PMQ’s Café Life: Be One With Your Surrounding

Original campus of Queen’s College and rebuilt in the 50s as Police Married Quarters, PMQ (元創方) in Central is now a hub for creative and design industries. PMQ retained its semi-open design which aimed to allow greater interaction between police officers in residence when the site was used as Police Married Quarters. The openness of design is what makes Café Life different and refreshing. Café goers can sit by the open views unobstructed by any window and take in the air, the cool breeze, and sounds in the vicinity of PMQ.

The semi-open setting of PMQ enables natural ventilation as well as the penetration of sounds from the surroundings. While you are sipping at your freshly roasted coffee, the wind brings to you traffic sound from Aberdeen Street where PMQ is situated. Conversation voices and shrieks of a coffee machine in motion are muffled, for they are dispersed, untrapped by windows. In this way, the café is made less enclosed and exclusive, café goers are invited to be part of a larger, less confined environment and receive more stimuli, be it visual or auditory.

Do you like a half-open, window-less café than a regular café closed off from its immediate vicinity?

PMQ: A Breath of Fresh Air Amongst Malls in HK

Original campus of Queen’s College and rebuilt in the 50s as Police Married Quarters, PMQ (元創方) in Central is now a hub for creative and design industries. Geographically, although PMQ is only 3 minutes away from the entertainment zone SoHo, music from bars and restaurants is blocked by the buildings along Aberdeen Street and PMQ is tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Architecturally, it exemplifies the modern style commonly found after World War II, characterised by a functional and pragmatic approach on elevations and interior layout, with minimum decoration. Its semi-open design has set PMQ apart from most malls in Hong Kong.

An inclusive soundscape – The semi-open setting of PMQ enables natural ventilation as well as the penetration of sounds from the surroundings. While wind (instead of air conditioning) caresses your hair, it carries with it sounds wafting from different locations inside and near PMQ: traffic sound from Aberdeen Street where PMQ is situated, sound of kitchen utensils clashing from a cooking studio, shrieks of a coffee machine in motion from a café, and laughs of children from a design studio.

Incorporating nature – PMQ introduces natural sounds into the complex by including a small garden named Plateau, harmonising man-made sounds mentioned above. Plateau on the 4th floor is perhaps the most outstanding feature of PMQ. They are landscaped open spaces which connect the two main blocks of PMQ. The greenery space has created a natural habitat for birds and insects, bringing liveliness and diverseness to the sonic environment.

PMQ’s semi-open design enables sound to reach a wider audience. Sounds heard from different spots tell a different story. Each sound perceived promises an experience for you to discover. Contextualising sounds make our experiences of PMQ more complete.