A year after Holland artist Florentijn Hofman sailed his mega Rubber Duck sculpture into Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong is in for another Dutch treat.
The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority has tapped the Netherlands-based UNStudio to design Lyric Theater, a 1,200-seat facility for performing arts that is due for completion by 2019.
Along with local architect Bernard Lim’s AD+RG, UNStudio aims to come up with a truly world-class venue for performing arts from Asia and around the world, and serve as a platform for local events in dance, theater and music.
UNStudio, which designed the Mercedes Benz Museum (Stuttgart, Germany), Theater Agora (Lelystad, Netherlands) and MUMUTH Music Theater (Graz, Austria), set up its office in Shanghai in 2010, where it also helped Shui On Land’s Xintindi installation earlier this year.
Lyric Theater, which will be the third venue dedicated for performance arts after Freespace and Xiqu Center, sits at the western end of the West Kowloon cultural district alongside museum M+, which was designed by Swiss architect Herzog & de Meuron.
Louis Yu Kwok-lit, executive director of performing arts at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, said: “There are many similarities between Hong Kong and Holland, not the least of which is that both are sea-friendly jurisdictions that produced many great innovations. I am really looking forward to the happy co-operation with UNStudio.”
Meanwhile, the search for design and innovation has extended further to Scandinavia on Tuesday when Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying paid an official visit to Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
“A major focus of my visit to Sweden is to learn more about the development of innovation, creative and technology industries in Sweden and the opportunity for further collaboration with Hong Kong,” said Leung, who was accompanied by Swedish-born M+ executive director Lars Nittve.
“These are among the priority issues on my government’s agenda. Sweden has achieved a competitive advantage in these sectors.”
The West Kowloon Cultural District, one of the most scrutinized infrastructure projects in Hong Kong, aims to become Asia’s answer to Broadway or East End as part of the city’s efforts to become a truly cosmopolitan metropolis and financial center.
However, the delay in the construction of a high-speed rail link in West Kowloon, and, more importantly, the budget shortfall affecting the completion of its 17 arts and cultural venues, have hampered the creation of the arts hub.
The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority will give its latest financial and construction report to legislators on May 28.
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