Old factory building receives new lease on life as the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre

As manufacturing industries have moved their operations to the mainland, many of Hong Kong's old factory buildings have been left empty. Now one has been given a new lease of life as a centre for artists and craftspeople from a wide range of disciplines.

The Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, formerly the Shek Kip Mei Flatted Factory Building, represents a milestone in the development of the local creative industries. It is the first attempt in Hong Kong to convert a decommissioned factory building into a creative arts centre, providing an enabling environment to draw together creative and cultural enterprises for the nurturing of creative talents.

It's huge (architecturally it's reminiscent of London's Tate Modern) and has been powered by money from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, with Hong Kong Baptist University, the Home Affairs Bureau, the Art Development Council and the Hong Kong Arts Centre as partners.

Bordered by trees, and an elderly community that lives in the surrounding public housing estates, this is an area steeped in local history. It was on these grounds that the first public housing estate was ever built in Hong Kong, a result of the tragic fires that swept through the squatter villages on Christmas Eve, 1953, leaving thousands homeless. The Mark 1 estates were subsequently built, and factories placed here to provide work for the displaced individuals. The Centre's opening celebrations will pay testament to this history with Glittering in the Factory, where the Meta4 design house and the JCCAC curate an exhibition of works that compare the blue collar workers of the 1970s with the new artistic residents of the factory.

Recently completed and officially opened on September 26 , the nine storey centre has over a hundred studio units (each unit measuring 24 square metres) available to be let to artists and arts groups for the production and display of their works. There is a performing stage, an exhibition gallery, studios and lecture theatres. The Centre will stage regular performances and exhibitions, and hold arts classes, seminars and workshops to promote the public's appreciation of arts and culture.

A full rig of Selecon luminaires are used throughout the performance spaces including Pacific Zooms, Acclaim and Rama Fresnels, and Hui Floods and Cycs.