The Chinese Library
In Hong Kong’s newly opened Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, restaurants Statement and The Chinese Library celebrate the building’s history
The long-awaited Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, formerly Hong Kong’s Central Police Station, is finally open to the public after extensive restoration. The Hong Kong public have been eagerly awaiting the opening and are arriving in hoards to check out the city’s latest cultural and lifestyle destination. And what would a lifestyle hub in Hong Kong be without a few new restaurants?
Of note is Statement and The Chinese Library, both run by Aqua group, situated on Hollywood road facing the Police Headquarters block. Aside from the historic architectural features, the building is flanked by parallel verandas — facing both Hollywood Road and the inner courtyard or ‘Parade Square’ — providing outdoor space that is nothing short of a rarity in Hong Kong.
Guests enter via The Dispensary, reminiscent of a Colonial-era bar and inspired by the mixed-race mess hall that once existed there in the early 1900’s, and take a left to dine on Hong Kong-style cuisine at The Chinese Library, or turn right for its English counterpart, Statement. The concept for the space, says designer Ed Ng of the interior design firm AB Concept who were charged with the interiors, was to represent the story and the journey of Hong Kong.
Retaining as many of the original features was a priority, Ng says. The wooden floors and window frames were left untouched, allowing guests to better envisage the original space. The venue’s original function inspired many of the details too — mirrors and decoration take the form of police officers’ badges, while the royal blue colour was inspired by police uniforms.
Like many cities, Hong Kong and its citizens are always keen to see and be seen in the newest and hottest places. What makes this venue so unique and unusual is its location in one of Hong Kong’s few remaining heritage buildings and one which Ng, a Hongkonger born and raised, believes is one of its most iconic.
Text / Suzy Annetta
Images / Courtesy of Aqua Group