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25 March 2012
Ben McCarthy visits what is possibly Hong Kong’s only dedicated design/art gallery and speaks with its owner, Nicola Borg-Pisani.
Between Hong Kong's oldest street, Hollywood Road, and the city's newest creative hangout, Tia Ping Shan Street, sits ilivetomorrow, arguably the only gallery dedicated to design and art in the bustling metropolis.
Rabbit Duck exhibition
The district, historically known for art galleries, has become increasingly contemporary in recent years with several galleries and boutique retailers adding to the richness of the area.
Biao Biao Cocoon Chair
ilvetomorrow was opened in 2010 by French national Nicola Borg-Pisani, who aims to provide a design platform to rival the prestigious experimental design galleries in Europe.
"Our ambition is to be the counterpoint in Asia with around 50% of Asian designers and 50% from the rest of the world with unique projects and cross collaborations," he explains.
LLOT LLOV exhibition
The current exhibition by Berlin-based design collective LLOT LLOV is a small show of new pieces, and retrospective work from the last 5 years.
Loop chair by Pili Wu
In addition to this, Borg-Pisani directs me to another part of the gallery, to a chair visually crossed between a plastic market stool and a Ming chair, cleverly crafted from solid wood. Loop chair designed by Pili Wu, is part of his LIMITEDunLIMITED brand, which provides highly crafted design pieces but in unnumbered editions.
Human Nature by David Dubois
This presents another large part of Borg-Pisani's vision. He not only commissions design editions destined for gallery spaces, but also produces designers' works with his own craftsmen and suppliers, for LIMITEDunLIMITED.
Fire and Desire by Pili Wu
To help differentiate the two, Borg-Pisani opened Signed-By in 2011, a retail space in the neighboring ground floor shopfront. Signed-By stocks not only LIMITEDunLIMITED objects but many other boutique designs and brands.
Signed-by concept store
"The concept store is a soft transition for the public of more experimental design but also an international hub with over a hundred prestigious labels and designers."
By having a conceptual gallery neighboring the retail space, Borg-Pisani is able to bridge the gap between art dealing and retail, whilst maintaining the purity of his overall objective.
"The vision for the project is to be an international design platform based in Asia," he explains, and with plans underway to open a new space in Mainland China this year, he's well on the way.