hong kong: pmq opening

© pmq / photography: albert poon

hong kong's pmq - short for police married quarters - is a 1950s bauhaus-style compound in the heart of the city's central district. originally the site of the so-called central school - the first government school to provide upper primary and secondary western education to the public, and which marked a new phase in the development of public education in the former british crown colony - the school was severely damaged during world war II and was eventually demolished to make way for the apartment complex as it's known today, providing accommodation for hong kong's married rank and file police officers. the buildings were vacated in 2000 and it took a little while to give it a new purpose. after an extensive two-year conservation and revitalisation scheme, pmq has now officially reopened as the city's new creative hub with a highly ambitious set-up.

by setting up pmq, the local government aims to increase appreciation of the value created by design and innovation, while also raising the profile of hong kong's high-quality brands in the international market. the land and buildings remain property of the local government, but pmq's entrepreneurial structure has been forged by stanley chu, lawrence fung and leong ka-chai, a savvy business trio with a successful track record of urban projects. the old apartments in the complex have been converted into more than 100 small, affordable spaces to be used by a tightly curated number of creative companies, art galleries, artisans, boutiques and restaurants.

in contrast with hong kong's usually steep rental fees, the ones here have been kept low for the coming two years. but tenants are expected to maintain an open-door policy for the public and stay open seven days a week as to emphasize pmq's new status as a creative hub rather than an ordinary retail mall. the venue has created quite a buzz in the city, while syncing its activities with the influential and recently held art basel hong hong event, it has also garnered considerable international attention too. next to the services, activities and offerings of its tenants, pmq features a rotating programme of art installations and events on its premises. location: 35 aberdeen street [central].

© pmq / photography: albert poon