Welcome to a Rouge awakening
The opening of the members-only China Rouge performance lounge at Galaxy Macau last weekend brought Hong Kong socialites out in force. The evening started with a performance by Dutch songstress Laura Fygi, who sang classic jazz numbers like Dream a Little Dream of Me.
Two years in the making, the club is the dream project of Francis Lui Yiu-tung, the vice-chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group.
Its opulent interior was done by Hong Kong designer Alan Chan, who collaborated with Japanese interior designer Ryu Kosaka of A.N.D. (Aoyama Nomura Design). Large-scale artwork, sculptures and mosaic murals - created by Chan himself - are one of the focal points of the venue.
'I wanted to integrate art from contemporary Chinese artists and not let the artwork fade away into the background,' says Chan, who commissioned original pieces by artists Bu Hua, Chen Man, Deng Xinli and Zheng Lu. 'The art is erotic, aesthetic. Each piece is selected to set the tone for each of the rooms. I took the art deco style of 1930s Shanghai as the main theme. They are strong visual statements, with beautiful details and colours. That period in China had a profound impact on designs that followed across Asia.'
Hedonistic lifestyle references dot the venue. There are champagne counters where crystal decanters sit on lacquer tables shaped like large Chinese scrolls. All the passages inside the octagon-shaped club lead to a bronze sculpture centrepiece by Zheng Lu. Inspired by the traditional Chinese poem, The Water Dragon Chant No 2, the entire piece is made of Chinese calligraphy carved into metal.
Fellow casino-owner Pansy Ho Chiu-king dropped by to celebrate. Hong Kong's glitterati included Shirley Hiranand, Marina Bullivant and husband Glen Root, Reyna Harilela, tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, actresses Gigi Fu and Maria Chen, designer Marisa Zeman and model Rosemary Vandenbroucke.
'I first came to Macau decades ago, and there was nothing like this. You know what I remember best? A giant roach that crawled by my bedside,' says singer Fygi with a laugh. 'But, oh my, how Macau has changed. China Rouge is one of the most beautiful venues I've ever sung in.'