of what I chucked down. Those variant shaped fruits got me curious- I was a bit disappointed that they were just fruits, from afar they deceived my eyes of ice cream. You might also want to try their fishballs, they are probably seven times larger than the usual… Listing interesting foods would be all too many.

Streets are not only filled with snack vendors, tons of restaurants are all over this tiny island, and it’s not all Cantonese and local cuisines. They have Thai, some Western bisto, and of course, a number of restaurants for what the island popular of: seafood! Hefty amount of seating are available for all tourists without disregarding the locals!

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Spent the whole day there and being bored was not one of the status I have been in. (Why? Shopping is another option! You could even get unique local, and branded souvenir items.)

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Don’t be fooled from the larger part of my musings, Cheung Chau is still a busy suburb- a short proximity away from the pier anyway.

Ps. By the way, they have “hotels” too if you are coveting for a few days of paradise. A line of promotional kiosk would be waiting for you across the pier. 😉

* Images shot with an Iphone. More here.

Delightful Habytation: Sneak Peek

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Sneak peek! Hope this would be one of the images that enthrall you for today. This is one of my most recent and present favorite built project- and currently the only interior I designed in Hong Kong. I am proud of it for too many “whys”! 🙂 (Although, I must say, I should quit talking about getting a tripod and buy myself one sooner than later. It was only after wrapping up and propping to edit that I saw how dire the shots were. 😦 )

Ps. I do freelance designing apart from my full-time job, so if you live in Hong Kong (or even overseas! 😉 ) and are in need of a designer, please drop me an email at habyt.lifestyle@gmail.com.

Pps. The artwork was stolen from Google, please feel free to drop me a line if this is your work. I am so sorry to have used it without permission, it’s irresistible. :p

Friday Frolics: Cheung Sha Beach

Cheung Sha Beach is a less popular beach in Mui Wo, but it definitely is another beach to enjoy if you’re not a fan of whopping crowds. If you’re curious you can either google or read this brief info! 😉

Mui Wo is actually part of Lantau Island.  From Hong Kong Island, it’s accessible within a little more than half an hour taking ferry #6 from Central (there are ferries from outlying island too such as the its sister suburb, Discovery Bay, or from the lovely Cheung Chau), but you can also opt to take the bus that goes to Tung Chung and transfer from there.

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“Sand veins” ?

I find this phenomenon strangely strange- tad creepy and tranquil at the same time.

I find this phenomenon strangely strange- tad creepy and tranquil at the same time.

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Doesn’t he make you a bit jealous? I miss being a kid at the beach.

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Although not part of the beach (it’s up the road within a five minute walk), I wanted to share this image. Passing by, I just couldn’t help but take a quick snap shot of the enchanting scenery. I say “enchanting” because, why not? This is not even edited. Look at how the sunlight touches the leaves and branches. It seemed like I stepped into some sort of fairy tale wonderland.

These are taken during Fall last year. Early Fall, to me, is the best beach weather- a purely random opinion, but it might make you think about when to visit the beach. :p

Have a restful and blessed weekend, everyone!:)

Friday Frolics: Shek-O

I have spent a grueling amount of time away from the beach, but now that summer is in the air, there’s no excuse to lock myself indoors. Shek-O is on top of my beach destinations. It is listed as one of the beaches in Hong Kong, and it is right smack in Hong Kong Island- on the south side, over looking South China Sea. Cost is less than $30 getting to and from there by bus (from the Island’s eastern district) and scrumptious meals are around $35 on the average. This pretty much is the total cost of spending an afternoon there. For miscellaneous necessities like renting a locker, it costs about $50 for three hours, while renting a bike is around $30 for an hour, and a parasol would be $100/day- if I am not mistaken. Various beach items are also sold in nearby shops in case you miss bringing anything. They cost a bit more but, hey, if you’re already there, what practical thing is left to do, right?

I would say it is really refreshing to visit these suburbs of Hong Kong. Such lovely, unexpected escapes considering they could probably be reached in less than an hour’s trip from the polluted, crowded cities. Here are some images to drag you there this summer:

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Went there around June 2012. I’d say it was a nice experience altogether. Water’s clear, obviously. Sand was fine. And on top of that, it was not so crowded, but it was not desolate either.

More of Hong Kong beaches and retreats in the following weeks to come. I am also expecting to read a lot more blogs on beaches around the world as the season’s calling for them. Although, I have to admit, as much as I love the water, I am sad cold season’s over.

Ps. Please excuse my shaky arms, I’m getting a tripod (or sturdier arms) soon!

Pps. Prices are in HKD. Click here  for currency conversions.