The entrance to Mount Pavilia, New World Development’s latest residential project, might be one of the most unusual places we’ve visited in Hong Kong. A shining white fortress — what looks like a world-class museum of sorts — stands in the midst of thick tropical forest along a busy Clearwater Bay road, shared with village houses and bus stops. It’s nicely tucked within its own tree-lined expanse of land, and if you weren’t paying attention, you might even miss the turn — only catching the sheer whiteness of its entrance at the corner of your eye.
Conceived by avid art lover Adrien Cheng Chi-kong (GM of New World Development and founder of K11 Art Foundation) as part of his ‘Artisanal Movement’ projects all across the city, Mount Pavilia is not your average apartment complex. In a continuous effort to close the gap between art exhibition spaces and the spaces that we live in, Cheng has turned to the well loved sculpture park concept popularised in the 80s in conceptualising Mount Pavilia, bringing “sculpture park living” to Hong Kong for the very first time.
With greenery mixed with art everywhere you look, England’s Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Japan’s Hakone Open-Air Museum come to mind, as large scale sculptures are dotted across the lush grounds of Mount Pavilia, complemented by sleek landscaping and well-thought-out interactive play areas for children and families.
Fashioned in white concrete blocks and glass, the first building you see — The White Yard — absolutely gleams on a summer’s day. Planned as a clubhouse and retail complex, the building was designed by Minsuk Cho, the celebrated Seoul-based architect who won the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale Golden Lion Award.
On the ground floor, a newly opened Feather & Bone cafe serves residents and neighbours alike, while the deli and wine store upstairs provides gourmet groceries and conveniences. The community space is complemented further by Chi K11 Art Space, the fine art gallery’s newest location in Clearwater Bay, adding to its other locations at K11 Art Mall and in Sheung Wan. Here, massive sculptures and installations can be displayed — during our visit, we spotted the likes of John Baldessari and Alex Prager adorning its walls. Also coming up on 2 September is a group show ‘The Garden’ curated by Enoch Cheng.
Across the grounds, you’ll find four major commissioned works by international sculptors, all themed around ‘Home and Family.’ Jean-Michel Othoniel’s ‘Infinite Ripples’ is the piece that welcomes you onto the property at the entrance with a silver manifestation of calm. Studying the movement of water droplets after a splash, his metallic beadlike sculpture conveys this while also following the trajectory of the infinity symbol.
In a seemingly forgotten rose garden, you’ll find Tatiana Trouvé’s ‘Waterfall’ — a bronze mattress drapes languidly over a concrete hedge, while a thin trickle of water slowly seeps into the ground, barely noticeable, but a subtle reminder of the passing of time.
Near the 17,000-sq.-ft. children’s adventure area — complete with the white jungle gym and playground designed by Amsterdam-based kids facility experts Carve Studio — Chinese artist Gao Weigang has created a harmonious meeting place formed by marble blocks on the green. It’s a place where art lovers can sit and chat, or even hop across and tumble through. Titled ‘Blocks of Home,’ it’s part-kids’ building blocks, part-Stonehenge.
For a similar sense of conviviality, Hong Kong artist Kum Chi-keung’s ‘Uncaged Spaces’ is the literal apple of Mount Pavilia’s eye. Playing with his iconic birdcage motif, he transforms a Granny Smith apple, with a slice cut out lying on its side, into something you can sit in. It’s a surreal piece that encourages the broadening of imaginations and experiences. It’s all the more heartfelt when you imagine children and teenagers growing up with these pieces forming the backdrop of their formative years.
The White Yard itself gleams because of its unique white brick facade, with an undulating mesh-like design that allows insiders to peek out, and curious pedestrians to maybe get a glimpse inwards. On one wall facing the central gardens, passionfruit vines have been planted in the hopes that they will eventually hang gracefully over the walls. When you’re standing under cover here, it’s positively cooling thanks to the light material used for construction.
The motif continues down the stairs into the clubhouse itself, a luxurious space defined by a long, clean white corridor with doors that lead into a sophisticated-looking kids’ indoor playground also by Carve Studio, designed to develop children’s eight different mental, social and physical intelligences. This culminates at the end of the corridor in an echoing, dome-shaped basketball court — rendered again in Cho’s unique white concrete blocks. It’s almost too clean to want to play in.
Flanking the corridor is a large private event space that overlooks the 36-metre outdoor pool, the nucleus of the entire property. Here, the fluidity of the long space and bright natural light offered by the floor-to-ceiling glass seamlessly connects the outdoors with indoors.
Where space and greenery are typically lacking in a Hong Kong residence, you’ll find both in excess within the grounds of Mount Pavilia, which span an impressive 345,000 sq. ft. of landscaped area and clubhouse. As for the residences themselves, spread across 21 towers are one to four-bedroom units, as well as six separate low-rise blocks for duplexes and triplexes (named ‘collectables’), totalling to 680 homes. Some duplexes also get private pools, while triplexes can enjoy a private rooftop.
To get around Mount Pavilia, beyond the option of walking, residents can rent bikes, taking advantage of the 950m-long cycling trail. There’s also a 400m jogging path and 100m art appreciation path, which should make for a nice evening stroll. To encourage eco-appreciation, a lot of care was taken to make sure the species of shrubbery and trees can be sustained throughout the year. There are also specially designed areas dedicated to aquaponic and hydroponic species, with educational tours offered for families. In another area, planters are available for residents to grow their own organic crops. But with so much greenery, there’s a surprising lack of mosquitos and insect pests, thanks to hidden repellent devices.
Up on the rooftops, you’ll spot graceful wind turbines twirling next to solar panels, which are used to power the elevator lobbies. As such, the entire Mount Pavilia project has been listed a green building under the BEAM Plus certification by the Hong Kong Green Building Council.
A day at Mount Pavilia can be spent barbecuing, cycling, watching kids run and climb up the white towering jungle gym, or even reflecting on your day sitting on a renowned artist’s work or simply appreciating the verdant surrounds. It’s safe to say those who choose to live this life — and particularly the little ones who get to grow up here — are very fortunate indeed.
Mount Pavilia, 663 Clearwater Bay Road, Clearwater Bay, Hong Kong, +852 8332-2233