5 Happening Cultural Destinations to Visit in 2019
There’s never really a sleepy year to visit Hong Kong, but 2019 is particularly ripe for visitors. Spearheaded by the dynamic entrepreneur Adrian Cheng of K11 and New World Development, the rejuvenation of Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront is just the starting point. The city’s iconic harbourside walkway, Avenue of Stars , has just received a much-awaited makeover that’s the brainchild of Cheng and visually conceived by James Corner, the landscape architect responsible for the High Line in New York. It sees the addition of design-driven rest areas, kiosks featuring homegrown brands, hand prints from Asian film stars and interactive digital elements. Featuring Hong Kong’s first wave energy demonstrator that produces electricity for the Avenue, the place is turned into one of the most sustainable promenades in Hong Kong. This is just one part of Cheng and his company’s grander urban revitalisation plan, Victoria Dockside, a new art and design district which will fully open in the third quarter of this year that has been transformed from a go-down terminal, and will include the flagship museum-cum-retail complex K11 MUSEA, luxury residences K11 ARTUS and the already functioning K11 ATELIER modern workplace, as well as the most hotly anticipated global hotel opening of the year, the Rosewood Hong Kong . This urban bolthole will feature a mix of short-stay rooms and suites and long-stay residences, alongside eight F&B outlets and a wellness offering. A little further afield, the long-awaited Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ building in West Kowloon Cultural District is set to open its doors, and visitors will finally be able to set foot in one of the world’s best museums for modern and contemporary art.
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The Danish capital has become a mecca for foodies, but there’s lots happening in Copenhagen this year that isn’t related to gastronomy (unless you have a taste for bamboo). The Copenhagen Zoo will this year welcome a duo of pandas to its custom-built Panda House, a yin-yang shaped enclosure that’s being designed by starchitect Bjarke Ingels, who worked on the newly reopened Noma. He’s also involved in another big-ticket opening across town, an ambitious green project called Copenhill that will be a sustainable waste-to-energy plant, but also include a rooftop artificial ski slope and the world’s tallest climbing wall. Reinvention is truly the name of the game in Copenhagen, where Enigma, a “museum of communication”, will be fully unveiled since its move into a shared post-office space. Originally an archive featuring artefacts like old telephones, it’s now an institution that explores the meaning of digital communication through formats ranging from intellectual debates to robot rentals for kids. Of course, don’t forget to put Noma 2.0 on your list, too.
The emirate just 20 minutes from Dubai is hosting the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial come November through February of 2020, with claims to be “first major platform for architecture and urbanism in the Middle East, North and East Africa, and South and Southeast Asia”. If you can’t wait that long, from 7 March till 10 June the Sharjah Biennial is exploring the theme of producing art in an era of fake news. This month, Sharjah is hosting the IWAS World Games, one of the most important qualifier events in the run-up to the Paralympics. The hospitality scene is also ramping up – recent launches include the stunning luxury conservation project Al Bait and the safari-style eco-lodge Kingfisher Lodge, with two more major new builds set for completion this year: Al Badayer Oasis, situated some 40 minutes from the city centre, is described as a luxury desert adventure, while Fossil Rock Lodge is set in an archaeologically significant area for adventure and exploration.
The city is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall on November 9, and there will be a plethora of events in the run-up to that date, from historical exhibitions to artistic interpretations and of course, parties that celebrate nothing more than the spirit of freedom since the symbolic structure fell. While the opening Bauhaus Festival was last month, there are plenty of other happenings throughout the year that will celebrate the German university that had such an enduring global influence on art and architecture. The Humboldt Forum is also opening in the reconstructed Berlin Palace right in the heart of the city, and will house the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art. Touted as the German equivalent of the British Museum, it will be an important addition to Berlin’s already thriving cultural scene, and will focus on showcasing Berlin’s role in the world arena.
The museum on the tip of everyone’s lips this year in L.A will be the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, paying homage to the industry this city is best known for: filmmaking. Pritzker Prize winner Renzo Piano has the honour of designing the structure, which will be unveiled in late 2019, and debut exhibitions will include a retrospective of the work of Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese filmmaker behind Totoro and Spirited Away . The hotel scene is also hot – the Park Hyatt is landing in DTLA, while Palihotel opened a hotel in Culver City last month and will add a boutique property in hipster Silverlake later this spring. On the food front, mod-Mex maestro and Final Table judge Enrique Olvera, whose restaurant Pujol is number 20 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, is introducing his first West coast restaurant this summer in the Arts District.
Writer: Christina Ko
Hong Kong-based writer and editor Christina has covered the luxury scene for over a decade. She writes on topics ranging from beauty and wellness to arts and culture. Formerly the editorial director of Prestige Hong Kong, she now contributes to various publications including Hong Kong Tatler, SCMP, Discovery and Silverkris, as well as working with clients such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Estee Lauder and Lane Crawford.
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