Duddell’s co-founder Alan Lo shares his insider’s art guide to Hong Kong

The all-day dining space at the Sou Fujimoto-designed restaurant Potato Head in Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
The all-day dining space at the Sou Fujimoto-designed restaurant Potato Head in Sai Ying Pun
(Image credit: press)

Alan Lo made a name for himself as co-founder of the Classified Group (formerly known as the Press Room Group, and which owns the Classified franchise and The Pawn), Blake’s, and Duddell’s – the latter a firm favourite of Hong Kong’s art crowd and Wallpaper* editors alike.

But perhaps lesser known is the restaurateur and property investor’s role in shaping Hong Kong’s art and design scene. A staunch advocate of local institutions and artists, Lo is optimistic of the city’s increasing reputation as a major global cultural hub and has endeavoured to bring an art-centric bent to all of his projects. (Case in point: Duddell’s boasts a year-round art programme spearheaded by a dedicated art manager.)

Alan Portrait

(Image credit: press)

The avid art collector also serves on a number of rather wordily named government committees, and is chairman of nonprofit organisation Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, a member of Art Basel’s Global Patrons Council as well as a board member of Hong Kong Arts Development Council and Para Site.

With the city’s appetite for the arts reaching fever pitch during Art Basel Hong Kong (29 – 31 March), we asked Lo to share his favourite highlights from around town. Here, in his own words, are the art aficionado’s top five tips...
Potato Head
Potato Head (pictured top) in Sai Ying Pun, from the Potato Head Family, JIA Group and architect Sou Fujimoto, is a green escape in one of my favourite neighbourhoods. It was the Tokyo-based architect’s first project in Hong Kong – his signature style leads and champions the work of the craftsmen from Indonesia. The space is best enjoyed with a conscious cocktail by the group bar manager Tom Edgerton, who is focused on sustainable bartending in a city, where that is hard to execute. Read our review of Potato Head here.

100 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun; tel: 852.2858 6066; www.ptthead.com
Tai Kwun Contemporary
Tai Kwun Contemporary is part of the nonprofit art galleries located in the restored Central Police Station compound. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, this address was previously closed to much of Hong Kong, but in a twist of fate, will now be open to all.

10 Hollywood Road, Central; www.taikwun.hk
Vicky Lau, head chef of Tate Dining Room and Bar
Vicky Lau is a celebrated chef in Asia who in 2015 was named the Best Female Chef at the Asia 50 Best Awards. She graduated from New York University with a degree in graphic communications, and when you see her expressive plating you will understand and agree with the reputation she has worked to achieve for Tate Dining Room and Bar. Read our review of Tate Dining Room and Bar here.

10 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan; tel: 852.2555 2172; www.tate.com.hk


I Was Not Invited, 2018, by Leila Hekmat, colour photograph, various dimensions.  Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin

(Image credit: Sven Gutjahr)

For the first time, Duddell’s will present a site-specific performance piece, I Was Not Invited (The Organ Grinder’s Canto) by Leila Hekmat. Her work speaks to what the founders wanted the venue’s Art Programme to be from its inception in 2013 – a spatial format that is both tangible and intangible, where boundaries could be tested and collaborations between people and projects that excite and intrigue occur. The performance is presented in collaboration with Berlin-based Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi. Read our review of Duddell’s here.

I Was Not Invited (The Organ Grinder’s Canto) runs 30 March – 28 June; Duddell’s, Level 3 Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central; tel: 852.2525 9191; www.duddells.co
Para Site
Para Site is Hong Kong’s leading nonprofit space in Quarry Bay. It is one of Asia’s most active independent art institutions and worthy of support. Its current exhibition, A Beast, A God and A Line (17 March – 20 May) curated by Cosmic Costinas, is woven together by the connections and circulations of ideas and forms defined by the geography of Asia Pacific. The stories date back several historical eras, starting from the early Austronesian world that has a strong maritime reference. Given Hong Kong’s ties to the water, that’s relevant.

22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, 677 King’s Road, Quarry Bay; tel: 852.2517 4620; www.para-site.org.hk