Float­ing Ideas

Hong Kong Tatler - - Editor’s Note -

was lucky enough to meet world­fa­mous artist Christo re­cently at a pri­vate sup­per hosted in his hon­our by Bon­nae Gok­son, who’s an ar­dent ad­mirer of his work. And what a priv­i­lege it was to meet this high­minded, down-to-earth 81-year-old who still re­fuses to com­pro­mise an inch when it comes to his prin­ci­ples.

De­spite spend­ing 20 years and a whop­ping US$15 mil­lion of his own money work­ing on an art in­stal­la­tion that would have seen a canopy draped over the Arkansas River in Colorado, Christo had no qualms about aban­don­ing the project in protest against Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­dency. “Our work is about hon­esty and free­dom, two things I don’t think this man has,” he said of the project he con­ceived with his late wife and cre­ative part­ner, Jeanne-claude. “I can’t pro­duce any­thing that would ben­e­fit him.”

As­sum­ing the Bul­gar­ian artist could have free time on his hands, Bon­nae sug­gested Christo might like to swad­dle Peng Chau in neon fab­ric or criss-cross Vic­to­ria Har­bour with one of his buoy­ant cre­ations, say­ing “Trump’s loss could be our gain.” Con­sid­er­ing 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple flocked to see Christo’s The Float­ing Piers in­stal­la­tion on Lake Iseo in Italy last year, she could well be right.

Sadly, Christo doesn’t have a mar­itime mas­ter­piece in store for Hong Kong, but he’s far from twid­dling his thumbs. His lat­est project, an im­mense am­ber mon­u­ment in Abu Dhabi to be made from 410,000 alu­minium bar­rels, looks set to be the largest sculp­ture in the world. Let’s hope po­lit­i­cal may­hem doesn’t thwart this project, which has been a painstak­ing four decades in the mak­ing. For our full in­ter­view with the tena­cious artist, turn to page 130.

Equally in­spir­ing and true to their word are six cham­pi­ons of change who vowed to im­prove our world—and are do­ing just that. Char­lene Co meets the win­ners of Rolex’s Awards for Ex­cel­lence and hears about their ground­break­ing projects. Turn to page 152 to dis­cover more about ice stu­pas that com­bat drought in Ladakh, a young en­gi­neer com­bin­ing tex­tile science and ro­bot­ics to help less-able peo­ple walk, and smart­phone soft­ware that’s re­duc­ing blind­ness in ru­ral Africa.

Else­where, the ever-stylish Denise Lo gives us a tour of her beau­ti­ful home (p.142), menswear en­trepreneur Roger Chan shares his sar­to­rial se­crets (p.78) and I slope off to north­ern Cal­i­for­nia on a food sa­fari (p.122). Last but not least, our cover star, jew­ellery de­signer Diana Zhang, tells Chloe Street why she’s as picky at ac­cept­ing clients as she is in se­lect­ing gems—see page 114. Fin­gers crossed I’ll make the grade!

WALK­ING ON WA­TER Left: Christo laid The Float­ing Piers on Italy’s Lake Iseo last year. Be­low: The 81-year-old artist at work on the project

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