Retail in Asia


Consumer brands and collectors descend on Hong Kong’s Art Week festivities

The banner event of Hong Kong’s annually held Art Week, Art Basel Hong Kong, took place from March 28 to 30 and concluded with resounding success marked by significant sales and a diverse crowd of buyers and arts enthusiasts from around the world, according to its organisers.

This year was Art Basel Hong Kong’s 11th edition and offered a return to its full-scale format following pandemic-time editions, becoming its largest show since 2019. The event featured 242 leading galleries from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East.

SEE ALSO: Christie’s Asia Pacific president Francis Belin weighs in on APAC’s luxury market, as new, younger buyers sustain collecting

Source: Art Basel

Organisers said the event attracted an impressive turnout, with over 75,000 visitors from around the world attending the VIP and public days.

As in previous editions, consumer brands partnered with the fair to attract VIP clientele as well as the general public, with booths from The Macallan, Ruinart, Nespresso and BMW.

Source: Art Basel

Despite reports of a ‘cooling’ art market and economic challenges in countries such as China, an increasingly important market for fine art, a number of powerhouse galleries such as Hauser & Wirth and White Cube reported significant sales.

“We are observing a shift in the luxury market away from goods purchases towards spending more on ‘having fun’ – leisure travel, entertainment, and socialising,” said Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “Art is so much more than possessing physical objects – and the events, experiences, and social networks associated with collecting should provide support for the sector.”

Source: Art Basel

Another cornerstone event of Hong Kong Art Week, Art Central returned to its harbourfront location from March 28 to 31, with a VIP preview on March 27.

The fair’s creative platform spanned traditional art forms as well as performances and partner programmes, supported by the Mega Arts and Cultural Events Fund under the Culture, Sports, and Tourism Bureau of the Hong Kong government.

Source: Eric Hong/Art Central

Art Central said over 41,000 local and international visitors flocked to the fair, which joined forces with Hong Kong-based Black Sheep Restaurants to introduce five dining concepts at the outdoor dining terrace of the event. Additionally, Soho House Hong Kong played host to an exclusive bar within the exhibition space.

Source: Eric Hong/Art Central

“I believe Hong Kong is a powerful arts hub because of the genuine and cosmopolitan people who live here, and their deep understanding of the world over time. Hong Kong has eyes for upcoming artists,” said a gallerist at Art Central, Lee Ji Won of PNC Gallery in Daegu, South Korea.

Joining the city-wide festivities were brands such as jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels, which mounted a collaboration alongside Hongkong Land’s upscale Landmark mall, with spring-themed installations by acclaimed French artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet, recipient of Van Cleef & Arpels’ prestigious Grand Prix Design Parade Toulon in 2017.

Van Cleef & Arpels’s spring installations at Landmark, Central. Source: Hongkong Land

Launched to coincide with Arts Month, the spring-themed installations are on view from March 20 to April 28.

SEE ALSO: The debrief: Hong Kong’s prospects as a luxury hub

Another brand that leveraged the art events was La Prairie, which unveiled a brand experience during Art Basel Hong Kong to launch of its Skin Caviar Eye Lift product.

La Prairie has launched a pop-up art exhibition and cafe, open from March 30 to April 7. The beauty brand commissioned street artist Wong Ting Fung to create artworks inspired by La Prairie’s signature blue shade and Hong Kong’s art scene, on show at the pop-up alongside savoury caviar egg creations by French chef Cédric Grolet.