Macau, a city dubbed as "the Las Vegas of Asia" for its giant and luxurious casinos, is making its way into the art industry. Wynn Resorts Ltd. has recently announced a US$2 billion plan to expand its properties in Macau, building a new complex named The Crystal Pavilion which will feature galleries and theatres as the focal point of the project. Meanwhile, point to point chauffeur services between Hong Kong and Macau was launched at the Wynn Palace which is believed to be an important transport facility of the plan.
Wynn Resorts Ltd. unveils plans to its US$20 billion expansion. A rendering of The Crystal Pavilion complex
Jeff Koons’ Tulip was moved from Wynn's Las Vegas casino to the Wynn Palace in Macau
A set of 18th-century Buccleuch vases from the Qing dynasty in the Wynn Palace
Billed as a “must-see” tourist destination in Macau, Crystal Pavilion will feature an innovative architectural design with an all-glass structure designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern. The facility includes two-phased towers which will provide a total of around 1,300 luxury rooms and suites as well as a 270-degree fully immersive entertainment theatre. The Crystal Pavilion complex will start its construction in 2021 and is set to open in 2024, hoping to attract 10 million visitors each year. According to Morgan Stanley, Wynn benefits hugely from visitors from the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau and will very likely achieve their goal.
Yet, casino is not on the list. The new move shows the operator’s commitment to shaping the city as a global centre of a world-class entertainment and cultural attraction, in response to the Chinese government calling on casino operators to invest in non-gambling segments.
Wynn Palace houses a collection of Asian and Western art, including the 18th-century Buccleuch vases from the Qing dynasty, which was sold at Christie’s in London for £8m (US$12.8m) in 2011, and larger-than-life floral sculptures by Preston Bailey. Wynn also arranged to move Jeff Koons’ Tulip, which was sold at Christie’s New York for US$33.6m (the then world auction record for the artist) in 2012, from his Las Vegas casino to the Wynn Palace, along with Viola Frey’s colourful clay vase Amphora III.
You can travel without disembarking at customs or immigration check points
Managing Director of VIT Asia- Yany Kwan
A press conference was held recently at the Wynn Palace to launch a point to point chauffeur service between Hong Kong and Macau provided by VIT Asia. These are the first chauffeur operating licenses that the Macau government has granted. Yany Kwan, Managing Director of VIT Asia, stated that their fleet provides services to and from Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai; to and from Hong Kong/Macau Airport; to and from Hong Kong/Macau Hotels as well as to and from Hong Kong/Macau Corporate. Their 7 seater vehicles can carry at most 6 passengers and bring you to your destination without the need to disembark at customs or immigration check points. Each trip costs around HK$3,000 (US$382).
Kwan is a well-known businessman who has been a supporter of art and cultural developments. In 2014, Kwan's Macpro Gallery held the first Ah Chung solo exhibition in Macau- "The Worm Talks #Macau". Kwan also appeared at the signing ceremony of collaborative agreement of Macau's first large-scale art festival- "Art Macao" as a representative of the "!Outloud Street Art Fest". "Art Macao" runs from June to October this year, featuring numerous exhibitions and performances.
Representatives from the Macao Government Tourism Office, Transport Bureau and the Wynn Palace were also seen at the press conference of the chauffeur service launch. It is believed that this service will be an important catalyst in the growth of Macau's tourism, Wynn Palace and Macau's cultural and creative industries.
"Art Macao" has brought in prominent exhibits including a giant KAWS figure
"Alter Ego", an exhibition curated by Vhils in Macau last year was a huge success
Macau has seen much development in its art and cultural industry in recent years. The first "Encounter in Macao – Arts and Cultural Festival between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries" held last year brought dance and music performances, book fairs and movie exhibitions to the city. Amongst them was "Alter Ego", an exhibition curated by the Portuguese street artist Vhils which was a huge success. In the same year, the Macau Museum of Art curated a large-scale exhibition for the modernist master Marc Chagall. "Art Macao" will be the center of attention in 2019.
The chauffeur services were launched in the hopes of promoting Macau's art and cultural industry by forming a closer bond with Hong Kong where many top exhibitions, galleries and auctions take place.