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New Tai Hang gallery The Shophouse introduces unconventional art within historic walls

In late May 2020, creative consultancy Unveiled Limited announced the opening of The Shophouse, a new exhibition space in Tai Hang — but it’s no run-of-the-mill white cube gallery.

Looking like an otherworldly transplant in the midst of tranquil Tai Hang, the five-storey space is housed in a Grade III listed pre-WWII tenement building. It was recently repurposed with the aim to showcase genre-pushing shows, spotlighting unconventional works by local and international artists.

With the façade of the original Grade III historic building still largely intact, The Shophouse was carefully restored to reveal signature elements of pre-war Hong Kong architecture. Visitors can expect to find the iconic ‘Shanghai plaster’ exterior surface, wrought iron window accents and terrazzo floor finishes juxtaposed with the new artworks and curios being shown within.

With 4,000 square feet of gallery space, The Shophouse has divided it’s floors into several themed rooms. The minimalist ‘Pantry & Things’ on the ground floor includes a bar to sample handcrafted tea and coffee as well as a 4.5-metre wall to display artwork. The ‘Storage’ on the second floor has been used to showcase archival pieces and clothing on a display system by Italian brand Manfrotto. The ‘Study’ on the mezzanine floor features a library of books recommended by exhibiting artists. On the third floor, the windowless ‘Gallery’ is where you’ll find dedicated art and design programmes; and the ‘Rooftop’ functions as a socialising space and artist studio.

Kiko Kostadinov’s fashion archive installation
(Image credit: The Shophouse)

Showcasing how The Shophouse can cater to multidisciplinary exhibits, the gallery space opened last month with three exhibitions spread across its five floors, with an eclectic array of pottery works by British ceramist Steve Harrison paired with an artisanal tea pop-up with Postcard Teas London; utilitarian workwear pieces from Bulgarian fashion designer Kiko Kostadinov’s fashion archives; and an exhibition of abstract art by British contemporary artist Ben Edmund.

A piece from the ‘Re: type’ exhibition with Jiksap

Through to the end of August, The Shophouse will also be featuring a new set of three artists. Carson Terry’s ‘Fe’ exhibition, referring to the chemical name for iron, focuses on sturdy, sustainable art and design pieces, created with iron using Terry’s welding techniques. Upstairs, keen fans of retro culture will want to step back into the past to find ‘Re: type’ — a collection of 20th century typewriters that have been curated by local antique shop Jiksap. Finally, don’t miss ‘Practical Daydreams’ by sculptor Nik Ramage, which furthers the theme of utility vs. futility with artworks created from discarded objects.

The Shophouse, 4 Second Lane, Tai Hang, Hong Kong