How Artist Simon Birch Turned A Car Park Into A Home

Homes

March 27, 2017 | BY Mercedes Hutton

Transforming a spacious garage into an art-filled home and gallery

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Natural light illuminates the large-scale canvases on display. (Photo: Mitchell Geng/Home Journal)

A parking garage in Central has taken on an entirely new lease of life since Simon Birch,  a Hong Kong-based, UK-born artist of Armenian descent, assumed the role of custodian.

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When he first acquired the multistorey carpark, he recalls, “Grass was growing out of the floor, it had no windows or power, no water, the floors were awful… it was just a big, open concrete space.”

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Gym rings and a Ducati bike exist in harmony with the generous art-filled space. (Photo: Mitchell Geng/Home Journal) 

Transforming the four storeys—each measuring 1,500 square feet—was no mean feat. Although no longer in use, a car turntable on the ground floor is a nod to the building’s former existence, which could not be further from its current iteration as a home that doubles as a gallery. The events space is open to the public and available for hire.

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A vehicle lift synchronously connects the edifice’s past and its present. (Photo: Mitchell Geng/Home Journal) 

Polished metal doors retract to reveal one of Simon’s striking large-scale paintings. Devoid of any contextual setting, an abstract image of a woman with her head in her hands immediately commands attention, as though it was created specifically for the location.

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The kitchen nestles beneath a staircase, which leads up to the bedroom. (Photo: Mitchell Geng/Home Journal)

The outside world is kept at bay courtesy of discreet but transparent blinds, while the polished concrete floor and clean walls allow the artworks on display to speak for themselves.

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 A traditional gallery set up occupies the second level. (Photo: Mitchell Geng/Home Journal)

Befitting Simon’s vision of the space as a creative hub where the public can engage with art in a way not often experienced in Hong Kong, the galleries on the first and second floors act as a meeting place for the city’s creative community.

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Simon adds the finishing touches to a pencil drawing. (Photo: Mitchell Geng/Home Journal)

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Photography: Mitchell Geng
Art Direction: May Lau
Production: Mercedes Hutton

This article was originally published in Home Journal.

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