I’m a huge planner. When I travel abroad, I need to have the itinerary down to a T. And when things don’t go as planned, I freak out. I’m your resident type A girl. So when I discovered ATUM Images completely by coincidence, I was surprised. Could being spontaneous pay off for the first time?
I stumbled across ATUM Images a week into its opening in July while searching for an empty seat amongst the nearby cafés. There was scaffolding over its storefront, so it wasn’t immediately visible to passersby and relatively empty compared to its neighbours. All the better for me as all I wanted was to settle down after an hour scouting for an empty spot in the neighbourhood! ATUM Images turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and best of all, a great unexpected photo opportunity. 😉
Have you guessed from the photos yet that ATUM Images is no average café? That’s right – set up by a team of professional photographers, ATUM Images is not just a spot for brunch – it’s an art gallery too. At the time of my visit, the first exhibition was on show. 8×10 features the work from the books of veteran photojournalist Wong Kan-tai. His photos focus on old Hong Kong, captured on black-and-white film and developed the traditional way in a darkroom.
The architecture of ATUM Images is designed for optimum showcasing of the many exhibitions to come. Instead of the usual warm, yellow lights of your regular café, white spotlights are installed in every nook of the store to ensure the best lighting possible for viewing art. Gallery-wise, ATUM Images ticks all the boxes, but because there is no music in the background, it makes for a rather strange café experience.
As opposed to coffee, I have to have a cup of tea with me when I settle at a café. The tea selection at ATUM Images leans on the expensive side, but for good reason. Each blend is cultivated by Hong Kong based organic herbal tea grower and producer, Present! Organic Tea. It felt great to support a local brand, and out of the three choices on ATUM Images’s menu, I decided on the Relaxing Tea. A refreshing mixture of two mint varieties infused with marigold, the tea is said to relieve insomnia, as well as to relax the muscle and nervous system. I’m not sure about the last part, but it certainly smelled wonderful and snapped my drowsiness away.
To eat, I went for the Belgium Chocolate Hazelnut Tart. As with the teas, the pastries are provided by a local brand. Blessing Smile Cakes is the brains behind the rich concoction that is the chocolate tart. A fork splitting the dome down the middle reveals an intense chocolate mousse and caramel mix oozing out, which when eaten with the hazelnut pieces surrounding the cake, makes for a satisfying, sinful bite.
If you’re not into sweet treats, no worries. ATUM Images also serves paninis and an all-day breakfast, and I’m sure as the café grows, the menu will expand.
ATUM Images serves as a quirky and interesting new approach to galleries. Where exhibitions are usually held in quiet, suspended viewing rooms, the ATUM Images offers a more interactive manner of appreciating photography. Dining in a café without music may take a while to get used to, but it certainly isn’t unpleasant by any means. For me, actually, it was favourable, because I cannot write or think creatively with any sort of melody in the background. And if you, like me, hate yellow lighting when it comes to taking photos, you can now rejoice. The white lights of ATUM Images are perfect for the selfie-obsessed! 😉
Shop 5, G/F, Poga Building, 6-20 Po Tuck Street, Sai Wan, Hong Kong
+852 3612 4616
Other art exhibitions you will love:
- “Invasions”, Charles Pétillon
- “M+ Sigg Collection”, Various artists
- “Masatoshi Masanobu”, Masatoshi Masanobu
- “Time and Being”, Darren Almond
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