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PMQ, Hong Kong

Bringing together a community of designers

Bringing together a community of designers

Tracey Pollard

After a few days in Hong Kong it was a welcome relief to stumble on the PMQ building, which offers a stark contrast to the international retail brands which dominate most of the retail in the City. The Grade III historic building was the former married quarters for the Hong Kong police force and had laid empty since 2000 until it was reborn as the PMQ, a 7 floor studio complex for designers. Fostering collaboration between Hong Kong’s young entrepreneurs and encouraging cross fertilisation, the design hub aims to raise public awareness of local designers by providing a site which allows them to build their brand in a central location.
Located on the corner of Aberdeen Street and Hollywood Road, the building was originally developed in 1951 to house police officers and their families, its architecture reflects a period of functional, minimal and cost effective design. It now houses 130 design studios approximately 450 sq. ft. each. Alongside the studios, are shops, restaurants, a library, exhibition space, a roof top garden and numerous outdoor gathering spaces. With tenants opening their doors to the public from 1-8pm, spaces for pop-ups, a strong events programme and night markets, the PMQ can drive a much higher footfall than locations which traditionally attracted Hong Kong's up and coming designers.
The breadth of uses really inspired me from fashion and accessories, to homeware, interiors and gifts. The continual art programmes, design services and workshops means it was more than a tourist location but draws the local design conscious to take part in workshops, roundtables and focus groups on topical issues.  PMQ was once a residential community and is now a community of designers, bringing new life and energy to such a central part of Hong Kong.