Elements shopping mall, West Kowloon

Elements mall hong kong shopping hk
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Last week I decided to check out Elements, the new shopping center located in an area of Tsim Sha Tsui called West Kowloon. This is perhaps the city’s newest neighborhood and has been undergoing a huge spurt of growth over the last few years. Elements anchors several massive high-rise apartment complexes and the third tallest building in the world, the ICC, which is currently under construction.

Situated on a swath of land close to the harbor, West Kowloon has amazing views of Hong Kong Island and thus makes it a prime residential location. The same developer who put together the IFC complex across the water, created the Elements shopping mall. Similar to the IFC in Central, Elements is located above a transportation hub, Kowloon Station, which connects the Tung Chung MTR line with the Airport Express train. In addition, the building is located right at the edge of the Western Tunnel, an underwater crossing point used to enter Kowloon from Hong Kong Island by vehicle.

The Elements mall is yet another squeaky-clean upscale shopping center. Highlights include: a Three Sixty supermarket; The Grand cinema, which is equipped with special interactive seats; a large ice-skating rink; and Metro Books, a big bookstore. All the usual brands are present plus a few firsts.

[photopress:three_sixty_supermarket_Ele.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Grand_Cinema_Elements_Kowlo.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Grand_cinema_Elements_Hong_.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Elements_ice_skating_rink_H.jpg,full,pp_image] [photopress:Metro_Books_Elements_Kowloo.jpg,full,pp_image]

After walking the halls for half an hour, I started to get a little depressed. One of my biggest complaints about contemporary urban Asia is the lack of distinct culture and soul. The immaculate shops, filled with name brands from all over the world are devoid of any local flair. There’s something cold and homogenized about these spaces. Life according to these somewhat sterile compounds seems to revolve around mass consumption.

It’s difficult for me to fault those who aspire to settle into life here, or the developers for creating an environment that people want. If you’re accustomed to dilapidated conditions and a lack of shopping choice, these developments represent a shining beacon of success and modernity.

However this formula leaves little room for unique culture to sprout and survive. They seem to place convenience over character. Without local character, the world will be a much more boring place.

Unfortunately this is not just a trend confined to Hong Kong, but can be seen all throughout Asia. The scary thing is that Hong Kong provides an inspiration for Mainland China, who looks to emulate the city’s urban planning in developing dozens of other cities.

After I had nearly given up hope, a little local culture reared its head! Walking through the halls I came upon a crowd. Looking down from one floor above, I saw two lions traditionally used to celebrate new shops posing for the camera.

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A few photo-opps later the drumming began and they sprang to life. I was just in time for the opening of the new Lucky Jeans store, their first retail outlet in Asia.

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On my way out I saw the local group Soler performing on stage for Lucky Jeans.

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I’ve written about these musical twins before here. The song they played as they took the stage was a moving piece about love. The melancholy I had felt before vanished, and I exited Elements inspired once again.

Elements address: 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Above the Kowloon Station Airport Express
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17 Comments

  • Hi! I don’t believe it does. I checked their website ( elementshk.com )and didn’t see it listed. I know that IFC mall and also The Landmark have Juicy C. shops though.

  • have there not been a prominent niche or subculture in hong kong? just how commercialized is the art and design industry there? from an overseas point of view it seems like idn is the closest thing, and i’m not impressed.

    a shame considering that the city seems like it has the potential to instill a smiliar kind of energy/artistic community as found in new york city montreal or toronto.

  • Historically Hong Kong doesn’t have the same sort of support or appreciation of the arts as some place like New York. There are definitely subcultures, but creativity in an artistic sense is a rare commodity here. People tend to copy things. That’s just the way it is.

    Things are improving though. With more art events, especially on a sort of commercial level through clothing companies and fashion houses, art is becoming more well respected. The other trend that I’ve written about before is the boom in art galleries due to the rise of art as an investment vehicle. But, this goes back to Hong Kong’s core as a free-wheeling trading city. And it bothers me that people aren’t looking at art for its artistic qualities, rather, they are studying it as a commodity that can appreciate in value! Oh well!

  • wow new mall in HK! there’s a mall under construction along granville rd. if im not mistaken…new malls…more shopping choices…i love hk! wanna go back next yr 🙂

  • It took me several weeks to find a newsstand that sold “The New Yorker” magazine in Hong Kong. I found it at Metro Books at the Elements shopping center in Kowloon.

  • Just to stop tee from scratching his head, I have the following observations. The general mentality here is about quick bucks and what China will do next to bring in more $$$. You will find intermittent pockets of artistic/western culture, but don’t expect anything close to NY, Montreal/Toronto. I repatriated from Toronto recently after an absence of 14 years and I’m saddened and appalled at the declining ability of the general mass to speak/write decent English. The irony is parents are trying much harder than ever to steer their kids towards a more Westernized education/mindset, but when it comes to reality the Chinese factor still dominates.

  • Thanks Johnny! Good observations. I’ve grown fond of hearing, “My English is suck.” As some of my friends say, they don’t speak good English or Chinese! I think because of the dual (now tri-lingual,) education, lots of things fall through the cracks. The level of English here is actually quite low considering the place’s history. Just look at the subtitles from movies! They did a better job in the 1960’s!

  • Hi… I just want to ask how to go to Elements Kowloon coming from BP International Hotel in Austin Road. I want to go to H&M store. Thanks a lot.

  • Hi Princess D,

    You almost couldn’t get any closer! Just walk out the door of your hotel and you”ll be on Austin Road – the same street as Elements! Take a left and head down towards the harbor. You’ll get to a major road after just 1 long block. This is Canton Road. You’ll see a passageway that goes down underneath the busy road. Take this underpass and follow the signs to cross the road. When you exit on the other side, just continue along Austin Road. After a few blocks you’ll arrive at Elements! Good luck shopping!

  • I stay there in Sorrento for 2 yrs.., near elements….ELEMENTS is very beautiful place n have remarkable meaning to me….

  • Hi Julie,

    It’s possible to walk from Elements to Temple Street, or you can just hop in a taxi for a 5 minute ride. The walk isn’t that interesting with all the construction going on in the area now.

    All of the major map services out there – Yahoo, Google, and the local one Centamap.com, can show you the way.

    Temple Street runs for several blocks. I would recommend that you start at the Jordan Road end, and work your way up if you like. (On the maps look for the intersection of Temple Street with Jordan Road.) The night market starts just a half block above this intersection.

    Enjoy!

  • ELEMENTS is a beautiful place?! Oh please. Every new mall in Hong Kong just means that the local people and soil are once more being exploited by large morally-bankrupt developers so that they can cash in on China’s newly affluent. And ELEMENTS is just the most blatant of all them. There is no timelessness (http://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Way-Building-Christopher-Alexander/dp/0195024028) about a place such as ELEMENTS it just sucks the life energy out of its surroundings and replaces it with cash flow.

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