New Shopping Mall in Hong Kong Doubles as an Art Museum—And it Took 10 Years to Complete

Courtesy K11

Welcome to the era of the “art mall.”

It’s not exactly a secret that brick-and-mortar stores are having a hard time competing with the ever-rising popularity of e-commerce, not just in the U.S., but in other countries around the world, too. One man, though, may have found a pretty creative way to bring people back to shopping malls by blending together culture and shopping. Chinese property developer Adrian Cheng just opened the world’s first “art mall” in Hong Kong’s Victoria dockside that was ten years in the making.

Courtesy K11

The K11 Musea shopping center spans an impressive 1.2 million square feet over ten floors designed by an architecture team led by Kohn Pedersen Fox—the company behind New York City’s Hudson Yards development. Its terraced facade is clad in Portuguese limestone and features plenty of greenery—nature and sustainability are an essential element of the K11 brand.

Courtesy K11

Inside, more than 100 creatives collaborated to make the space an architectural masterpiece. In the center of it all is the Gold Ball, a multidimensional glass installation that doubles up as an exhibition and event space, located in the main atrium of the mall—the Opera Theater. Its design, conceived by UK-based lighting design studio Speirs + Major (they have also worked on Giorgio Armani’s Fifth Avenue store as well as Beijing International Airport among other projects), features the installation of 1,800 lights sprinkled between swaths of copper-hued aluminum panels.

Dino Zarafonitis/Courtesy K11

Each floor has designated exhibition spaces where works of art are displayed allowing visitors to enjoy museum-quality art while shopping. In fact, K11 Musea now holds one of Hong Kong’s largest collections of public art. Last month, for example, the shopping center hosted an immersive audio-visual experience, The Sonata, inspired by Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos.

Hanging out at the mall just got a whole lot more fun (and high brow).