Gasps filled the room last year at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) as “Pink Star” made its entrance. The flawless 59.60-carat diamond held the audience spellbound as the Sotheby’s auction got underway, and when the mallet hit the auctioneer’s block, history had been made. With a bid of HK$553 million (US$71.2 million) by Chow Tai Fook, Pink Star earned the title of the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction.
Headlines of this nature are more traditionally associated with the grand auction houses of New York or Geneva, but for those who’ve been watching the Asian art scene over the past decade – it was only a matter of time before Hong Kong set the record.
With its legacy as a melting pot of cultural influences and position as a modern financial hub, Hong Kong is a natural playground for the new breed of discerning, affluent Asian buyers who are turning their attentions to the sybarite delights of fine art and culture. Hong Kong’s relaxed tax and legal structure has also helped foster this thriving environment and attracted the attention of the global art elites.
Over the past decade, Hong Kong has seen an explosion of art-related events. Coming up at the end of September is Fine Art Asia – Asia’s leading international art fair. Again held in the lofty halls of the HKCEC, the event will attract an eminent group of connoisseurs, dealers, investors and enthusiasts who will explore museum-quality art works spanning over 5,000 years of cultural history, from ancient Chinese bronzes through to contemporary masterpieces.
Virtually every month, in fact, sees some kind of major event, from Art Basel in March through to the Affordable Art Fair in May and Sotheby’s Autumn Show in October. Even if you visit between shows, there are always smaller galleries, exhibits and myriad antique shops full of oriental art to enjoy.
You can also indulge in art while you’re relaxing at your hotel – if you know where to stay. Next door to the HKCEC, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong – one of Asia’s best business hotels – has been highly influenced by the development of the art scene in Hong Kong. During the renovation two years ago, the original concept of a luxurious Art Deco cruise liner was reimagined for the modern traveller: admire the grandeur of the three-storey lobby flanked by marble curvilinear staircases and water features; immerse yourself in the alternative reality of Peter McDonald’s vivid paintings; and bask in John Morford’s zen architecture at Plateau Spa, with specially commissioned photographs and ceramics.
Staying in a suite or grand club room not only gives you access to the Grand Club Lounge for breakfast, cocktails and all day Champagne, but offers a visual feast, with specially curated art pieces set against the stunning Hong Kong skyline. The two Presidential Suites and five Ambassador Suites reflect different personalities, with abstract works from eclectic artists to foster contemplation and reflection.
“There is a natural symbiosis between art and business”, said Cecilia Lo, Executive Assistant Manager – Sales & Marketing of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.
“Some of our guests are serious art investors, while others are successful businessmen who enjoy fine art for its aesthetic beauty. In either case, our proximity to some of the world’s best art fairs combined with our own carefully curated gallery of artworks has naturally helped us develop a community of art enthusiasts”.
Tel: +852 2588 1234