Phillips Ups the Ante in Asia With an Expansive New Hong Kong Headquarters
The house's new Asian office and exhibition space will increase its visibility in the region.
Phillips is doubling down in Asia. Later this month, the auction house will launch its first exhibition space in the heart of Hong Kong’s central arts district, where it already has an office. The expansion of its Hong Kong business follows the house’s historic $135 million London auction, its highest-grossing sale ever.
Phillips announced it will lease the entire 6,200-square-foot 14th floor of the art district’s St. George’s building. The move is part of an effort to raise the standard of the auction house’s Asia headquarters to the same level as its New York and London locations, both of which feature showrooms.
According to Phillips CEO Ed Dolman, the new space is a key part of the house’s expansion strategy in the region, which has grown steadily since Phillips held its first sale in the city-state in 2015.
“Strengthening and expanding Phillips’s presence in Asia has always been a foremost priority,” Dolman said in a statement. “Such exponential growth reflects the continued increase in demand and appreciation for art and culture across the region, affording Phillips the opportunity to further invest in our business here.”
Coinciding with Art Basel Hong Kong, Phillips will inaugurate the new showroom on March 26 with a “cross-category selling exhibition” featuring design, photography, watches, jewelry, and a selection of artworks by Yayoi Kusama, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, Peter Doig, and others.
The exhibition space will multiply the auction house’s opportunities to interact with clients in Hong Kong by hosting regular exhibitions, auction previews, private sales, cultural programs and other special events.
Phillips’s parent company, the Mercury Group, has spent significant resources on repositioning the house in the high-end auction market. In addition to hiring a slew of new executives and specialists, the company has introduced a significant guarantee structure and bolstered its ancillary businesses. And it appears that part of the Russian conglomerate’s strategy to take market share from Christie’s and Sotheby’s also includes real estate: Since buying Phillips in 2008, the Mercury Group moved the house’s New York headquarters from the meatpacking district to Park Avenue in 2010, and it opened a new European headquarters in London’s prestigious Mayfair district in 2014.
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