Taikoo Place: Hong Kong’s office community focused on work-life harmony

From its office spaces to its plethora of dining, shopping, recreational and entertainment options, Taikoo Place is kind of like a city within a city.

Taikoo Place: Hong Kong’s office community focused on work-life harmony
Source: Winsze Chung/Taikoo Place

Quarry Bay’s Taikoo Place calls itself “one of Hong Kong’s best-planned business hubs.” From its origins as a dockyard and industrial area to becoming a globally recognized business district, Taikoo Place is a great example of integrating modern office spaces with expansive green areas and recreational perks to promote and support work-life harmony. As far as live-work-play models go, Taikoo Place stands out in Hong Kong’s business scene for its contributions to the city’s economic and social scenes. It was awarded the 2020 Asia Pacific Awards for Excellence by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) for its contributions to the community and its long-term urban regeneration project model.

From its office spaces to its plethora of dining, shopping, recreational and entertainment options, Taikoo Place is kind of like a city within a city. We caught up with Winsze Chung, the general manager of Taikoo Place, to learn more about the live-work-play scene in Hong Kong, the district's development and its commitment to arts and culture.

Q: What did the initial stages of developing Taikoo look like? Have plans for its development always reflected what it’s come to be today?

Taikoo Place has always embraced evolution for the betterment of our community. Transforming from a dockyard, sugar refinery and industrial area to one of the best-planned global business districts over the past four decades, Taikoo Place now spans over 7 million square feet of premium office space across 10 towers and is home to over 300 multinational corporations.

Through Swire Properties’ placemaking efforts, Taikoo Place continued to evolve as a holistic community in response to changing market demands. The latest Taikoo Place redevelopment project is a prime example of this – converting former techno centers into modern Grade-A office towers while also introducing around 70,000 square feet of expansive green spaces, Taikoo Square and Taikoo Garden, featuring a biophilic design to encourage urban biodiversity, to our community. 

While ensuring we are providing the best hardware to our office tenants, Taikoo Place also prides itself on withholding our commitment to placemaking, with focuses on sustainable development, tenant engagement, community building, art accessibility and work-life harmony. 

Q: What were some challenges or major shifts and changes encountered during the process? What did this mean for the overall success of the project?

Both a rewarding endeavor and what sets Taikoo Place apart is the long-term vision we have for our community, which enables us to create a vibrant and sustainable community while staying agile and adaptable to what the community needs. It brings us enormous joy to know that our office community is happy and fulfilled here; so, to keep it that way, we make sure we maintain a two-way communication – to listen to and respect what our community wants and also demonstrate in action that we have digested their needs.  

From expanded greenery and our iconic climate-controlled walkways to unique tenant engagement programs that enable our community to pursue work-life harmony, these are all examples of how we have continued to mold our community according to its demands.

Q: What is it about the business scene in Hong Kong that lends itself to the live-work-play community model?

Hong Kong people are known to be hardworking; separating work and life is often a challenge for many of us. As this reality became more widespread, there emerged a growing demand for business districts to not only serve commercial needs, but also integrate recreational and practical amenities. This shift reflected the desire for a more holistic live-work-play environment that could better accommodate the realities of Hong Kong’s working community.

In Taikoo Place, we hope to provide practical means for our community to pursue “work-life harmony.” Taking the PROJECT AFTER 6: Padel Tour 2024 as an example, we installed the first full-scale padel pop-up court in the heart of Hong Kong Island, right at the doorsteps of our Taikoo Place community, to make it easily accessible by our office community and demonstrate that it is possible to work, live and play within the same area.

Q: Could you elaborate more on Taikoo Place's community-building-centered approach?

Taikoo Place places a lot of emphasis on creating a vibrant community and fostering stronger connections within the community by bringing art, culture and entertainment programs into the community and a part of everyday life. Over the years, Taikoo Place has pioneered many different engagement programs to cater to community members with different interests. 

In 2014, Taikoo Place pioneered the “PROJECT AFTER 6” engagement program, which offers a valuable platform to connect the office community in town through a variety of initiatives, with aims to strengthen connections between office executives and tap into their unexplored talents. The newly launched PROJECT AFTER 6: Padel Tour 2024 provides a great opportunity for office tenants to explore an up-and-coming sport while meeting like-minded people with similar interests. 

In addition to PROJECT AFTER 6, Taikoo Place also features ArtisTree, a 7,000-square-foot multi-purpose venue equipped with professional theater-standard lighting and audio. This versatile space has been used to debut a diverse array of original works in Hong Kong. A recent example is the “ArtisTree Selects: Enchanted Forest” exhibition, which was a collaboration with acclaimed artist Joana Vasconcelos, known for her large-scale textile sculptures and installations that incorporate traditional handcrafted elements.

We wanted our office tenants to not only spend their 9-6 work life at Taikoo Place but also enjoy their 6-9 after-work life here with a variety of arts, music, sports and entertainment activities.

Q: What kinds of collaborations have Taikoo Place forged to support this drive within the community?

In order to cultivate a more integrated, community-focused environment and ensure the wider community can benefit from the programs we curate, Taikoo Place frequently collaborates with our partners, ranging from local community and up-and-coming performance groups, non-profit organizations, like-minded tenant partners, etc.

For example, last June, we debuted a Hong Kong-themed original English musical, “PROJECT AFTER 6:  Mou Man Tai,” at ArtisTree, co-presented by Taikoo Place and the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation (HKYAF). We wanted to curate a money-can’t-buy experience for our tenants to create a memory that they will treasure for life, and we thought an immersive musical production experience would do the job. So we enlisted the help of HKYAF, a local charity known for their high quality, free-for-all art experiences, to theater train 33 amateur working professionals who then invested three months of blood and sweat into the project. The result was spectacular – they performed 11 professional shows in front of a live audience of over 900 people in total. 

Our latest PROJECT AFTER 6: Padel Tour 2024, is another unique cross-industry collaboration with sportswear brand Adidas and PADEL+, Hong Kong’s first premier padel club. The collaboration with the two industry leaders has allowed us to not only provide the best sportswear equipment and professional coaching to our participants, which enhanced the overall experience; more importantly, they have helped widen the meaningful program’s public awareness and made padel accessible to more of our community members. 

Taikoo Place has also organized a lot of community events in partnership with charitable organizations, engaging the community to give back while also enjoying themselves. Our annual 8-Hour Charity Spin event raises funds for different causes every year. Last November, riding together with our like-minded and energetic tenant community, we collectively raised over HK$300,000 for InspiringHK Sports Foundation to support their youth development efforts through sports.

Q: What have you personally observed with regard to the community and the people when it comes to these arts and culture experiences within Taikoo?

We are often surprised by the overwhelming response from not only our office executives at Taikoo Place but also from our wider community. We frequently receive inquiries from the general public about when we will be relaunching a certain program because they have become huge fans. 

Through our years of efforts and collaborations, we’ve become synonymous with being supporters of local arts and culture and a driving force in redefining office culture in Hong Kong. 

Q: How does Taikoo Place stand out compared to other business hubs in Hong Kong?

Taikoo Place has a long-term vision for its development, with aims to create a vibrant and sustainable community. What sets us apart is that we do not only see Taikoo Place as a business district but are committed to promoting a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle for our office community. Rather than focusing solely on professional success, Taikoo Place is committed to catering to the personal and social needs of its tenants, thus setting a unique standard within the local business landscape.

Q: Can you talk to us more about your commitment to social responsibility?

As the General Manager of Taikoo Place, I ensure we work to uphold CSR values across internal and external operations, striving to be responsible corporate citizens who create lasting, meaningful impact, also aligning with Swire Properties' broader Sustainable Development 2030 Strategy

From an arts, cultural and entertainment perspective, initiatives like PROJECT AFTER 6 and its ArtisTree program create a positive impact by promoting social connections and a holistic work-life integration. Many of our community events are also organized in collaboration with charitable partners, enabling the community to give back while having fun.

Q: How do you ensure social responsibility, prioritize certain needs and choose partners and sponsors who support this commitment?

In my role as General Manager, improving the overall well-being of the Taikoo Place community and cultivating a sustainable, well-rounded work environment are my top priorities. When choosing partners and sponsors for our activities, we hope that chosen organizations are similarly committed to making a positive impact while being able to bring unique experiences to our participants.  

Q: What are Taikoo's future plans? How do you plan to sustain its position in Hong Kong over the years?

We are very excited about the imminent completion of the Taikoo Place redevelopment project. With the Taikoo Piazza that was introduced earlier this year, Taikoo Place now provides new al fresco dining options for our community, alongside the newly-opened Taikoo Square, a vital component to the redevelopment that offers expansive green open space with over 220 plant species to encourage urban biodiversity and connect our community with nature to enhance their wellness.

Not only in the past few years but also in the coming years, Taikoo Place will carry on bringing a variety of exciting and fun events that cater to the different preferences of office tenants to sustain Taikoo Place as a leading business hub and bring it to the next level.

Q: When it comes to the broader goals of Hong Kong’s economic and social needs, how does Taikoo fit into that narrative? How does it contribute to Hong Kong’s standing as a finance, arts and cultural hub?

Taikoo Place’s transformation from a dockyard to a meticulously planned Global Business District has always emphasized sustainable development, aligning with Hong Kong’s effort to promote environmentally conscious and socially responsible practices and enhancing the city’s reputation as a forward-thinking, green business hub.

As a Global Business District, Taikoo Place houses a diverse community of businesses, ranging from small startups to international corporations, in state-of-the-art facilities that enable tenants to thrive, whether through industry innovations or generating value for their stakeholders. 

Beyond just facilitating business success, Taikoo Place is committed to fostering wellness through work-life harmony for our vibrant community. We believe making arts and culture a part of everyday life is one way to do it, which is why we curate holistically enriching experiences for office workers and the wider public here at Taikoo Place, beyond traditional performance or exhibition venues. 

While bringing new art experiences to our community, we also support artists by providing a platform to showcase their work and contribute to Hong Kong’s thriving art scene. For example, we support emerging artists through “ArtisTree Selects” – a series of specially commissioned and curated programs at ArtisTree that introduces original and thought-provoking arts and culture exhibitions and performances to the public. As an international arts hub, arts and culture are part of Hong Kong’s urban fabric, and we’re delighted to be able to play our part.