Hong Kong, now part of modern China, is in a constant search of its own identity; from humble beginnings as a community of fishing villages, to a refuge for immigrants, an international trading port and lastly a British Colony until July 1997. After two decades of returning the territories to China, the struggle intensifies and the silent competition with Shanghai ‘the Grande Dame’, has redefined the new face of Hong Kong.
With renewed dynamism, creative forces are changing the oversaturated touristic scene that Hong Kong has sometimes been labelled with. Sophisticated consumers and concentrations of wealth have repositioned Hong Kong as a powerful magnet for restaurateurs, designers, artists and visionaries, who have reshaped the city’s contemporary landscape.
Away from the bright lights and sea of skyscrapers, boutique business Hotel Icon opened in 2011 across the harbour, on the Kowloon side – Tsim Sha Tsui. Owned by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s hospitality school, students serve as interns at this local hotelier, allowing for the influence of the young and experimental. However, this hotel’s iconic identity was created by local artists as well as by world- famous interior designers and architects.
Rocco Yim oversaw the hotel’s architectural design with an all-glass exterior for dramatic panoramic views of Victoria Harbour on every floor. William Lim designed the contemporary interiors, including the guestrooms, the Silverbox ballroom and the lobby’s grand sweeping staircase. Fashion doyenne Vivienne Tam also contributed to the project. An ex-graduate of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Tam designed ICON’s exclusive Designer Suite by Vivienne Tam, which reflects the artist’s signature look of contemporary chic elegance.
The confluence of art and design is also evident in the vast artwork selection. Renowned Hong Kong designer Freeman Lau curated the hotel’s eclectic collection. The hotel currently houses works of art by some of Asia’s best talents, including Cheung Yee, Kan Tai-Keung, Nancy Chu Woo, Hung Keung, Pauline Lam, William Furniss, John Fung, Chow Chun Fai, Tsang Chui Mei and Terence Lee. It’s like being in a hotel and an art gallery all at once, where you can take the elevator to any floor and view carefully selected art pieces from the best artists displayed in each elegant corridor.