M+ Museum, Hong Kong
M+ is a museum of contemporary art, design, and visual culture in Hong Kong; its iconic building has been designed by famed Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.
Located in the West Koolong district and opened on 12 November 2021, the museum is the world’s largest dedicated exclusively to modern and contemporary visual arts from Asia.
Above, the south facade of the M+ Museum on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor; photo Virgile Simon Bertrand.
The 65,000-sqm/700,000-sqft building of the M+ (which stands for “museum plus”) consists of a large podium surmounted by a box-shaped slender tower; the podium contains mainly spaces open to the public – including 17,000 square meters/183,000 square feet of exhibition area divided into thirty-three galleries, three cinemas, a media library, a learning hub, and a roof garden overlooking Victoria Harbour – while the tower contains the museum’s offices, a research center, and three restaurants. Measuring 116×65 meters, the tower’s harbor-side facade is equipped with 5,664 LED tubes that, when activated, turn it into one of the world’s largest multimedia screens.
The cavernous and intricate layout of the M+ basement, and the structural concept of the building, which is supported by five giant steel trusses, were a creative response by the design team to the presence of the underground Airport Express railway tunnel running just beneath the building site. While the foundation trusses are made of metal, most of the 18-story building structure above is made of reinforced concrete.
“For art to enter into the life of a city like Hong Kong it has to come from below, from its own foundations. Our M+ Project does exactly that, by literally emerging from the city’s underground.” Jacques Herzog, Herzog & de Meuron
M+, exterior view from the west; photo courtesy of M+.
The basement level (on the right) viewed from the lobby; photo Kevin Mak.
The museum’s facades are clad with 423,000 ribbed tiles made of glazed terracotta and manufactured in the Chianti region in central Italy; characterized by a deep green semi-reflective finish that subtly reflects the surrounding landscape, the M+ facade cladding is also a reference to traditional Chinese ceramic roofs.
Due to the multidisciplinary nature of its collection and program, the M+ building features a quite diverse set of exhibition spaces, ranging from white cubes and black boxes to flexible multifunctional spaces and large exhibition rooms called “industrial spaces”. This ensemble of different rooms can accommodate a variety of exhibitions and events – from the museum’s permanent exhibition to special exhibitions, site-specific art installations, live performances, and film screenings.
An interior view of the museum with, on the right, some of the dark-green glazed ceramic tubes that form the building facades cladding; photo Kevin Mak courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron.
The lobby; photo Kevin Mak courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron.
The museum has four collections: the M+ Collection, The M+ Sigg Collection, the Library Special Collection, and the Collection Archives.
The M+ Collection is interdisciplinary and covers various disciplines comprising design, architecture, moving image, and visual art; though including also works by international artists and designers, the collection is specially focused on Asia, on Hong Kong in particular.
An extraction from the private collection of Swiss businessman Uli Sigg, the Sigg Collection is one of the world’s largest ones focused on Chinese contemporary art. Including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and media art. It comprises about 1,500 works made between 1972 and 2012 by many among the most recognized Chinese contemporary artists including Geng Jianyi, Weng Fen, Peng Wei, Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun, Liu Wei, and Ai Weiwei.
The Library Special Collection includes artist books, comics, graphic design publications, magazines, and manuscripts made in China from the 1910s to the present day
The M+ Collection Archives contain a large number of documents that document the creative processes of artists and designers featured in the M+ Collections.
Program of events and activities
The program of M+ comprises temporary exhibitions, special events, theatrical performances, concerts, film screenings, meetings, conferences, talks, guided tours, workshops, and educational programs for schools and the local community.
Fully accessible to physically impaired people, the M+ building also contains a book and gift store, three restaurants, and a cafe.
One of the galleries in the podium; photo Kevin Mak.
Antony Gormley, Asian Field 2003, a sculptural installation comprising 210,000 hand-sized clay figures, 2015.
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, Crucified TVS – Not a Prayer in Heaven; photo Kevin Mak.
Atrium and galleries on the 2nd floor of the museum with the spiral staircase leading to the rooftop terrace; photo Kevin Mak.
Plans of the 2nd and 3rd levels; image Herzog & de Meuron.
Cross-section. 1 – Found Space, 2 – Industrial Space, 3 – Lobby, 4 – Gallery, 5 – Cafe, 6 – Research Center, 7 – Curatorial Center, 8 – Curatorial Facilities, 9 – Members’ Lounge, 10 – OACF, 11 – Retail dining entertainment, 12 – CSF Art storage, 13 – CSF Conservation Labs, 14 – Carriageway, 15 – AEL tunnel, 16 – MTR elements cooling main, 17 – Terrace Garden, 18 – Avenue, 19 – Waterfront promenade, 20 – Parking.
M+, visitor circulation diagram; image Herzog & de Meuron.
A roof garden overlooking Victoria Harbour is located on top of the podium.
The museum at night, photo Kevin Mak.
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copyright Inexhibit 2022 - ISSN: 2283-5474