Here are the reasons why you need to visit Tai Kwun
Tai Kwun is the new attraction that used to be Hong Kong’s law enforcement complex in the Central district.
After eight years of restoration, the brand new cultural hub Tai Kwun has finally opened its doors on 29 May 2018.
The name Tai Kwun （大馆）means “big station” in Chinese, which is a colloquial name used by police officers and public alike to refer to the former law enforcement complex, located in Central, Hong Kong, which is now turned into a cultural hub.
The restoration plan was started up by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, in partnership with the government of the Hong Kong SAR and the restoration saw a total of HK $3.8 billion spent, which was all sponsored by Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Officially named “Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts”, the centre – with its first phase now opened to the public – offers a medley of contemporary art and performing art programmes for all.
And here’s why you need to pay it a visit now:
Reason #1: Tai Kwun is a heritage gem
Occupying over 300,000 square feet. of space, Tai Kwun used to be the Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria prison.
Playing such monumental roles in the past, Tai Kwun is probably one of the most prominent heritage sites of Hong Kong.
Now, it has been transformed into a new historical attraction for both locals and tourists alike, with 16 restored historical buildings as well as two additional new buildings designed by Swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron.
Reason #2: A place rife with arts
Tai Kwun aims to be an art hub where it provides a non-commercial creative platform for the artists to share their passion.
Tai Kwun Contemporary is the place to be if you are into art exhibitions and programmes as it plans to organise six to eight exhibitions a year to bring different creative contents to its visitors. All these will be housed under the museum-standard galleries, designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
One of the exhibitions to visit is the “100 Faces of Tai Kwun”, which started on 29 May and will last until 2 September. Here, you will get to know the stories of 100 Hongkongers who spent their days at Central Police Station during its heyday.
Accompanying the opening of Tai Kwun is also the inaugural exhibition dubbed “Dismantling the Scaffold” which happens now until 15 August 2018. It features works from both local and international artists under the theme of socialism and civilisation.
The inaugural exhibition sheds light on various issues such as social participation, commodification, exclusion and confinement, and others – that happened in public and private spheres.
Reason #3: A home to performing arts
Contemporary art aside, Tai Kwun is also the hub for performing arts, where it cultivates the appreciation of the art.
To achieve that, Tai Kwun curates several seasons of entertainment to offer the visitors different facets of Tai Kwun. It includes theatre season in July 2018; dance season, from mid-September to late October 2018; and special-themed season, in December 2018.
For classic film lovers, especially those who fancy crime and legal genres, you have to check out the HKIFF Cine Fan.
Happening at JC Cube every month, these inaugural programmes presented by Cine Fan will feature classic films of law and order including The Killer (1989, starring Chow Yun-fat) and The French Connection (1971, starring Gene Hackman).
Not only that, you also get to watch Ingmar Bergman’s films as Tai Kwun celebrates the late Swedish master film maker’s centenary retrospective.
Reason #4: Food and Shopping paradise
You will also find plenty of delectable restaurants here at Tai Kwun. Among those, there are three we found most intriguing: Café Claudel, a Parisian cafe to savour classic French food and immerse yourself in an authentic Parisian atmosphere; LockCha Tea House, a Chinese tea house that serves healthy tea sourcing directly from farms; and MaoMao Eat, a local tea house serving authentic Hong Kong pastries.
In addition to that, there are several soon-to-be opened restaurants await you including Dragonfly, a swanky restaurant designed by Ashley Sutton; hc: Bistro, a casual dining place where you can enjoy foods, art and music; and Madame Fu, a restaurant comprising a mix of Hong Kong’s colonial architecture and European cafe’s grandeur.
The best way to complete your visit at Tai Kwun is to pop in the shops nestled inside Tai Kwun, be it Bonart, a terrarium concept store which you can immerse yourself with beautiful green plants; Harrison Wong, a place to reward yourself some designer’s clothes; or Loveramic, a shop where you can hunt for modern ceramics as souvenirs.