Love - PMQ - Hong Kong

Last month, I visited Hong Kong for the first time. We were only there for three days but we had a wonderful time exploring the city and eating way too many dim sum! One of my favourite places was the PMQ centre. The complex is located at the junction of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road in central. Walking up the steep hill on Aberdeen street, its not until you arrive at the entrance that you notice the buildings, tucked away amongst the city high rises. It gives the feeling of entering an oasis of calm, away from the busyness of the city that surrounds it on all sides.

PMQ in Central, Hong Kong

The PMQ site has an unusual history. From 1889, it was a public school, the first in Hong Kong. After World Ward 2, the site was rebuilt to house the Police Marriage Quarters, hence the name PMQ. Then in 2010 it was reopened as a creative centre.

The complex is made up of two seven storey buildings that are joined by a garden/walkway in the centre. Its jam packed with a variety of design and fashion stores and studios from both local and international designers, as well as a few cafes and pop up stores.

One of my favourite shops that I visited at PMQ was Coney & Co. They sell unique handmade jewellery with a vintage feel. While I was there, I bought a delicate pair of flower earrings with coral coloured beads. I love their simple and elegant design and I've got quite a few compliments when I've worn them. They're very light and comfortable to wear and came in a cute mint-coloured felt jewellery bag. The store itself has a lovely cosy atmosphere. It felt a bit like being transported in time to a 19th century house with the jewellery displayed in antique cabinets. I definitely want to come back to this store!

Another shop I really loved was Blck Sheep Empire. I bought two pairs of super cute shoes there. Having a slight obsession with pandas (actually kind of a big obsession..), I had no choice but to get these panda shoes! They're really fun to wear and a little bit whimsical too. I also bought a red and mint-green pair with floral print. They're actually covered in upholstery fabric which I think works really well as a shoe covering. I like the little gold metallic detail on the heels too!

The shoes I bought from Blck Sheep Empire

While I was there, I had a nice time chatting to the designers and creators of the brand, Jen Webb and her partner Jac C. Jen is from Australia and studied graphic design like me. I think it takes a lot of skill, passion and determination to run your own business so I find it really inspiring to see young designers like Jen and Jac C getting their work out into the world. It makes wearing these shoes all the more special!

In the Darkness

Lisa and me at her exhibition

Last week, I was lucky enough to see the latest exhibition of the very talented contemporary jeweller Liisa Hishimoto. She was at the gallery in Osaka when I visited so I had a chance to talk to her about her work. 

"In the Darkness" is a series of wearable sculptural pieces that I think look as lovely when worn on the body as they do in the exhibition. Inspired by equipment found in children's playgrounds, her works are both playful and a little somber.

Liisa used a variety of materials such as silver, brass and copper to create her intricately soldered pieces. Many of them are finished in a soft blue-grey acrylic paint. I particularly love this necklace/brooch (left) - you can wear it both ways!!! - as well as these playful earrings (right) which rock back and forth when you touch them. Not just fun to wear but fun to play with!

There is something a little magical and mysterious about the space Liisa creates between her work and the viewer. I like the way that her pieces are presented - on coffee stained boxes (also hand made by Liisa). Delicate line drawings peak out from the edges of the boxes along with snippets of quotes like echoes or memories from childhood. 

La Galerie

The exhibition is currently being held at La Galerie [Glan Fabrique] in Osaka. The building is a traditional Japanese house that's been converted into a gallery and cafe. Inside, exposed wooden beams give the space a slightly dark and cosy atmosphere that suits the theme of the exhibition.

I love the attention to detail that Liisa shows in the display of her work so that everything comes together to complement the jewellery - from the graphics to the display plinths and the delicate metal frames she makes for her pieces to rest on. When displayed like this, the jewellery casts beautiful shadows that look like line drawings come to life.

Liisa opens her studio space in Osaka once a month so I'd really recommend a visit if you want to see more of her work. (This was where I first met her). You can find out more information on her websiteblog or Facebook page.

For her next series, Liisa said she's planning to explore some different techniques and ideas - a bit of a departure from her current work. I'm really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with!