HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 7 December 2021 – Hong Kong’s private conglomerate, Nan Fung Group, is honoured to announce that the Group’s landmark revitalisation project The Mills has been awarded a Platinum Rating in the Final Assessment of the BEAM Plus Existing Building category (Comprehensive Scheme). This makes The Mills the city’s first historical and retrofitted building recognized with the award’s highest rating.
The Mills, located in Hong Kong’s industrial district of Tsuen Wan, was once three separate buildings operating as textile mills, together supplying much of the region’s denim during the city’s industrial and textile heyday in the 1950s. The success of these mills was the cornerstone of Nan Fung Group’s strength that eventually enabled the Group to become one of Hong Kong’s largest private conglomerates. In 2018, to honour the textile legacy of the Group and give back to the community, the three buildings were transformed into a single coherent complex, collectively named The Mills, and became a popular local cultural destination.
After years of groundwork integrating sustainable, innovative designs and solutions into this massive revitalisation, The Mills has been recognised for its outstanding performance in seven key areas: management, site aspects, materials and waste aspects, water use, energy use, indoor environmental quality, innovations and additions. BEAM Plus is Hong Kong’s leading initiative for independent assessments of buildings sustainability performance, recognised and certified by the Hong Kong Green Building Council.
Vanessa Cheung, Founder of The Mills and Group Managing Director of Nan Fung Group, said, “We are thrilled and delighted that The Mills has received such prestigious recognition. This Platinum Rating is an affirmation of the Group’s commitment to weaving sustainability into business. More importantly, the awarded project redefines and recontextualises sustainability for a revitalised space.”
In 2019, The Mills was awarded the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation under New Designs in the Heritage Contexts category. Other certifications include winning the Grand Award under the Existing Building (Completed Projects – Commercial Building) category at The Green Building Award 2019 and achieving LEED Gold rating in 2018.
Sustainability at The Mills: from upcycled materials to the community
The design of The Mills strives to preserve the original architecture and its half-century history while enhancing existing facilities into a user-friendly complex that meets the highest sustainability standards. Seamlessly woven into the neighbourhood, a series of accessible new entrances, lanes, rooftops, and glass bridges are carefully thought-out additions, such that the community can enjoy open spaces at The Mills to their fullest. Efficient lighting automation, solar hot water systems, and a mobile-based BMS system are also utilised at The Mills to maximize energy savings.
The Mills‘ commitment in sustainability is evident in all that it does – from its extensive range of community programmes, down to oft-overlooked details in daily operations – sustainability is in its DNA. For instance, The Mills launched a paper recycling initiative in partnership with Mil Mill, Hong Kong’s first carton recycling mill, to advocate for a self-sustaining circular economy; a blend of legacy and innovation – a demonstration of textile recycling and upcycling using the iconic Garment-to-Garment Recycling System (G2G); The Mills also houses eco-conscious tenants, such as Green Ladies & Green Little, who sells pre-loved clothing to raise awareness towards sustainable living habits. Last but not least, extensive textile-related exhibitions, tours, and workshops are regularly curated on-site to educate students and the community on fusing sustainability into daily routines.
The innovation arm of The Mills, The Mills Fabrica is a solution platform dedicated to supporting techstyle and agtech companies and helping society transition into a more sustainable future.
Nan Fung Group: An ambitious vision for sustainability
The Group believes that sustainable development requires a visionary plan and a nuanced, thorough understanding of the community. The Group’s flagship commercial-retail complex, AIRSIDE, in the Kai Tak area encapsulates and channels this belief. AIRSIDE is the first building in Hong Kong to achieve five of the highest green-building certifications. These include platinum pre-certification of US LEED®, provisional platinum certification of Hong Kong BEAM Plus New Building, platinum pre-certification of WELL Building Standard™, final platinum certification of BEAM Plus Neighbourhood, and final certification of the China Green Building Label 3-Star. AIRSIDE is set to open in Q4 2022 and will surely bring an innovative, new model of sustainability that encompasses a holistic balance of community interaction with city development.
About Nan Fung Group
Nan Fung Group is one of the largest privately held conglomerates in Hong Kong with global interests in real estate development and investment and holds a well-diversified, substantial financial investment portfolio. The Group was founded in 1954 and has a track record spanning over 50 years with over 165 projects including residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The Group also strategically focuses on first-tier cities in Mainland China and recognises attractive opportunities for development and investment overseas, including New York and London.
In recent years, the Group expanded its investment focus on ICE (Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship), exemplified by its signature project, The Mills, a revitalisation of its legacy yarn factories into a hub promoting techstyle (intersection of technology and style) and an integrated destination housing an experiential shopfloor, startup incubator and interactive gallery. The Group also made significant progress in investments related to life sciences in the US via Pivotal; and in Mainland China via an affiliate, New Frontier, which focuses on healthcare, elderly care, education, and new technology.
About The Mills
Opened on 6 December 2018, The Mills is a landmark revitalisation project by the Nan Fung Group that celebrates the shared industrial legacy of Hong Kong by taking a step towards a future of applied creativity and innovation. The Mills is built on a foundation of legacy and heritage, where visitors can explore the continuity of an authentic Hong Kong story, with themes of textile and the industry woven into experiences of innovation, culture, and learning.
The Mills project transformed and revitalised Nan Fung’s former textile factory into a destination for innovation, culture, and learning for the company’s 60th anniversary in 2014. The Mills has three pillars, each offering a unique take on the Group’s rich history: Fabrica – A business incubator, fund, and space/lab for techstyle startups and strategic partners; Shopfloor – A landmark for experiential retail and a physical manifestation of Hong Kong’s evolving character; and The Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) – A non-profit arts centre interweaving textile arts, history, and science.
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